Don’t leave me this way – on separation anxiety, again

July 28, 2015

Baby blanket

Separation anxiety has arrived in our house. Florence, who is just starting to explore the world around her, now wails like it’s ending if she can’t see me or isn’t being held. Oh baby, it seems like parting is unsweet sorrow.

It’s a classic case and I know it’s a perfectly normal stage to happen at her age, but it’s hard to see her being this distressed. She’s our baby, our tiny baby who is so attached and spends most nights starfishing in our bed. There’s not much you can do apart from comfort and reassure her, scoop her up and hold her tight (is there?)

“But after six months of not putting her down I was enjoying having two free hands and getting a few things done….” I wail to my mum, somewhat guiltily.  She reminded me of how we’ve been here before, when she came to stay and had to call me back, after ten minutes, from a solo trip out to the supermarket – of all the crazy places – as baby Eliza was that upset by my absence.

Has anyone else had a particularly bad case? I know Eliza grew out of hers eventually (although true to second-time-mum amnesia, I can’t remember when). I really can’t do anything at the moment, apart from when Alex is around.

But after I spoke to my mum I thought of all the times she waved me off somewhere – travelling, university, around the world by myself, down to London when I had no house, no job and not much of a clue. How did she let me go? Especially when I only communicated via the occasional email, call or postcard. “You have to let go” she tells me.

When your children are babies you’re so focused on getting on and getting through the baby stage that you don’t really think much further afield. And it’s a long way off, I know, but it’s inevitable that I’ll have to send them off into the world at some point. A slightly daunting prospect. Ultimately, who’s going to have the separation anxiety in the end?

At the moment I’m Florence’s passport. But for how much longer? She’ll get itchy feet and an eternal case of wanderlust, it’s inevitable. So for now, I’m just going to hold her, close.


  • Carie

    July 28, 2015 at 12:26 pm

    I’m Pip’s passport at the moment and have been for a while and I know what you mean about wanting to do something, just something on your own, but as you say it’s a phase that passes and doesn’t come back so I too am cuddling in!

  • Rachel @ The Ordinary Lovely

    July 28, 2015 at 1:16 pm

    My littlest is two and a half now and still suffers terribly. Every time I go to leave the house, he grabs his shoes and says, ‘I go to’. Whenever anyone asks him if he likes something, his stock answer is, ‘I stay with my mama’. He’s a funny little thing. Super confident in all aspects of life, as long as I’m with him. I’ve grown used to it, to be honest. I’m expecting it to continue until he goes to school and I’m sure by then, I’ll be dropping off a very happy boy.

  • Darren

    July 28, 2015 at 6:07 pm

    I never thought this phase would end when my youngest used to cling to me all day, refusing to be put down. Even now she still gets upset if she thinks I am leaving her. I return to work in 12 weeks and she will be starting nursery, I don’t know what that will be like! But whilst at the time I did get frustrated as I struggled to get anything done, looking back now as she gains her independence and wants to do more on her own I do miss all those cuddles.

  • Chloe (Sorry About The Mess)

    July 30, 2015 at 9:14 am

    Never had it with Arlo, but Rory has made it no secret that I am his preferred person. As a baby, as soon as he became alert enough. he developed a keen sense of stranger danger with extended family, and like Rachel, even now at 2, he grabs his shoes when he sees me leaving the house. He gets very distressed if it’s not me putting him to bed or dealing with him at night – think co-sleeping has a lot to do with this one. Then again, the other side of this is that his moments of independence have me getting emotional that he’s “not my baby any more”.

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