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Seperation Anxiety (this is long and sad)

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  • Seperation Anxiety (this is long and sad)

    DS turned two just over a month ago....he is with me 95% of the time, but we have rarely had a problem up until recently with me leaving him with anyone. He is always fine with staying with my MIL, and before this we used to go to my in laws' church occasionally, and the two or three times we were there I left him in the church nursery, with people that we didn't know(but my inlaws do), went back to check on him a few times throughout the service, and he was always happily playing.

    Then, less then a month ago, my 18 year old stepson was killed in a car crash.: We all went down to north Florida for his wake and funeral, and I had nobody to leave DS with. The closest possibility was my mom, who he is familiar with, but she was 6 hours away and couldn't come on such short notice. So I brought him with us.....we ended up finding out the day of the wake that there were some moms in the nursery watching the kids....this lady took us over there, and DS would NOT let go of my leg. I've never seen him do that before! The lady kept telling me, just go, he'll be fine after a few minutes and if he's not I'll come and get you. I was like: uh, no. So I hung around and tried to get him comfortable, but he never went more than a few steps away from me. I know this had mostly to do with he knew that something was very wrong: he had seen all of us crying at one point or another over the previous few days, and on the way there I felt that sombody could have seriously cut the sadness in the car with a knife. It was thick and gloomy, to say the least. So, he knew something was wrong, and the nursery was also two buildings away, down this dark hallway, and most of the kids in there were a bit older and quite rowdy...AND my ds was also on antibiotics, fighting off bronchitis and slight pneumonia(talk about great timing)....so put all of that together, and of course it's no wonder he wouldn't let me leave. I ended up taking him back to the church with me, so that I could be there at least a little to support DH, and I wanted to pay my respects as well. We ended up popping in and out of the church, walking around outside, going back in....but then after the first time of doing this DS adamantly refused to go back in there...so I wasn't around much for DH that day, but he was fine with that. He had so much wonderful support. But I was hoping that since we had hung out in the nursery for a bit, it might help ds be more comfortable the next day....that was not the case. I explained to him on the way there that mama had to be with daddy for a little while, and he was going to play with kids! He didn't seem to care at all, and when we got there, he acted slightly less attached to me than the day before, but still when I went to leave, he got upset and wouldn't let me go. I got down on his level, and explained again, and he wasn't going for it. So not knowing what else to do......while a lady distracted him with cereal I slipped out the door. : I would never in a million years have done this if I felt I had any kind of choice. I HAD to be there for my husband, as this was so far the saddest day of his life(mine too). And there was no way ds could have been in the church with me. The lady there had given me her daughter's cell phone to keep with me(I thought this was so nice since mine had NO signal where we were), so that they could get in touch with me if need be. I kept looking for an opportunity to go and check on ds, but everyone was so intense in their grief and their kind words about my stepson, that I really felt it would have been rude to get up and walk out....plus DH really needed me there. So a little over an hour later, I ran to the nursery to find ds sitting in one of the ladies' laps, watching Blues Clues, which ordinarily makes him very happy....but he was FUMING. I have never seen my baby with such an angry look on his face. And I was dismayed to find a couple of tiny scratches on his forehead, they said that he was mad and banged his head against the carpet and gave himself rugburn. They said he was fine "other than that", and that he even took a nap(which was shocking, since at the time he really only went to sleep while nursing). I went to him and it took him a second to hug me, he seemed very angry and almost disbelieving that I had come back. :

    I am crying as I write this, because I am re-living everything and I feel like I really betrayed him. But I didn't know what else to do! Ever since then, we have been going to my inlaws' church because it has been really helping my DH to cope with everything. But everytime I go to leave ds in the nursery(with more familar people), he wraps himself around my leg. So I've been staying in there with him... I really don't mind, I really wasn't a regular church-goer before all this, I would just like to be there for emotional support for my DH, since Sundays are especially hard for him. But I was there for the important part, and now it's time to be there emotionally for my baby. I'm just wondering if this was something that he would have most likely gone through anyway, and this just accelerated it, or if it was brought on by this alone. I guess there is no way to tell, but either way, I want to know if there is anything that I can do to help him get over this, so that he'll be ok if I need to leave him for a little while. It will probably take some time, I'm sure. But I will do whatever it takes...it kills me to think that I betrayed him in a way.

