Leaving Your Baby For the First Time




Baby's hand

From the featured blog, Momma Maven in the Making

So we’re getting ready to head out of town on an annual adventure trip, and with this comes the dreaded reality that we must leave our 4-month-old behind.

This will be the first time we’ve left the boy out of our care with anyone and mama is not having an easy time with it. It’s not that I think he isn’t safe without us, he is going to be in great hands, but I am really torn up inside over it. I’m sure every first time mom goes through the same thing when they must abandon the babe, ever so briefly, and be kidless for any amount of time. I mean it just seems unnatural to be taking off without him.

I’ve gone through every thought possible in my mind about this trip. I pretty much had myself convinced that we would just forego the whole leaving him behind idea and I’d just sit out and watch him at the condo while hubbs went on the trails. I thought about having a family member come with us and stay at the condo playing nanny while we went out on the trails for the day, so that at least I would have him near and could cuddle him every night when we got back. I even thought, screw the idea of going, I’ll just stay home this year with my baby and hubby can go have some man-time with his friends. I made up every excuse I could think of to why it would be a better idea if we didn’t leave him behind. I tried my best to sabotage this whole idea.

To justify my new decision I had a running dialogue going on in my head…. It’s just that he’s so particular about things, we do things differently at our house than they would, he has his schedule and what if they didn’t stick to it, what about the monitor and if they don’t set it up properly, what if he cried and they didn’t know the special way to hold him to make him stop, what if he got sick and needed to go to the doctor, what if they forgot just how awful it was to wake up every few hours with a baby at night and started resenting the fact that they offered to watch him, what if they did too many activities with him and overstimulated him, what if they fed him something and he had an allergic reaction…. I kid you not this dialogue has been running through my head for weeks in anticipation of this trip. And all of this is followed by “you’re being a nutcase, he’ll be fine, the kid isn’t going to be traumatized because you left him for 3 days, the grandparents will be able to deal with the crying, you need some time to yourself, you and hubby need some time away, it’s ok, it’s ok, it’s going to be OK!!” which is usually followed by tears because I know that I have a lifetime of these thoughts to come and I wonder how I’m ever going to get used to this, to get good at letting go…

I guess it all comes down to trust and control. It’s not that I don’t trust his grandparents or family members to care for him, but I must have some issue because otherwise it wouldn’t be this hard. So really it all comes down to control, that I don’t want to relinquish to anyone else because I know MY baby, I know what he likes, I know how to comfort him, I know exactly what he needs at any given moment of the day and let’s face it, the truth is that no one else on this planet can duplicate that.

The mommy instinct completely goes against the idea of leaving your baby behind, your job is to care for them, to protect them, for LIFE. And when an opportunity comes along that interrupts this it sends off warning bells in your soul that it is not right. The problem is that we aren’t animals or cave people, this is 2010 and it’s not normal to have your child attached to your hip for all of eternity. It’s healthy to get away, to leave them behind. They need to be able to learn flexibility and a different routine. I would be doing my child a disservice if I kept him in a little padded box and never let him experience anything other than Mommy’s-world.

So the past weeks have been filled with more dialogue convincing myself that it’s ok and this is good for the baby and surprise, it’s going to be good for ME!! Some uninterrupted sleep, some time to be officially “off duty” and get in some quality time with my husband. But I’m not going to lie, it is still creating knots in my stomach. Today I filled out the Medical Power of Attorney so that the grandparents would be able to get him medical treatment should anything happen while we are gone, and I almost threw up. I was in tears filling out the form and every possible worst case scenario was flooding my brain. And once again I start thinking that this is just the first of years of worry, what am I going to do when he has a car, a girlfriend, when he leaves for college. This is life’s way of preparing you and telling you to shut up and get used to it. So that’s what I’m trying to do, to get used to it.

Next week I hang up my SuperMom cape and pass the torch to the grandparents who have assured me that they will be just fine (we’ll see what tune they’re singing after a couple nights of up every 2 hours!!) and you can bet there will be tears and 5 million phone calls the entire trip to make sure he drank his bottles and that the diapers are being changed properly (because I’m the only person on the planet that can properly change a diaper). Next week I learn the other half of what it means to be a mother, to learn how to let go and give my child the opportunity to grow….

*To be continued…*