Separation Anxiety.

My husband and I are heading out to "the farm" (perhaps I should say "cow pasture"?) this Friday, Saturday, and Sunday and -- much to their immeasurable delight -- Victoria will be staying with Granny and Pa for the weekend. The farm is to the south-west. His parents house is to the north. We were thinking we should take her to their house on Friday morning before heading out to the farm, but it seems silly for us to drive all the way north, just to turn around and go south again, when we know for a fact that his parents are more than willing to come pick her up and bring her back.

The most logical thing to do is let Keith's folks come get her and take her back to their house.

But I'm having a bad case of separation anxiety. It's not like I have any worries about them keeping her -- they're so blessedly attentive, Victoria will have tons of fun stuff to do, new people to see, and places to go. His mother, in particular, has raised 4 children and is wonderfully good at comforting/rocking/loving little babies. But it's Monday...4 whole days before the event...and I'm already having pangs at the thought of not having her around me for 2.5 days. But I've let her stay over for 1.5 - 2 days before, and had the same sort of anxiety at the beginning too, so I know I'll get over that part.

Strangely, the thing I'm most worried about is -- if they come pick her up -- Victoria freaking out and crying for me as she is being driven away from her home by someone other than me or her dad. The thought of that kills me. But she knows her grandparents; she really enjoys them. She's just never left her home in any other car except ours. But maybe babies don't really care about such things, so long as she knows who she's with...?

Maybe what I'm actually worried about is me freaking out when they take her out of my house and away from me.

I just don't know what to do with myself when she's not nearby. There must be a point, though, at which your child needs to learn that she can feel safe with other trusted adults when mom or dad isn't around.

But what do I know? This baby thing is new to me. Do I need to just chill out? :/


Sarah W said...

I'm afraid you might not like this bit of advice very much (giving advice in parenting is a mine-field, I know, so please take this as kindly meant advice and not as chriticism), but it will at least confirm that there's nothing wrong with you not being 100% comfortable with leaving her - it's a sign that you're a good, sensitive mother. The general guideline regarding little children is that you, as the primary care giver, should keep to the year old - days away rule: if a child is one year old, you can leave it with someone else for a day (24 hours), a two-year old can be left with baby-sitters for two days (48 hours), and so on. To late to change your plans now, perhaps, but it might be a thing to keep in mind at some other time.

Mind you, I have no children yet (regrettably), but I do have seven younger siblings and am a RN currently spezialicing in paediatrics, so I have experience and knowledge all the same, and this is an area that I'm very, very much interested in. Knowing how children work is not easy - do you have a nurse to ask in matters of this kind? I don't know how the American system works, here every child get assigned to a RN who checks up on them from time to time the first six years of their lives, and works as a councelor to the parents. It is good to have a proffesional to ask, as well as parents, in-laws and friends.

Sarah A - pretending to be at work :)

Amy said...

Hmmm...I've never heard of the "years old - days away" rule. Not letting your child be away from you for 24 hours until they're a year old seems like it would make it extremely difficult for mom and dad to have a special night out (a wedding anniversary, for example) that is so coveted among new parents. ;) I can definitely understand waiting until after the "newborn" stage (say, around 5-6 months) before leaving them overnight, but what is the theory behind the rule? Do they think that a baby can't handle it emotionally? Or does it have more to do with feeding (the primary nurturing a mom gives)?

I've only left Victoria overnight twice so far, and in both instances, the total amount of time I was away from her was 24-36 hours. I've never left her for two nights -- but this weekend is one of those situations where my dad really needs lots of help, but I can't take the baby out there.

The reason I ask about the theory behind the "years old - days away" rule is whenever I've left her for a few hours or overnight, she seems to have always had a great time. She's always been happy to see me again and we haven't had any disruption with nursing. Maybe it's because she's never been left with ANYONE other than family (only grandparents at this point)? She seems to be very comfortable with them.

Thanks for the advice -- it's something to look into for sure.

Sarah W said...

I'm basing it mostly on the English psychologist John Bowlby's "Attachment theory", that is universally accepted as being true today. His research goes back to WW II, and is supported by research today, and in short, it means that a child attaches itself to the primary caregiver, and that the nature, or quality, of this attachment is a major factor in how secure the child will be growing up, and even as an adult. Many other factors are important as well, the childs unique personality being one, but not many contradicts the importance of the attachment. A very small child (under the age of 18 months) is not yet old enough to keep the image of the parents in their mind, so to them, it's as if the parents dissapear. If this goes on for too long (how long this is depends on the age of the child) the child will mourn in the same way as older people mourns the death of a loved one. To them it is the same thing, since thay are too young to understand the abstract concept of "mommy will be back later". If it can't be seen, it doesn't exist.

The years old - days away might perhaps be a Swedish thing, it's recomended to parents, but not always popular. I suppose it's one of the things with being a parent - you loose a great part of your freedom and time. But as the Saviour said, he who looses his life will find it... I always thougt that applied well to motherhood. But if you look at a whole lifetime, the childhood years are very short and pass quickly, and the time you invest will pay of well.

Still, life is unpredictable, and sometimes you just have to do the best you can with what it deals you- at least she will be with people she knows, and that is a very good thing! :)

Amy said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Linda Denton said...

Take a deep breath and relax. Victoria is in God's Hands and in the hands of loving grandparents. She will be fine. You are the one that will have a hard time. It is always hard for mommy to let her little ones go stay with others even loving caring grandparents. Trust me as the mother of 3 grown girls and grandmother to 8 you will make it through this and your baby will too. Relax trust God and enjoy the weekend with your loving hubby. I know Keith will enjoy having your complete attention for a whole weekend. Relax and have fun.
I will keep you all in my prayers.
Linda Denton