Mom's separation anxiety
I'm a new mom, 24 years of age and I am a single mum.
I've been wanting to return to work ever since my little one is born because I have to (being a single mum) but fast forward 7 months later after giving birth, I'm still a stay at home mum. I can't stand leaving her! The first time I left her was when I was looking for a new job 3 months ago, and I just went home after 2 hours because I am so worried about her. I always worry and cry whenever I am away, the thought that my baby is being looked after by someone else makes me feel very guilty. I don't know what to do! I need to get my life back and find a new job to raise her since I don't want to depend on my parents anymore. But how can I cope up with this separation anxiety that I have?
I really need help. :(
What you are experiencing is very normal occurrence in new mothers. I truly applaud you for seeking support from other mothers here on the forums.
I remember feeling exactly the same way when I first left my new baby with a family member. I was only gone for 2 hours but I felt awful leaving him.
I know that a woman's "mothering hormones" kick in and missing your baby is a very natural process.
If you find yourself struggling with separation, here are some tips you might want to consider:
Allow yourself to feel anxious.
Separation anxiety is the other side of the attachment coin; a healthy bond with your child means a certain degree of discomfort when she’s not there. The goal isn’t to get rid of worry or doubt – in fact, nerves are part of our parenting instinct and they help us make good decisions.
Know that other caregivers do things differently.
You’ve spent months or years getting to know your little one and fine-tuning your approach. One of the tough parts about leaving your child is the fear that no one else knows the secrets. And that’s true, but kids are surprisingly adaptive. Even as tiny babies, they know the game is different when someone else is in charge. Dad, grandma, or a babysitter – those people will find their own way and might surprise you with the tricks they invent.
Separation is an important part of attachment.
It’s healthy for your baby to be taken care of by multiple caregivers. As humans evolved, we parented in communities, passing our kids around and sharing the responsibilities. Allowing kids to trust and be cared for by other people only boosts their feeling of community and sense that the world is a safe place.
Taking time for yourself isn’t just for fun, it’s for your health.
In the early months, if leaving your baby makes you miserable, don’t force it. But as she grows, it’s natural and healthy to start putting pieces of your own life back in the equation. That means lunch with a friend, exercise class, date night – these aren’t just frills.
Taking care of yourself is important to you and your child too.
Look behind the guilt.
Guilt is a common go-to emotion for parents, but it’s not a very useful one. In fact, feeling guilt over being away from your child can be a way of not dealing with other things, like your own independence, working on your partner relationship, engaging in career or important hobbies, and so on. Acknowledge your guilt but don’t let it become your emotional hideout.
Do remember that you will be OK if you need to get out and about. She will be OK when left with a trusting care giver.
Baby steps....go for a walk alone or run a quick errand alone.
Then another day make that 2 errands...and gradually increase the time away from baby.
Before long you will feel start to feel better about the whole situation.
Oh my God! Just the exact words I need to hear! I am so anxious and guilty to leave her to anyone else. But I have to leave her to work and I realize that it doesnt make me a bad mum at all. Thank you so much!
How wonderful that you were able to take some great insight out of the post. Your anxiety is very common and will slowly subside as your daughter gets older. You seem like a amazing mum, your daughter is very lucjy to have you.