Tuesday, 3 July 2012

Suffering Separation Anxiety

I took Baby M out in her pushchair recently after my mother had babysat.  When I opened the pushchair up I discovered the seat had been turned round so it was forward facing, but as I was short on time I put Baby M in it and headed off.  For the next 15 minutes I felt very uncomfortable. I couldn’t see my daughter, I could occasionally hear her, and every so often I stopped the buggy and went round to check on her.  But I really hated not being able to see her.

Baby M wasn’t bothered.  She was happily looking around and enjoying the walk.  I tried to justify how I felt by telling myself it is better for babies developmentally to be face to face, that if she is facing away from me I wont be able to tell if she is eating something she shouldn’t, if she is about to escape from the straps or if she is otherwise unhappy.  All true, but the truth was I’m not ready.

There are a lot of milestones Baby M and I will go through as she becomes increasingly independent and I’m starting to realise that all of them are likely to be harder on me as her mum than on her.

The reason my mum had been babysitting was because I had been at my company's staff conference doing a “keeping in touch day”.  As I’ve now hit the unpaid bit of my maternity leave KIT days become extremely valuable as a whole days pay is a lot more than nothing. For those that don't know while on maternity leave women are allowed to go in to work on up to 10 days and get paid.  A great idea in principle, the problem is it involves leaving Baby M behind. 

My mum came over at 7am to pick Baby M up and drive her away.  I continued to get ready for work and when I was nearly ready to go I had a meltdown.  My husband looked on in amusement as I burst into tears and cried “I want my baby back”.  A quick hug and the time pressures of having to get to work meant I soon pulled myself together and left the house.  All day when someone asked me how my baby was I just wanted to cuddle her, and sniff her hair, and kiss her.  I narrowly avoided any more tears though.

By all reports Baby M had a great day and didn’t miss me or her meals on tap.  As soon as she came home and saw me she did get upset, but I think she just wanted my boobage.

In less than 3 months I will be back at work full time.  I’ll have to leave her day after day.  She might have some separation anxiety, but I know she’ll be fine.  I’m sure I’ll spend more of my day missing her than she will me.

The first night I put her in her cot in her nursery I worried about her.  She didn’t stay in there long, but while she was alone I was reassured by the movement and sound monitor.  I could hear if she made noises or if she stopped breathing (or someone kidnapped her). In contrast while she is in someone else’s care I don’t know what is going on. Despite my requests to know: what she ate, when, how long she slept for, nappy changes etc people generally only give me a vague outline. Sorry everyone I am a control freak. I like to know EVERY SINGLE THING.

I know that I need to relax, to let go just a little bit.  As she gets older I will have less and less control and knowledge about what happens in her life, but I don’t think it will ever get easier.

My name is Kate, I'm addicted to my baby and I have separation anxiety


  1. I suffer from this too... but a lot less than Daddy does. I worry about all sorts of silly things when we are not joined at the hip but my head also tells me it does the little man good. It troubles the little man much less than it does us and we try very hard not to project our feelings of anxiety onto him.

    My first KIT day is in six weeks time - I've purposely chosen the busiest day of the week in the hope I will be too busy to meltdown! The move from being solely dependent on us to gaining their independence is a huge adjustment to make. x

  2. Kate Stinchcombe3 July 2012 at 11:05

    My name is Kate, I'm addicted to my baby and I have separation anxiety!

    I'm the same! We're together all day/night and then I feel lost without her when I'm at work. I've been back a month now and miss her terribly (and my 3yo son of course)!

    She apparently doesn't cry or pine without me but puts me in a death-grip as soon as I get back. She has cow's milk or water when I'm not around so I know she's not getting dehydrated but I still worry.

    I'm barred from ringing because the phone ring upset both children last week! So now I wait for texts telling me how they are, if they've eaten and if they're asleep.

    My saving grace is that my mother looks after her and as we live together, I know Mali feels safe.

    Thanks for sharing, Kate x

  3. I completely understand. I have 2 boys now 7 and 3. It's always me who suffers the separation anxiety - even now, although it is always matched with relief, easily. They unfailingly surprise us - it will get easier I promise, but while they're young, it doesn't hurt to hold them close - it passes all too quickly.

  4. Yup... same here Kate... Not so much with child minder side of things as the pragmatics of putting food on the table outweighs the day to day stuff but when we left Nick at my sisters for 36 hours (with my Mum helping out) I nearly came apart in the car less than 20 seconds after driving off.

    Bex had to deal with a nightmare mess of a father and thankfully the logical side took over and didn't drive us into a ditch.

    Took me completely by surprise though.. as above, it does get easier, especially after 20 solid minutes of "NO!!!!!!!!!" to every single request ;)

  5. Hi all. So glad I found this post. I am working 2 days a wke and cry every lunch whilst expressing for my just turned 1 year old. I feel empty and lost without him and like Kate said am totally addicted to him. He is with is grandparents and dad but I hate that I not there even though they all tell me he is fine. I never thought I would feel like this but yep defo suffering from separation anxiety and now looking into becoming a childminder so I can be with him full time again. Do I need therapy? Hoping as you all feel the same its just a natural mummy feeling and will get easier.

    1. I think finding a job where you can spend more time with your children is a brilliant idea. I think I'll be ok when I'm focused on work, but it'll be hard when I think about my daughter. When pumping you inevitably think about your son and you will have lots of hormones released so crying isn't surprising. *hugs*


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