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Separation Anxiety in mothers!

(32 Posts)
Trampoline Sat 02-Jan-10 20:58:21

I've heard of babies having separation anxiety, but what about mothers?! Is anyone else dreading and worrying about the return to work (or did you feel like this when you returned)?

I'd thought I'd be desperate to get back to work....but I'm not. Most women I talk to are looking forward to returning to their careers, whereas I've found being a mum so rewarding, and it's kind of taken me by surprise. The thought of leaving my precious bundle sickens me - am I over-reacting?

Any tips appreciated - thanks!

Oblomov Sat 02-Jan-10 21:20:24

My friend had seperation anxiety. I met her in my PN group. She had it very badly. Was part of her PND.

How bad do you feel? Yours may be just normal missing. Or it really could be sep anxiety.
Do you need to talk to your GP ?

notsotinybaba Sat 02-Jan-10 22:57:36

Trampoline, I was just about to start a thread on the same thing. I go back to work full time next week (no choice ) after a year on mat leave and I feel terrible. I am looking forward to a bit of 'normality', and don't think I'd enjoy being a SAHM, but I feel so upset about leaving DD.

I actually worked a few days last month, thinking that the thought of it was actually much worse than actually being at work. It wasn't!. I was fine during the day, but when I got home and DD practically flung herself out of her highchair to get to me, instead of feeling happy I felt guilty and cried!. Surely this isn't normal? Someone please reply and tell us it gets better!!

violethill Sun 03-Jan-10 09:28:53

It gets better!

I think the key thing is when it becomes routine. If you just worked a few days, notsotiny, it's not enough for it to become a routine. It's like popping a child into nursery for one day, and then expecting them to be ok. These things take time, and good quality consistent care. Once your child knows this is their routine, they'll be fine, you'll be fine, you'll enjoy your indepedence and stimulation and the extra money!

Adults are just the same really - new jobs, new situations, they are all a bit scary, but once you've taken the plunge, you wonder what all the fuss was about.

Good luck

WidowWadman Sun 03-Jan-10 09:40:19

I felt quite anxious, especially because I returned to a job I hated. However, I had an interview in the first week after returning, and handed my notice in to go to a much better job a week later.

My daughter settled into nursery quite easily and I am a much happier person now. (I'm a crap housewife and was terribly bored) She only goes to bed around 9 PM so we've got plenty of time together in the evenings.

It's quite normal to feel nervous/anxious about going back though. It's a huge change. But the anxiety shouldn't stop you. You'll be fine, honest

notsotinybaba Sun 03-Jan-10 17:01:40

That's made me feel better, thank you!
I'm starting a new job at a new company so am doubly scared!.

WW - Has your DD always gone to bed at 9pm or did you change to that when you returned to work?. I've pushed my DDs bedtime from 6.30pm to 7pm and would like to make it later to give me more time with her, but she's absolutely shattered by bedtime.

Trampoline - sorry for hijacking your thread

WidowWadman Sun 03-Jan-10 18:15:22

She's always gone to bed late, no pushing on our part. We just never saw the point in putting her to bed when she isn't tired. However she can sleep as much as she want during the day at nursery, which sometimes is 60-90 minutes in the morning and in the afternoon, sometimes as little as 30 minutes in the whole day.

If she's really tired in the evening, we put her to bed earlier. The usual routine is get home - cook - eat dinner - get her changed, read stories, play etc until bed time, settle down with lots of cuddles. Sometimes earlier, sometimes later, 9PM is just the average.

And she's not a morning person, so I get her dressed while she's basically still snoozing.

Trampoline Sun 03-Jan-10 22:33:49

Thanks everyone for the reassurance, and notsotiny, it's nice to know I'm not the only one feeling like this, so don't worry about hijacking the thread! I'm also returning to work with no choice after a year off - and it's going to be tough. I feel sick at the thought. Good luck with your new job - and do let us know how it goes.....

Oblo - I was being (half) tongue in cheek about the separation anxiety. I'm dreading the first day at work, but I'm sure that most mothers feel exactly the same - I guess it's hard to know what 'normal missing' feels like. I'm sure there are mums out there who also felt pretty sick at the thought of leaving their baby while they go to work?

Thanks everyone.

Confusedfirsttimemum Mon 04-Jan-10 12:01:02


I feel pretty similar. I'm lucky in that we could just about afford for me not to work. I always though that that would be what I wanted. It turned out it wasn't. I find being at home really hard and, although I love DD to bits, I've made the difficult decision to return to work. Because of my career (City lawyer) it would be nigh on impossible to go back if I took a break, so I'd be walking away from an entire career.

However, even though it was my decision, I feel terrible stress and guilt at the thought of leaving DD. My mum stayed off work until we started school and I think I've strongly absorbed that as the ideal scenario. It's going to be terrible leaving her. The thought makes me feel sick to my stomach.

We'll get through it...

