For all the talk about a baby's separation anxiety- the mum's can be worse!
From the moment I became a mother I just had this incredible instinct to not want to be separated from my baby. Of course giving birth was such a life-changing experience. You go from carrying your baby for nine months to bringing he or she in to the world where it is no longer just them and you. It is scary. In those first few days it feels as though everyone is a threat. Some of these emotions are associated with the baby blues. I felt those on about day three and they were pretty intense. But the feeling of not wanting to be away from my baby stayed with me for a lot longer than I expected.
During the newborn stage I needed to collect something at the post office and sign for it. My son was asleep and my mother suggested I pop down alone and she would stay with my son. It would literally be a fifteen minute round-trip and yet it felt like an eternity. Turns out I am not alone in feeling this way and it is very normal.
It hits you in different stages I think. There is the initial handing over your newborn to friends and family who want a cuddle. You are fully convinced someone will drop the baby and it can often be hard to relax. I often wondered if it was my anxiety that triggered this fear but again it is very normal for a woman to feel this way. It is the most precious person in your life after all so of course you will worry. Then there is the monumental moment that you move your baby in to their own room. People do this at different stages. My son was nine months and I cried on the first night. I knew he was happy and safe and I was only metres away from him but it felt like a separation. After a couple of nights it felt completely normal. Turns out it is actually quite nice to be able to turn the light on to change in to your pyjamas. Going back to work is another kettle of fish. I can still feel the pang of sadness when I think about it now. I don't think this ever feels good to any mother. Even if you know going back to work is the right and often necessary thing. It is another moment that carries it's own anxieties, worries and emotions. It just does not feel natural. Like all things you adapt to it and it begins to feel normal after some time.
I look at my own mother now and think about the way she responded when I moved out of our family home. I was twenty four and moving in with my long-term boyfriend who she loved. We were moving ten minutes down the road but it still broke her heart. She was totally happy for us and yet the idea of her first “baby” fleeing the nest felt alien and unnatural. I suppose that says it all really doesn't it? Right now I can't even imagine my son going to school and yet I know tears will be shed (by me) and with time it will become normal for us all.
It's a lovely thing really, these emotions. To have that bond and connection with a tiny human being who has shown you nothing but love since the moment you met them. It's no surprise then that your instinct is to want to be near them. In time though you learn to navigate your way through these big changes and before you know it you are enjoying a much deserved glass of wine with a friend knowing that your little angel is tucked up in bed none-the-wiser.