Separation anxiety– the normal fear and apprehension expressed by infants when removed from their mothers or approached by strangers.
This is what we usually think of when we hear the term separation anxiety, however this is not what I’m talking about. So what am I talking about? (often said by my husband!)
I am an avid co sleeper. This means that from birth I choose to share my bed with my infant until I feel they are ready to sleep alone. We don’t use Moses baskets/crib ect. My little ones just sleep in my arms from the day they are born. I don’t want to go further into co sleeping, that can be another post, but in order for this one to make sense that fact that we co sleep needs to be known.
My 3rd child, my daughter is now 5 months old and she is starting to escape the bed in the morning (she’s safe- mattress on the floor) So we decided its time to introduce her to her cot. We have bought ourselves a new bed and attached her cot along side it with one cotside missing, know as a sidecar.
Since doing this however I have had very little sleep! I believe that I am suffering from separation anxiety!! I lay awake for ages just watching her in the cot, she feels a million miles away! My mind races with crazy ways in which she could harm herself in the cot. I just can’t seem to settle. The space between my outstretched arm and curled up knees seems empty, like how your stomach feels after you have given birth and the baby is no longer there.
She doesn’t seem any different, although now when she wakes for her first feed (around 12am) she looks around for me and starts to whimper, then she will come shuffling towards me in the dark (cutest thing you’ll ever see) Once she has this feed I just keep her with me, she can roll back into her cot if she chooses too but most of the time she stays with mama.
I do still (often) feel this kind of panic with my older two, who both sleep in their own rooms now. I sometimes lay awake wondering if they are ok. Are they breathing? Are they poorly? What if someone got in the house? What if they need me?
I remember we went on holiday recently with family and we stayed in converted barns, there were loads of us and each family had their own room. So me, hubby and both kids stayed in the one room. It was amazing, the best sleep I had in years. I remember one night the kids were restless and ended up in our bed. When we woke in the morning it was the happiest I have ever felt. My hubby even said he’d love to wake like that every morning!
This isn’t just a feeling I’ve had at night, I often feel a horrible feeling in my stomach if I have been separated from my children for too long. Like any mother I crave some alone time but once I have it I miss them so much I just want them back!
It just shocked me how physical a feeling separation anxiety is. It gives me a wonderful incite into how an infant feels when experiencing this…..
Like someone has ripped off your arm and taken all the oxygen out of the room!
So have you felt separation anxiety?
Do you co sleep?
Do you worry about your children at night or feel detached from them when they sleep in there rooms?
Are you less neurotic than me? 🙂