Separation Anxiety

Charlotte - posted on 05/09/2010 ( 3 moms have responded )

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I have a 19 month old son, and am 33wks pregnant with a daughter. Around 2 months ago my son started developing Separation Anxiety. When we are at home alone, he is fine, he only occasionally checks to see what I'm doing if I'm busy for a while. He wont go to his father as much anymore he always has to sit with me and he has to be in the same room as me (very annoying when trying to cook dinner!). He wakes up every night and comes into bed with me. When out in public, or if people are over he will cry and call me if I go out of sight-even for a second-he will panic. At my antenatal checkups or Dr appointments he shakes and screams hysterically when the Dr or midwife touches me. When I give him to a family member to mind for an hour or two (which isn't very often) he cries and call me when I go and it's heartbreaking but he's fine if I stay. I dont know what has caused it, nothing has changed in our lives, I spend plenty of time playing with him. Why has this developed? What should I do? I need help before my new baby comes. Someone suggested putting him in daycare 1 day a week, but I'm not sure if dumping him off with a bunch of strangers is the right thing to do..??

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Ashley - posted on 05/10/2010

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Charlotte, I feel your pain! Children are very smart, and I'm sure he gets the sense of you being pregnant. Then again I'm sure you have tried to explain to him what's going on with Mommy's body :) What my doctor said to me is that my son could be having anxiety of Mommy having another kid and not knowing exactly what to expect. This won't get easier the more your due date creeps up on you. What I did was try to get my son as involved as much as possible w/ Mommy and the pregnancy. "Feel my belly, Can you be a big boy and get Mommy that controller, Can you help Mommy with this/ that?" Make him feel as though this baby isn't going to change anything or take focus off of him, that you still need him and love him. Then when the baby comes let him help you with certain things like gettin a diaper for you, feeding the baby, or even dressing the baby. When he sees that the baby isn't replacing him, but becoming a part of his life and he plays a big roll in the baby's life things will ease up.
Now I'm not 100% sure that you having another baby could be the reason of his anxiety, but it was a part of my child's. It was the feeling that he was going to be replaced. Here's this baby inside of you with you always, all the time, and he can't do that. Like a jealousy issue. If this is the case though dumping him off with strangers isn't going to help the issue it'll just add more to his fear. With him being 19 months you really don't want to put that kind of trauma on a kid esp. if he already feels like you are replacing him. I would try however leaving him for little amounts of time with your husband, just to go to the store or do little errands (go to the doctor or grab something to eat) and bring him back a little something. That way he is atleast still at home.
If all else fails just go to the doctor and get their opinion of what could be going on in his lil head. I wish you luck hun, and a healthy delivery :)

Amanda - posted on 05/10/2010

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Hi Charlotte, I agree with the person that said take him to a day care at least 2 days a week. Your not dumping him off. My oldest did the same thing to me too. When he cries for you don't go running to him. That's what he is waiting for. He expects it. Mine did too. The day care worked for mine. Just leave him there for a couple of hours at first. 1) he will have kids his age to play with, 2) he needs to learn that you won't come running everytime he wants you too, 3) it will give him independence, which he needs especially when he has a sister on the way. You know you will have your hands full alone with her. Plus he is finally understanding he won't be the only one anymore and it bothers him even though you think it don't. Tell his dad to take him out to the park, or store or where ever without you for a little bit see how he reacts. He has to understand that even though your not right there he is fine. If you need anything else please let me know. Let me know how it goes with your family and congrats on the new baby girl.

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Mandy - posted on 05/10/2010

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My daughter is older, but she is reacting to my pregnancy in a similar way. The clinginess has gotten better recently, but she still really wants mama. I wouldn't recommend sending him to strangers, but having him spend more time with other loved ones, like your husband or a grandparent helped us. Plus, just talking about what's going on with him will help, even if it doesn't seem to be making a big difference at the time.

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