LoveTheCarbs Mon 04-Jan-10 21:48:47

Hello everyone..

I am in the same situation. I start work tomorrow and am dreading leaving my DS in nursery especially as he hasn't quite settled in happily yet. Luckily we have great in-laws who can help out and pick him up early. I've had such a great time on maternity leave and would love to stay home with him longer. I've been off for 9 months.

Ideally I would have loved to stay off with him till he was 2 or so, but then what sort of career would I have?

People say it gets easier. I hope so. I did enjoy my job before mat leave, so I'm hoping both my DS and I settle over the coming months.

Good luck everyone!

JaynieB Mon 04-Jan-10 21:54:16

Good luck! I think its pretty normal to feel anxious about leaving your baby to go back to work. I remember I was quite happy to go back (changed to part time which has been nice) but thought of DD constantly all day! Felt giddy on way home at prospect of seeing her again..
It does get easier and I think my DD has learnt a lot at nursery too and has got her used to being looked after by other people and socialising skills from being around other children too.

notsotinybaba Mon 04-Jan-10 21:59:40

Yes good luck everyone!
I had a complete blip last night and got very upset. Is anyone else going back full time?. I would love to go back part time but don't have the option unfortunately.

Hulla Tue 05-Jan-10 13:12:07

I am going back p/t this week and came on here to start a thread so was pleased to see this.

DD is 11.5 months and I feel sick with guilt. DH will be off 1 day a week for a few weeks and I will have 2 days off (annual leave carried forward) for a few months so dd will be in nursery at least 2 days a week.

She isn't easy-going, she's wary of strangers (rightly so!) and feeds to sleep, doesn't eat much. I just dread how upset she'll be.

The worst of it is, mat leave was so hard to start with and now she's getting to be really fun and I have to go back to work. sad

notsotinybaba Sun 17-Jan-10 20:26:49

Just wondering how those back at work are doing? I've had a full week back and it's not getting easier, am I expecting too much????

DD has been really unsettled at night and now won't sleep, she has also started having tantrums. They might not be related to me going back to work but its just added to the guilt......feel like I'm not being a good mum

I've realised aswell that I really miss time on our own (working f/t so only real time together is weekends/ evenings when DH is there too). I've spent every possible minute with her but it doesn't seem enough after spending a year together.

Is it normal to be this upset or am I being a bit soft?

Antiquarian Mon 18-Jan-10 12:42:10

Hi Trampoline. From my extensive survey of one (me), I would say it is normal to be upset. I'm not sure if it's soft or not, but if it is, you're not the only one. I've been working full time now since September and my DD is nearly two (was working three days before that). I have exactly the same feelings as you, I worry about being a good mum and am constantly anxious about whether DD is OK or not. Everytime she gets upset now/has a tantrum, whatever, I wonder if it's because she's unhappy at nursery. The difference perhaps for me is that I am fortunate enough that I don't HAVE to work, although the money is handy! I choose to because I love my job and don't particularly enjoy being at home. That seems to make me feel extra guilty as I hate myself for not making a sacrifice on behalf of my daughter who I love beyond anything.

Anyway, I don't know if this is helping but just wanted to say, you're not alone. And it's true, although it might always be a bit difficult, getting used to the routine does help a lot. Good luck.

Hulla Mon 18-Jan-10 12:57:50

notsotiny I think its normal to feel like that. DD had a few settling in sessions at nursery and started being unsettled at night & clingy which really does add to the guilt.

If you have to work (& I do) then its an adjustment - especially after a year. However, I try to plan stuff to do with dd on my days off now (rather than just wing it like before). Its probably more about my guilt really but I find it helps.

So no real advice from me but I wanted to let you know you're not alone.

notsotinybaba Mon 18-Jan-10 21:00:39

Thanks so much for the support. Work today was ok, but then DD took 2 hours to go to sleep. She cried as soon as I put her in the cot, which she hasn't done before.

Well I feel very crappy but hoping it will get better soon. Also decided that will save up for next couple of years to go p/t after next baby even though we'll be completely and utterly skint

Hulla Wed 20-Jan-10 09:26:33

Ah yes, I have sobbed this week at leaving dd. My mil said in some ways it would have been easier going back after 3 months & I think she has a point. I'm glad I've had all this time with dd but I feel so guilty leaving her.

I am part-time-ish now but I am going to go even more part time after we move house this year. We'll be skint too but I feel like its the right thing for us.

Hope your dd was more settled last night notsotinybabasmile

RedHairedGirlie Thu 28-Jan-10 21:25:43

Hi there, thought I would jump on this thread to ask how all those are doing who have recently gone back FT? Are the little ones all settled in nursery/CM now? My DD is having her settling in this week and its tough leaving her, I am back to work Monday (FT).. I feel so sick at the thought of not spending that time with her anymore - the last 10 months have gone by way to quickly and I wish I had a rewind button sad..

