Separation Anxiety or What?!
In August of 2004, I had a perinatal loss. I was 22 gestational weeks pregnant and our baby girl (Hannah) was born too early. She lived for 1 hour and 26 minutes and died in my arms.
I had weaned my younger daughter, Rachel, at 12months old when I was along in my pregnancy with Hannah. Rachel was 15months old when we had our loss.
I very much wanted Rachel to be my "baby" again, but even though I desired to unwean her, I left her to her sippy cups. However, I did baby-fy Rachel again by holding her, snuggling with her and just basically keeping her as my little shadow. In retrospect, I realize I wasn't extreme, but yet, it wasn't natural either how much I focused on Rachel during my time of grieving.
Today, Rachel is 3 1/2 and we are expecting another baby. This will be my sixth pregnancy, my fifth living child. I have toddlers and teens, 16DD, 14DD, 5DS and 3DD (Rachel).
Rachel cries if her older sisters go to bible study or dance practice or to a friend's sleepover. She is inconsolable for a spell and then she's better. She cries if I leave to go to the grocery store or to run errands. And she mostly cries for her Daddy. She cries when he leaves for work, or if he goes anywhere (even outside to get the mail or to go to the garage). If I take Rachel and all of the children to go somewhere, but my husband stays home, Rachel cries and cries. She wants him to come with us. If I'm laying in my own bed and she comes to lie down with me, she wants her daddy with us, too.
Her crying is extreme to me. She wants all six of us (her four sibling and 2 parents) together all of the time. Especially her daddy (he works, I'm a stay at home mom).
My husband and I have soothed her and spoken to her and we do not cater to her outbursts. I will drive away with her bawling in her carseat with her crying for her daddy to come, too. But first, he'll climb in the van and give her hugs and kisses, high fives and giggles, all the while reassuring her, he'll be right at home when she returns. And when we do return, he'll say, wow, I missed you - tell me all about what you did and I'll tell you what I did!
When I drop off her sisters to wherever they are going and she bawls, we all hug, kiss, blow kisses, say I love yous and then comes the parting. She never fails to cry, but I do drive off. I'll sing a familiar song with my son (Barney, etc.) because ignoring her works best sometimes - not trying to croon to her all the time and soothe her. Crying equals attention. Sometimes we all just ignore it. Sometimes we definitely are attentive.
I have no idea how she will react when this new baby comes. I'm due next April, so there is plenty of time to acclimate her to the idea of another sibling. And I do a child care in my home (no babies under a year, but some a year and a half). Rachel says I'M your daughter and "I" was your seed in your belly - NOT Emma (or whoever, if I snuggle with them). And I'll reinforce that and agree and ask her to share my lap and help me play pat a cake, etc. with the younger one.
I'm very very concerned about her crying spells during separation. She wears us out sometimes. And while we don't do her bidding, the crying is really annoying.
(P.S. This is the first time I've ever addressed this to anyone, not even her pediatrician, so I guess I wrote a book!!)