Thursday, October 22, 2009

Separation Anxiety

I've thought a lot about separation anxiety lately. I remember when Ethan was having a hard time when he first started daycare. I had been home with him for 13 months after he was born and then I had to go back to work. I would drop him off at daycare and his teacher told me that for about 30 minutes after I dropped him off, he would stand at the window and cry, just waiting to see if I would come back to get him. He would cry every time I dropped him off and would run to me every time I picked him up after work.

"Separation anxiety is a developmental stage during which the child experiences anxiety when separated from the primary caregiver (usually the mother)."

Symptoms include:
  • Excessive distress when separated from the primary caregiver
  • Nightmares
  • Reluctance to go to school or other places because of fear of separation
  • Reluctance to go to sleep without the primary caregiver nearby
  • Repeated physical complaints
  • Worry about losing or harm coming to the primary caregiver
I often thought about how it was going to affect Noah when I went back to work. I was only going to be home with him for 8 weeks after his birth, so he would be in daycare. I was going to be going from full-time to part-time though, so he would have only been in daycare 3 days a week.

This past Sunday I couldn't sit still in church. I got up to go to the bathroom and I heard Sarah (my best friend's daughter) crying. Her cry is so distinct and everything in me just ached to comfort her. I hoped I would not annoy the nursery workers, but I walked in and just held Sarah for a while to calm her. I cannot tell you how much I absolutely adore her! It's partly because I was present for her birth and her family is like family to me. So I feel like I'm her "Aunt Lisa"! :o) I finally put her down in a bouncer and left the nursery. A few minutes later she was crying again so I went to get Angela out of the service. Sarah was hungry. She needed her mommy. I overheard the nursery workers talking about separation anxiety and my heart hit the floor. That's it. It's separation anxiety. But it's not my child who is desperately longing for me to hold him. It's me....I'm the one with separation anxiety. I long to hold my child in my arms. I am the one with the nightmares, the reluctance to push through another day, the one worrying that something may happen to my husband or to my other son. It's not supposed to be like this. No mother should have to endure this. I have separation anxiety and no amount of crying, kicking, or screaming is going to bring him back.

I just kept thinking about how I would give anything to hear my son in that nursery, crying for me. I stood outside the nursery just screaming to God in my head, "Why can't he just be here, God. Why??? I want him to be here. I want him to be in that nursery. "

After church we went to Noah's grave and then to eat. After that I stopped to do a little shopping for winter clothes for Ethan. While I was our shopping, my friend Nanci sent me a text. She said she wanted to hang her painting (of the angel holding the baby) in the church nursery in honor of Noah. I started sobbing in the middle of Kohl's. I told her about my morning and about how I desperately wished Noah was in that nursery. Her thoughtfulness meant so much to me.

I know this separation is only temporary. Just like Ethan used to run into my arms when I would pick him up each day, one day I will run into my Savior's arms...and my son, Noah will be there to run into mine...and there will be no more separation.


  1. This makes so much sense! I never even really thought about it but it's very much like the separation anxiety of our kids.

  2. Aww Lisa I love you! I wish I could just make the pain go away. Thanks for loving Sarah like you do. Sometimes I don't know how you do it!

  3. Yeah, I definitely have separation anxiety too, it's so true! I think it's so neat that there will be a painting in the nursery for Noah!