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Separation Anxiety

(20 Posts)
BooseysMom Sat 04-Jul-15 09:22:21

I tried to leave my 19 month old DS with a nursery the other day and it went so badly I never want to go back. I'm sure it wasn't anything they did wrong although they were different people there than at his induction and he didn't know them well enough to be left even for a few minutes. He had tried to make a connection with the woman on his first visit but she wasn't there on his second visit and the ones who were there he was unsure with. I think it was way too soon to leave him. When I left him he was trying to fight the one woman to get to me and I burst into tears. When I went back after 15 mins he was in pieces. He was short-breathed and in panic-mode. I felt so guilty. The carer said she couldn't distract him with anything. I was supposed to be leaving him there for 4 mornings a week in just a week's time to start a new job, but this upset me so much I turned down the job. I have probably made a huge mistake but there's no way he'll be ready to be left for that time in just a few days. He has never been left with anyone before apart from people he knows through me and my DH. (ie, grand parents) I know people will tell me it is a natural process he has to go through but I don't know whether I can cope with the fact he thinks I'm abandoning him to strangers. I would have got him in to the nursery a lot sooner but it has taken 5 weeks to actually find a nursery that could take him for the days and hours we want. There is a real shortage of child-minders in our area too, and those I contacted didn't have space. So at the last minute I found this nursery. It has been a roller-coaster of emotions from despair to happiness back to despair again. I don't know how anyone works with a LO to consider! I have now decided to get him into pre-school two mornings a week when he is two and build him up gradually. As for having to earn money ... it looks like that's not gonna happen for the foreseeable future.
Anyone got any comments or experiences I'd love to hear them

BooseysMom Sun 05-Jul-15 20:16:51

Hi, I got all of zero replies to my post about separation anxiety. This is not the norm for this site. Is it the case that posts are read and replied to by an 'expert' or is it only other mums who reply??

LHReturns Sun 05-Jul-15 20:27:11

Boosey I haven't been through this yet as my son is just 1 and he has a nanny. But I wanted to send you big hugs....what you wrote sounds like my idea of pure horror...especially where you say your lovely little boy tried to connect with a lady on his first day, but she wasn't there for him the next day. Little boy, what an angel! Of course that would be horrid for him!

I'm sure lots of mums will be here soon with very wise advice around how they dealt with nursery at this age. All I would say is that every month I go through new uncomfortable feelings where I feel I will never be able to get on with life as I can't ever leave my son; even now I tear home from work at 4pm and grab my son from his nanny's arms and smother him until bedtime. But 3 months ago I wasn't doing any work, so at least I have made progress! Each month I work something out and find new ways to manage uncomfortable situations. I am sure over the coming months you will get this worked out beautifully.

I wish you the very best of luck.

MrsBojingles Sun 05-Jul-15 20:40:28

It's only mums who reply here, no experts.

I don't really have any advice, as not been through that (dd is only 9 months). What is the nurserys policy for settling in? Can you do a couple shorter sessions with you there also?

Tiredbadger Sun 05-Jul-15 20:43:14

That sounds so tough for you both. I found returning to work when DD was 12 months a lot harder than I anticipated.

DD goes to a childminder and had a few mornings settling in before her first day, these all went well. But on my first day back to work she cried so much my childminder asked me to collect her. I felt so awful for putting her through it.

We then had to go back to settling in days, and very slowly and gradually build up to a full day. It was so hard but we got there in the end.

A year on and she couldn't be happier at the childminders. She barely blinks when I drop her off now.

So maybe for you try and find a childminder or nursery you'd be happy with to get you DC used and familiar with. Then once you have somewhere you are both happy with you can start looking at jobs. It's really not easy and you did the best thing for both of you. HTH.

BooseysMom Sun 05-Jul-15 20:49:50

Hi LHReturns, thanks so much for replying. I thought the site was moderated and there were experts on here too who check all the posts! I guess I'm just being impatient and it is a long post I posted! It's a massive shame really that I've had to turn down the job - it has honestly taken 5 weeks to find childcare for him. I'll never bother going for another job again. I also considered a nanny like you have, but it wouldn't pay as they charge as much as I earn an hour!
I think I might instead try for a second baby. I'm no spring chicken at 43 so might not be lucky but won't know if I don't try!
Thanks again

LHReturns Sun 05-Jul-15 20:56:15

Definitely try! I am 40 in November and haven't knocked myself out at work because I know we might have another (and I had better get on with it too...).

