Psychologist Questions Anxiety

How can I help my separation anxiety with my baby?

I am a mother of a 2 year old. I have constantly been with my baby since the time she was born. Now that we are considering putting her in a day care and my going back to work I am getting very depressive thoughts. I am undergoing separation anxiety. How can I overcome it?

5 Answers

See a therapist who will work with you to overcome this separation anxiety using a variety of CBT techniques.
Our emotions are wonderfully designed to provide us with information and motivation. They influence our lives by silently directing the decisions we make. Your emotions are informing you of a possible disruption in your connection with your baby. Your thought is that you have "separation anxiety," but the emotions behind it are likely distress, fear, sadness, guilt, and other feelings as well. If we step back and imagine living hundreds of years ago, it would seem rather strange for humans to leave their babies. You feel "separation anxiety" because you are attached as you should be. Children do adapt, given they are with good caregivers, but that does not remove the loss we may experience from separation, especially if we prefer to remain at home with the child. Understand that you feel as you do because that is what a mother who has closely bonded emotionally with her 2-year-old is supposed to feel under the circumstances. I do not believe it is something to "overcome." But, instead, these feelings are something to acknowledge and accept if you decide to go back to work at this time.
The funny thing about mother-child relationships is that they often recapitulate the feeling you, as a child, had with your mother! Was that or is that true for you? If yes, talk to a professional about that. And as a practical strategy, try separating by degrees, as a child does when going to the first nursery school or kindergarten - mom or dad stay for a while, and then fade out for a few days.

It’s hard at first, but all mom’s can do it. Find out why you have been so attached all these two years, and then practice letting go slowly. You won’t be the first or the last!

Marian Kaplun Shapiro
Licensed Psychologist
Don't overcome it. Wait until your baby is at least three years old. The child will suffer abandonment trauma, otherwise, impairing her ability to trust, which is for a lifetime without therapeutic interventions. We are products of evolution. We are not evolved to be separated from our mothers (or possibly primary caregivers) until we are at least three. In some cultures, it is five years old, which is when Kindergarten was originally arranged.

Babies separated earlier than that will be susceptible to ADHD and variations on separation anxiety. The reasons this information is not disseminated is beyond me, other than the pharmaceutical industry makes a ton of money for medicating children. Tattoo parlors, body piercings, street drugs, and raves may be symptomatic of youths that are insecurely attached.

Children are not what they used to be since the we started placing them in daycare or othercare so young. If you want a child that stands out above the crowd, stay home one more year. Allow your child to become a resilient, creative, empathic, articulate, honorable leader, because she has the kind of confidence that comes from a secure attachment.

Dr. Faye
Time will heal that usually. Once you see that she likes daycare and is safe, you should be more at ease. You will always miss her and think of her while she is away, but with today’s appointments of life, we have to deal with things that make us uneasy. My daughter had the same with two children, but things are better now and her 2-year old did it this year and he is 2.5 now. It was easier for her daughter going to daycare. Her son was not as mature as her daughter. Pick a good daycare that is my advice and as for your feelings, don’t be afraid if you are missing her and let her grow.