Trampoline Wed 03-Feb-10 21:38:05

Hi all - thanks so much for all of the replies, it's clear that we're not alone - even though I guess we all knew that deep down, didn't we. It's good to hear the reassurance! My return to work has been much better than I'd expected (well, I didn't cry at work so far, and was sure I would!), but as it's a phased return, I haven't yet faced the trauma of nursery or childcare...that starts this week... The settling in sessions have been going ok - with the expected tears on leaving making it a heart wrenching experience. I counter this by telling myself that she'll have lots of fun there once she settles in, and the staff are lovely.
It's so true that the time off work has flown so very fast - I see mums with newborns and feel like it was yesterday.

Notsotiny - how are things going with you? I'm also missing my DD dreadfully, and feeling dreadful leaving her when we've been joined at the hip for so long

eagerbeagle Fri 05-Feb-10 07:58:59

Hello all
I'm due back to work start of April, like Confusedfirsttimemum I'm a lawyer (in-house though) and although We could have afforded (just) for me to take some time out, I am really scared that I wouldn't be able to get back in at the same level or that if DH got made redundant (lots of people at his work have been) we would be well and truly in the poo.
I feel shockingly awful at the idea of leaving DS although staying at home all the time quite frankly bores me senseless and in many ways I long for the mental stimulation of work. Its just when I am playing with him or he climbs onto my lap for a cuddle I just doubt my decision so much and feel horribly horribly guilty. I don't have any choice but to go FT too, if I could go PT that would be easier but its just not an option right now (am only lawyer at my work). My parents are going to look after DS a couple of days a week and he will be in nursery the rest.

Sigh, dads don't go through this do they.

eagerbeagle Fri 05-Feb-10 08:00:35

Meant to say DS doesn't bore me at all but being home all day, housework and not seeing other grown ups outside mom and baby type things does.

Simic Fri 19-Feb-10 11:17:03


My second child is now one and I've been back at work PT for a month and a half now. With my DD, now four, I went back to work PT when she was 3 months, with my husband also 50% PT. Going back that early really hurt. Then when she was just under two, we sent her to nursery so my husband could go back FT, which hurt again. Now with second child, my husband can't reduce his working time. I am tearing myself apart with wanting to go back to being a SAHM. The problem I find is to explain why. My husband thinks it's because I don't like my work. My boss thinks it's because I have too much stress at work. Everyone wants me to set out rationally my reasons for giving up work - but it's not "rational". It would cost a fortune in lost earnings, pension etc.. I live in Germany where there's no NHS so my husband would have to pay for our health care which would take up pretty much his entire salary. Still, I feel instinctively that the time with the baby is worth all this money and we could survive even if we would go from being well off to struggling with money. It's hard for me to see it like buying an expensive holiday or a new car - I suppose I've got all these hormones mixing me up or something.

As eagerbeagle said, dads have it easier!

lawmom Sun 21-Feb-10 20:51:46

Empathise with you all!I have a 9 year old,a 6 year old and a 19 month old baby girl.Over the years I've done a combination of part time,full time,flexi name it,I've tried it.I'm a solicitor,and whilst I don't love my job,it would be impossible to live without my income.
I took a partnership 4 years ago and worried constantly about my kids.
I now have a really good arrangement where I leave at 1.30 two days a week,my husband also compresses his hours so he does the same.That leaves just one full day for the baby at the childminder,and one after school for my boys.It works so well,although i have to work in the evenings from home when they go to bed.
The guilt never goes,but when I see my happy and confident older kids,who have a great life that we work hard to provide,I do feel proud.I think you really appreciate your kids when you don't see so much of them.For me,every moment is precious.
Hope this helps..

Beveridge Thu 25-Feb-10 18:55:48

I'm so glad i found this thread, i thought it was just me...

Preparing to go back to work 3 days a week in just over a week. DD is almost 9 months. I did 2 keeping in touch days last week and thoroughly enjoyed them, but this was because DH was with DD and I got a steady stream of picture messages all day with DD eating banana, DD giggling, etc. so i knew she was perfectly happy. I really enjoy my job and I have found the domestic side of maternity leave really quite difficult so I wasn't dreading going back.

However, this week, I've been trying to slowly settle DD into nursery and it's been horrible. I've left her there twice, once for 30 mins then today for 60 mins and all she does is scream the place down when I'm not there.I actually felt sick when I left her there today and I'm on the verge of tears when I think about taking her in there for a 2 hour stint in the morning.

It's not being without her all day that I'm worried about as such, I will miss her but my job is very busy so it will be the end of the day before i know it. It's being away from her all day when she's so upset that is getting to me.

I'm also starting to wonder if a CM would be better for her than a nursery and wishing that I'd really thought more about it earlier. But then, I've never done this before so I didn't/don't really have a clue what going back to work was really going to be like.

Sorry, bit of an emotional outpouring! And yes, how come DH isn't worried and just keeps saying "she'll be fine"?

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