I really feel for you so much about the job, but I also see exactly why you didn't think twice after your little boy was so unhappy. Easy decision, but still painful. I would be willing to bet that things will evolve for you and soon you will be able to say all this happened for a good reason.

Nanny is ludicrously expensive, I couldn't even begin to afford it. I am very lucky that DP can cover it, but he is certainly waiting for me to start contributing properly again at some point!

BooseysMom Sun 05-Jul-15 20:58:21

Hi TiredBadger. Thanks so much for replying. I have aged 10 years in the last few days! I feel for you when your DD cried so much the child-minder asked for you to collect her. So hard to cope with. That is exactly what I see happening with the nursery. In fact, they said they had hardly any free time for him to settle in and the fact that he would need to be settled in there in one week, is just way too short a time for him. As you say it needs to be built up gradually. What worries me is that the pre-school I want him to attend has a policy of one visit where you stay with him and then the 2nd visit you leave him for an hour - so hardly a gradual process. It's the same as the nursery I tried leaving him with. My DH said exactly the same as you - to find a nursery we're happy with then find a job. The only issue there is that it seems to be really hard to find somewhere that will take him for the days and hours we need. There needs to be more child-minders for certain!
Thanks again - I feel better now for reading about similar experiences!

BooseysMom Sun 05-Jul-15 21:02:02

Hi Mrs Bojingles, thanks for the msg. Well the nursery policy is the same as the pre-school we are considering. One initial visit where you stay with him and followed up by a visit where you leave for an hour and that's it! I read somewhere that is good to find somewhere that has a long gradual settling-in period, but that is so hard to find. My DS needs to feel secure with someone before trusting them enough to be left. It's taken 18 months for him to go with his grand-parents so there's no way he'll be happy to be left with someone he's only met once!! It's crazy!

BooseysMom Sun 05-Jul-15 21:07:53

LHReturns: It was truly heart-breaking watching him fight with the lady to get to me - i should have said there and then I'm not leaving him but my dear mother constantly says he needs to be left to cry it out which I don't agree with. If I took the job i would need to leave the office every half an hour to settle him back down, and they just wouldn't wear it.
I wish you the best of luck with trying. I said I'd NEVER do it again and that was over a year and a half ago - it's amazing how quickly you forget it isn't it?!!

LHReturns Sun 05-Jul-15 21:26:09

I SWORE I would never do it again...I swore just 3 months ago I would rather gouge my eyes out! Women are funny creatures!

BooseysMom Mon 06-Jul-15 10:17:58

Yes, but we have to go through such a lot don't we?! The birth with my DS was traumatic and I said 'once only' but now I'm re-considering. Reckon it's my age and hormones at work!!

Jenny1231990 Mon 06-Jul-15 21:50:29

Hello, I hope you're feeling ok.
Sorry to hear your baby had a rubbish time at nursery, my son is 6 now but when he started play group a few mornings a week, we had some settling in sessions together, he had one key worker who was kind of like his main Carer while he was there, so he was used to her.
I went with him and we all played together a few times as I was very apprehensive about leaving him alone, then gradually I left him little by little, just 10 minutes then 20 I just sat in the car. Madness haha.
Before I went back in I would watch him through the window, so I knew really he was ok, still had him a little upset at drop offs but again I stepped back and watched through the window so he couldn't see me until I knew he was happy and playing,It didn't take long for him to forget and be happy.
I'm surprised they didn't have the same people around who were there for his settling in session, isn't that kind of the point, someone for them to recognise.
It's a shame you've turned your new job down but you need to feel happy going to work, do you think maybe you could ask if you could stay a couple of times with him, then gradually leave him even if it's not for this job, another may come around and he will be happy there already and you have no reason to worry. Just an idea, the playgroup my son went to were very accommodating.

Sorry for rambling, but I know how hard it is. X

Jenny1231990 Mon 06-Jul-15 21:56:04

Sorry I've just read your previous replies. I'm surprised they expect children to get settled in that fast.

I hope you find somewhere who will appreciate how hard the whole process is for both mum and little one.

