Wednesday, September 1, 2010

Separation Anxiety

We've missed church for about a month now because Cooper couldn't handle the nursery...God love him and all his sweetness but he just can't handle it right now. Today was our first MOPS meeting and I though "Eh, let's give it a try..." and I really was hopeful for a positive experience today. Not so much. They had a window that I could peek in and I was pleasantly surprised the first time that I stole a peek that he was doing great! I came back 10 minutes later and his world had fallen apart evidently. The sweet lady's exact words were "is this one yours?" and said that he had been inconsolable for 10 minutes. I told her to possibly try giving him his bottle because he was just about due and that I would come back in 10 minutes to see how he was doing...yeah, came back in my little man was still in hysterics! I ended up spending most of the meeting on the breastfeeding couch and luckily he fell asleep in my arms...

I'm just so torn because I don't want to force him to "get over" what he's feeling but am I making it worse by always rescuing him and not giving him the opportunity to assimilate with the other babies? I honestly CANNOT relax if I know that he is unhappy!

I was really looking forward to joining MOPS but I wonder if I should put it off for a few months to give him an opportunity to get past this OR do I keep taking him with the hopes that he'll get used to it...I did the same thing with the church nursery and hello, we haven't been to church in weeks because he just has a meltdown...the mommy part of you loves that he needs you so much but then the mommy part of you that was really looking forward to a couple of hours every other week of woman time is, not frustrated because that's too harsh of a word, maybe just at a loss as what to do...

Ultimately, I know that I can only do what I'm comfortable with but how have you handled this situation with your own babies?


  1. My little was the same way. I couldnt even go to a different room of our house without her (if she was awake). She was terrible. It took a lot of work and mant tears, hers and mine. We were joined at the hip until she aged out of Soonerstart (therapists came to the house to work with her)@ 3 and was transitioned into the public school for her therapies. I wish you luck and will pray it gets easier, fast!

  2. You know I have no advice for you. I'm not there yet. And, I'm horrible at letting Nora cry. I carry her in the carrier all day long to avoid meltdowns. For her sake and mine. I want to join a stroller work out group and am putting it off until she gets past (hopefully) this screaming phase.

  3. I worked in a daycare for years, and then I taught preschool. I can tell you that only one time did I have a child who we had to call the parents to come get. This kid was 3 years old and had never been away from his mom. She then went to work fulltime and expected to leave him. Not happening. He cried for HOURS and we had to call her at work.

    Other than that one child, all the other kids, especially babies, stopped crying after a few minutes. I know it's easier said than done, but going back to "rescue" him really just prolongs his anxiety. I know it's hard to know he is sad. I've been there myself. But crying will not hurt him. Your not going to emotionally scar him. Going back to him when he cries just teaches him to cry. (Does that make sense?) I'm not passing any judgement, because I know it's soooooo hard. But, I'm just giving you the caregiver's perspective. It's been my experience that the mom who runs back to her crying baby everytime ALWAYS has a crying baby because he never has a chance to learn that it's OK without her.


  4. Holly,

    I get what you're saying and I agree...I do have to "toughen up" but he had been screaming for 20 minutes with a room of strangers so I think that experience was a bit much. I'm going to try to be a little tougher at the next meeting :)

  5. Its such a hard time when the little one's have seperation anxiety. I went through this with both my kids and found out that frankly, I am a mean mom. Being a stay at home mom it isnt very often I have to leave my kiddos, so when I do, it isnt usually a situation or meeting I can change. I have committments and cant always take them with me. Sage was great for the first few months, then he suddenly went into this stage where no one but mom and dad was acceptable. Even grandma and grandpa who live 2 miles away from us and had seen him everyday of his life. We didnt have a choice, he had to get over it and he did. Took a couple days and it broke my heart but I also know that its important for him to get used to other people and kids. Its such a hard thing to do, and maybe because I am on kiddo #2 I had a easier time with this one because I know that there are ZERO lasting scars for Piper and she wont need therapy for the rest of her life because she cried when I left her at the babysitters.
    I personally wouldnt stop going, especially since you also need your time, but that is me. You have to make the decisions that are correct for you and Cooper and that might not be going through this battle right now. Just know that while it is TERRIBLE when it is happening, you and he will both survive and it will be much more traumatic on you in the long run then on him. Good luck and whatever you do, it will be the right decision for you all of you :-)

  6. Jen, I wasn't judging at all. I know it's hard and horrible. I'm just giving my two cents from past experience with other moms. (I remember one mom in particular who would come back in several times if her kid WASN'T crying. It was like she wanted to know he missed her. Then she would act surprised when he started crying! We all wanted to shoot her.)

    I also agree with the above poster, it's harder on you than him. :)

  7. Dear Jen,
    As the mother of 4 adult or teen sons, I would say it is a balancing act. I don't believe it's ever in the child's best interest to have them scream in anxiety, but if you need/want the break, well, it's not going to hurt them since you give such excellent care the rest of the time. In other words, I wouldn't feel too guilty about it, but neither would I pass it off as "for his own good." Also, children have individualized tolerance levels and some are just more fussy. It is best if you can go to the same person so your son gets used to them, and bouncing around between lots of strangers can make it worse. Can you get a regular sitter to make all your breaks consistent for him? Just a thought! Hope this helps.