Wednesday, May 14, 2014

Separation Anxiety: First time away from baby

Many babies, once they reach a few months of age, often experience separation anxiety when separated from a parent (usually Mom). This post, however, is not about baby's separation anxiety, but my own.

I attended a Pregnancy & Beyond Fair a week before Mother's Day and won a free 30 minute-massage, which I had to schedule later. As a Mother's Day gift, my husband scheduled it and extended it to an hour long. I was told to arrive 30 minutes early for a brief chiropractic consultation, and since it was located half an hour from my home, we decided that my husband should come with me to watch the baby. That way, he'd be much closer to me should he get hungry. (He's still nursing about every 2 hours, and the total massage time, plus the consultation and drive would equal 2 1/2 hours).

Baby G slept in the car on the way there, and we hoped he'd sleep a little longer so we just decided that I should go in for my appointment instead of waking him up to feed him. Since he'd only eaten 45 minutes earlier. My husband was planning to push him in the stroller through the shopping center to keep him asleep.

What was strange to me was that I had discussed with my husband the possibility of interviewing babysitters for down the road. Being able to go out for an hour or two for a quick date without baby seemed like a nice idea at the time. Sometimes I feel like just a milk machine and like the baby is just permanently attached to my breast. I can hardly get anything done around the house, and my husband and I can't really cuddle on the couch and watch tv like we used to. So being able to spend an hour or two just the two of us - even if only once a month - at a restaurant or movie theater or even just a frozen yogurt place seemed wonderful.

But then, I was sitting there, in the waiting area, filling out paperwork and started to stress out. The farthest I'd been from my baby since leaving the hospital was about 20 feet. And the only time I wasn't able to really see him or touch him was when I was in the shower. I just kept thinking, "What's going on? What's he doing? How is he? Are he and my husband ok? Is he crying? Is he still asleep?" and so on. I would attempt to calm myself: "He is fine. He's with his daddy. They are okay, daddy knows what he's doing. He ate less than an hour ago, so he shouldn't be hungry yet..." But still... I was experiencing a bit of separation anxiety.

Half an hour after entering the salon, I laid down on the massage table, still stressing about baby and our separation, but looking forward to an hour long relaxation period. I never realized how heavy a tiny little baby could be. Plus a diaper bag - the two really worked some knots into my neck and shoulders! Right after I laid down, my phone buzzed. It was my husband telling me that the baby was fussing and he thought he was hungry. Then another text, asking if I could shorten the massage to half an hour.

I notified the masseur when he came into the room that I wasn't able to do an hour any longer (and why). My phone buzzed a couple times during the massage, but I wasn't able to check it because I'd stuffed it under my left shoulder and at the time, the massage therapist was working on that side. I was panicking a bit, "Oh dear god, the baby is probably screaming because he's ravenous. I knew I should've fed him before getting out of the car!" I tried to shove those thoughts away - He shouldn't be ravenous, he hadn't eaten that long ago, and I only had maybe 10 minutes left anyway.

I checked my phone after I'd dressed - baby had fallen asleep. Ha! I found my husband and son outside in a little sitting area, the baby just sleeping on daddy's chest. I didn't want to disturb him, so I waited for him to wake up before I smothered him with kisses.

Lord, had I missed him. It surprised me a bit, just how much I missed him - I'd only been "away" for an hour, in the end. I really should've expected it, considering how much I adore that chunky monkey. :)

It was quite the learning experience. I learned that from now on, I will always feed him upon arriving at a location if I am to be apart from him for any considerable length of time. I also know to always check my phone in the middle of a massage. I might be able to extend the massage another half-hour if I do! I also learned that I will not be hiring a babysitter anytime soon. Date night will just have to be pushed back another couple of months. :P
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