Sunday, January 23, 2011

Day 21: Attached or Trapped

I will choose to find a positive perspective under even the most negative circumstances.
I will choose acceptance over resistance.
I will choose to focus on the things I value about my children, not the things that drive me nuts.
I will choose to extend the same grace, love and forgiveness to myself that I try to lavish on my husband and children each day.

I was away from Max last night for about two hours and he was not all too happy with me when I got back. He wouldn't allow me to be more than two feet from him the rest of the night. He refused to go down by himself, so he had to stay up until I went to bed, and he woke more frequently, even complained a little in the night, which he never does. His world had clearly been shaken by my absence. 

The thought of how seriously he responded to such a minor separation started to become a little overwhelming. My negative side started to feel trapped by this. Will I ever get to go on a date with my husband again? Will I ever meet up with friends without a baby on board? How can I ever leave if I know it upsets him so much?

I was very conscious about creating a secure attachment with Maxwell. He was in my arms almost his entire first three days. In five months, he's never had a bottle, and I don't intend for that to change. Every feeding of his life has been with me. Every nap and every bed time has been with me. As he grows, those things will change, but for now this is the life I've chosen and I wouldn't go back and do it any differently. 

I'm so glad he and I are this in sync. Mothers and babies were designed to be as one until baby grows ready to venture out, and I'm proud of myself for respecting that biologically predetermined need in my children. I know that investing in this attachment now means I'll have a very self-assured and independent boy in the future. And I know that it's temporary. The sacrifices I make to foster this attachment are minuscule in comparison to the joy I get from seeing him health, happy and secure. 

Slowly non-baby outings will increase and he'll have the opportunity to learn that when I go, his needs are still met (albeit in a different way by a different person) and that I always come back. I will work on finding a balance between protecting our attachment and allowing him certain growing experiences, and we will get there. But for the time being, instead of trapped, I choose to feel honored to be loved and needed so intensely.


  1. I am very glad to know that my 3-year-old is happy to go to school and fine with my leaving, and also very happy to see me when I return. He goes for about 3.5 hours 3 days a week. I never get the crying and the separation anxiety. Oh, and he currently does not nap or sleep without either my husband, my mother, or me. I feel like he is happy to venture out a bit on his own because he knows that he has us.

  2. Well said Meredith. Just because it can be hard at times doesn't mean that we can't complain a little. Sure it can be rough when you wish you could go to a movie or run errands (or some other activity) without baby in tow but like you said, in the end you are doing what moms are suppose to with their baby! We have always been designed to be "as one" with baby in the early months/years. We live in a society that values a dependent child almost from birth and then we wonder why we have these "boomerang" kids and where we went wrong! You are doing a wonderful job of mothering. It's very refreshing to see!

  3. LM, I see the same here with my 2.5 yr old. We've never had a separation anxiety problem and it's clearly because he's secure in our relationship.

    You said it, Jen. Forced early "independence" leads to insecurity and clinging. Secure early attachment leads to confidence and independence!