Today, we left our 11-week old with a home care provider so that both could start getting used to each other. What an ordeal! While I know I need to do this now to get everyone ready, it is just so difficult as a nursing mother of a tiny baby to just leave her in someone else’s care. What is worse is that no one knows her like I do. At least that is how I feel. Even when I went on an overnight to a city one and a half hours away, I felt unnerved because I firmly believed my husband and mother (who has lived with us for 3 months) cannot take care of her as well as I can. That may be a control-freak type attitude but nonetheless, to leave her with someone else made me very nervous today. It was even more nerve wracking when this lady called me and told me she was crying. Oh my poor baby!
Here are some of the questions that have crossed my mind every minute since we dropped her off, “how is she doing? Is she crying? Will the provider stick with the 90-minute sleep program I have followed for 2 weeks now? Will the provider know which cry is which- cry for food or cry due to discomfort or cry because she just needs assistance to fall asleep? What is my lil one doing now? Will the provider place her head up so she spits up only a little? Did she get burped after she was fed? What about the milk- did she warm up the breast milk properly? Does my baby realize where she is? Does she miss me?”
It has been a LONG afternoon and even an otherwise pleasant nap was an ordeal – needless to say, I did not nap. On a positive note, this little separation anxiety has made me appreciate my little one even more and feel closer to her. I realize how much she means to me and while we have not bonded as much as my 2-year old and I have, I realize now that she needs me so much more than the 2-year old and is so much more helpless. She cannot tell me in words what is going on like my 2-year old can. She cannot communicate effectively so I have to be more in tune with her cries. In sum, I miss her terribly and while I have come to appreciate her more, I am sad to know that the weaning has begun… not breastfeeding weaning per se but rather, the natural weaning that occurs in life when children slowly separate from their parents, and one day, leave for pre-school, then elementary, then high school, and college and get married… and yes, possibly even move further away. That realization has left me wondering if I am truly ready to “let go” of my babies. I guess, in the natural order of things, this is all part of being a parent.
Of course, the heart of a mother… well, the heart of the mother will always be tender and belong to her children. Happy Mother’s Day to all of you moms out there. Whatever the outcome, you have done the best you can!