    And now we are going into our 4th night of nightweaning....I'm wondering now if maybe I started this too soon in lieu of everything that's happened.....but it's certainly not like I'm leaving him to cry by himself. Every night has been pretty much the same, 5-10 minutes of crying and protesting when he wakes up the first time, then falling asleep on my shoulder in the rocking chair, then when he comes to my bed there is another 5 minutes of crying/being angry while I try to comfort him, and then he's been just going to sleep on his own. The crying hasn't lessened or lengthened, it's been about the same. And after he falls asleep the second time he's been staying asleep till about 6 or so, except for yesterday when I gave in and fed him at 5:30(he had barely eaten dinner the night before). BUT I will say that his temperament during the day has been pretty much *normal*(whatever that means for a two-year-old, lol); no excessive acting out, tantrums, etc. So I'm glad about that.....

    Sorry this is so long ladies.....I hope nobody berates me for this, I really did not know what else to do in my situation. Any advice will be greatly appreciated!!

  • #2
    mia,
    i am so very sorry for your family's loss. this is a terrible situation for all involved. please don't be afraid of judgment. your grief and loss is too much for many of us to imagine and you did the best you could in this situation. no one's opinion about it matters.

    the great thing about attachment is that it can always be re-established, no matter the age of your child, no matter how greivious the offense. so rest assured that you and your family will be able to work through this simply by using the tools throughout the Principles. please keep us posted as to your family's progress and MANY HUGS TO ALL OF YOU!!!

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    • #3
      strange...double post
      Last edited by PaxMamma; 06-08-2008, 05:53 PM.

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      • #4
        Thank you Dedra, I really appreciate your response.

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        • #5
          Remember that children are very resilient! He will bounce back! It has been a tough time for all of you and it is hard watch your little guy (and big guy dh) go through so much. Try to give yourself some extra sympathy too.

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          • #6
            I think you handled that indescribably painful time very well. I agree, it sounds like there wasn't any other options for you. I say give yourself a break and be kind to yourself. You made the best with what you could. It's not uncommon for children to have these reactions when a very tragic event occurs that upsets the family's energy. Children are very sensitive to that, but like us, they do heal and often much faster. He will bounce back, just continue to be present for him. Try to continue to do things with him and your husband that bring joy during this very difficult time. Keep with the nightweaning if that is working for you. I am very sorry for your family's loss.

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            • #7
              Thank you guys...

              you know I was starting to have doubts about whether it was the right time for the nightweaning; then last night, (which was actually the 5th night) ds woke up after a couple of hours, and I whispered to him before he said anything "Remember the milk is sleeping, would you like some water?" and he pointed to the rocking chair and said: "Bu"...which meant that he wanted me to read him his blues clues book(yes, he is slightly obsessed, lol)...so i sat down and read him two pages, and he fell back asleep without even asking for milk; and that was the only time he woke up!! So, it's going pretty well.

              I'm really trying to be kind to myself, and most of the time I'm ok....yesterday was just really hard for some reason. I guess b/c of the way ds was so clingy for three weeks in a row, I couldn't help thinking that I had caused him to be that way, but I really did do the best I could. And really I have no way of knowing if he was going into a phase on his own anyway...so I will definitely continue to be present for him, and hopefully it will pass soon.

              Thanks again, I appreciate the kind words.

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              • #8
                Be kind to yourself. You did the very best you could in a very difficult situation. That's good to hear things are settling down with your ds.

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                • #9
                  It sounds like a really tough time for everyone. I'm glad to hear things are improving now.

                  I had a similar experience with my daughter when she was around 10 or 11 months old. I'd worked a really long day the day before, had been gone before she woke up and didn't get home til after she was asleep. We cosleep, but she only half wakes up at night to nurse. So, again, in the morning, I was off to work before she woke up. We basically didn't see each other for over 24 hours.

                  To try to make up for this and meet my need to see her, I had DH and her meet me for lunch - something we really never were able to do normally. At lunch, she totally dissed me. She wouldn't even make eye contact. I tried to pick her up and she turned away from me and asked me (signaled) to let her down. She played seemingly happily on the floor, but wouldn't have anything to do with me. She also totally refused to nurse, which was normally the first thing she did when she saw me after an absence. It REALLY hurt.

                  That night, though, when I got home from work, everything seemed back to normal.

                  The good news is you do the best you can, and then you have the wonderful skills of AP to help you reconnect.

                  And, as for nightweaning, I'm glad things seem to have improved. Remember, if things aren't going well and it doesn't feel right to you, there is no reason why you cannot stop and try again later. I think children appreciate our flexibility, particularly if it's because we've really listened to them and considered what they want.

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