separation anxiety to the max

I love the fact that my daughter is SO bonded to me. There’s nothing as wonderful as when your child reaches for you, wants to be held by you, and turns to you for comfort. It is a realization of the year of babyhood when they couldn’t expressed themselves yet, but you poured your love and devotion into their little psyches.

We have, however, a new problem. My daughter has started to protest, wildly protest, my leaving her for any length of time with anyone. Even to go into the bathroom and close the door (my mom is out there with her) causes hysterical tears and heart-wrenching sobs. The worst is when she crumples up with her hand over her face, like her heart is shattering in the worst possible way because I’m going away from her.

Oh god. It rips me right apart.

And then the reports I’m getting at school are now: “M refuses her breakfast”, “M keeps signing more, more, but doesn’t eat anything” (She uses it to express a want… maybe wanting mommy???) “M doesn’t eat any lunch.” She is there for less than 4 hours, and is now quite unhappy, this girl who used to love being in groups of people and never seemed to care if I was next to her or not!

My poor baby.

Then my mom reports colossal fits after I leave the house, melt downs and sadness. When I arrive home she runs to me, crying and clinging, and won’t let go of me or let me put her down.

I know this is a phase, and a normal one. But still. I dread going anywhere without her because my poor heart can barely stand it.

Author: Mother of All Things

Mother by fostering, adoption, and marriage... wife to my best friend... Bay area critical care nurse... travel in my blood, reading in my bones, clean food on my mind!

5 thoughts on “separation anxiety to the max”

  1. It is totally age appropriate. But have you tried leaving without saying goodbye? Distracting her and slipping out? I’ve noticed with my kids, if I linger or stop and say goodbye they get upset.

      1. You want to increase her trust in you. Sneaking out teaches her that you could disappear at any moment.

        I went through this with my adopted son. He got so worked up when I dropped him off in the nursery at church he threw up one time. He’s 10 now. It’s slightly better. No temper tantrums. But the separation anxiety is still on the extreme end of things!!!

  2. Grandmother and exfostermom here. ALWAYS tell the child when you will leave and when you will be back. Give them advance notice as well, “I will be leaving for x at y point’ ‘I will return at z point’. then ‘Now I am leaving for x and will be back at z”. Yes it gets noisy sometimes but 1) they will learn and believe and 2) when they are leaving you will want them to share the same information with you.
    You are doing the right things. She is bright and will learn through repetition.

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