The last time I can remember feeling an intensity of feeling that took my breath away and left me unprepared for its awakening was when my youngest child went to school for the first time. This was not a new or even unanticipated event having had 3 older children who had already left my full time care, and yet it hurt.

I had grown so used to having her with me all the time and enjoying her company that I felt physically bereft when she went. I told myself all of the usual arguments, she needed to go to school to socialise with her peers, it would give me time in the day for myself and so on, but what I really wanted to do was wrap her in cotton wool and hold her close to me.

Perhaps it’s because we had such a difficult start to our life together. She was born only 20 months after her sister. It was a horrible birth compounded by an uncaring consultant and finished off with forceps. I developed and fell into an awful postnatal depression so for almost the first year of her life, Daddy was her main carer.

I still feel guilty over this and have been trying to make up for it ever since. I know it wasn’t my fault, really. She is or was too young to remember this time anyway. The fact she could have wound up in foster care and taken away perhaps makes me grab on to her tighter.

She has always been a very demonstrative child, liking nothing better than to be curled up next to me, arms linked and legs over mine as she chatters away to me. Where we live, children go to nursery at the school they will eventually attend. But and I hate this, they start the term after their 3rd birthday and they still seem such babies. You can defer their starting but aren’t really encouraged to.

The first day I took her I knew she would be upset even though I had tried to prepare her for it and tried to jolly up the experience. I knew she would likely suffer separation anxiety but did not realise I would too! I was not prepared for my own strength of feeling. I placed her upset into the arms of her teacher and went off and cried myself. It helped that I knew the teachers would give her a cwtch and comfort if necessary though, even though their jobs now discourage them to.

Over time she has got used to being away from me. She no longer cries after every holiday or time of illness at the thought of going back to school. I still miss her though. Our mutual separation anxiety has not diminished. We have just learnt to cope with it better.Till next time.


12 thoughts on “Separation Anxiety

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