BooseysMom Tue 07-Jul-15 08:51:04

Hi Jenny, thanks so much for your messages. I have phoned the nursery to see if I can bring him in a few times before he is left next week. Yes, I think it is def not long enough to get him used to it. But apparently it's the same procedure at the pre-school we wanted him to go to. Parents aren't encouraged to stay around as it prolongs the anxiety and means the carers are not given a chance to get to know the child without them being there. Not sure about that one. Think it's probably more likely that they just don't have the time and resources for the child to take as long as he/she needs there before starting. It's a minefield though and it's good to hear from someone who knows how I feel. The last few days I have felt all torn up and nervous inside which is why I turned down the job. I have now sent another email to the boss asking can I retract my previous email turning down the job -and now I think that was a mistake too as my DS will never be ready to be left in time for next week!! Aagghh!!
Thanks again

Buglife Tue 07-Jul-15 09:06:15

It's very difficult, but it's easy to imagine that they'll spend all day crying when in reality it nearly always settles down. My DS has just had his 3rd settling session and has two more before his first full day, but I was only present at the first. We played and I left for 15 mins. Then it was getting him used to mummy drops off and says bye, then it's nursery time. I can ring the room any time and I was looking through the window but he saw me and I thought I'd better go as it was probably worse for him to think I was just outside the whole time. We've had no tears on drop off yet, a bit when I picked up the first time (like he just remembered 'ooh, mummy!') I console myself with the fact that they don't really have much perception of time so they don't know how long they are left for. I hope after a couple of times he relaised that mummy goes but she comes back and that makes him secure. They are probably right that he needs time to bond with the staff alone, but I'd hope if you were really worried they'd let you do some more sessions. Main thing is they will be used to it and have dealt with similar before. flowers

Buglife Tue 07-Jul-15 10:35:23

Btw DS is 10.5 months.

BooseysMom Tue 07-Jul-15 13:01:04

Hi Buglife, thanks for your msg. That's a good point you raise about the fact they have no perception of time and therefore wouldn't know how long you're gone. That will help me in future I reckon! I think it would have probably been a lot easier if I had got him used to being away from me at an earlier age, but to leave it to 19 months is a bit too late. But then I never thought I'd get this job and so it was all a mad panic to find somewhere that could take him for the days and hours I needed. It took 6 weeks to find a nursery! I've just found out that I haven't got the job now. They were probably glad to get rid of me!! They were completely unsupportive in the end. OK, they gave me time to find somewhere to settle him but when I was left with only a week to get him settled, it wasn't long enough. The thing to do is to find somewhere first and then find a job - easier said than done!!

Heartofgold25 Tue 07-Jul-15 20:04:55

This happened to me too.
I felt ill with the stress of it to be honest, so unless you really want them to go to nursery and absolutely have to work, then just don't bother is my advice whilst they are so young.
It is not worth the torture. They will soon grow and become older and less attached, and then you can reintroduce the idea further down the line when your child is ready....
The other possibilities are to stay with your child so he builds trust and begins to enjoy it with another kind and lovely carer and she can read him a story and he can learn to relax with her and know he is safe (I did this for a long time) at some point you need to leave, and unless they are very happy or very distracted the same is likely to happen again if I am being honest. I used to sit in the car heartbroken and in pieces fighting the will to rush in and snatch her out of there! I felt very moved by your post, and this was years ago!
I think you might like to try in time again perhaps in a year or two, once he is older, and perhaps your dh could take him initially instead? Often it is the idea of leaving you that is so difficult....
I feel for you, I really do, the heartache is unbearable. I would also say that little tots grow up very quickly and he soon be at school, and then you will have all the time in the world to work. Actually your days with your ds are precious and I would make the most of them.

BooseysMom Thu 09-Jul-15 13:02:55

Hi Heartofgold, thanks for your lovely msg. I'm sorry to hear you were ill due to the stress - I can just imagine how it felt. How are you now? I was actually feeling on the verge of a breakdown as it had taken so long to find care in the first place, and we only had a week to get him settled in this nursery which I thought was rubbish!! In the end the job fell through so it was probably just as well considering. I think what you say - unless you have absolutely no choice, why bother with the stress of putting them through the separation. It does worry me that he'll be like this when he starts pre-school when he is two - which is only 4 months away - but at least I should have time to get him settled. The only thing is that the pre-school and the nursery both say that it's not good to prolong the visits with you present as it doesn't help them settle withyou around, but I think my DS would need to get to know them first before being left without me. That was the problem - he didn't know anyone and I suddenly left the room and he was fighting to get to me and screaming. I felt sick and cried. There's no way I was going to put the pair of us through that torture again! My mum said that if he does the same when he has to start school, the social services will get involved - ever the supportive one! But at the end of the day what you say is completely right - these early days are so precious. Thanks again

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