In less than 24 hours I am going to be embarking on a journey that I’ve been waiting for, a few weeks now, my trip to Better Farm. Prior to road trips, vacations, etc. I am always anxiety-ridden. Some times are worse than others, but this specific trip is bringing out some of the strongest anxiety I’ve ever had. This feeling is 100% Mom related and I’m doing my best to overcome it but it’s been difficult.
I have never spent a day away from Estelle in her ENTIRE life. To be honest, I can’t even think of the longest increment of time that I’ve ever spent away from her. I always try to plan my time away so that it syncs up with nap time or bed time. The worst Mom-Guilt comes from leaving your baby behind, especially when they are there to watch you leave and ask you not to. Even when it’s just going to the grocery store, to a doctor’s appointment, some other type of obligation and it’s still just as difficult. I know it’s important to get away from day to day life. I know it’s important to get away from motherly responsibilities once in a while. There’s just that feeling of “what am I forgetting?” when you are finally free that kills me.
When I was pregnant with Estelle, I faced many, many irrational fears. I was terrified to give birth, I was terrified for anyone to get my baby sick, I was absolutely and completely terrified of letting anyone hold her. That was my biggest fear, letting someone else hold her because I felt that the safest place for her was with me and no one else, even Josh. It was so bad that Josh’s family got tired of hearing about it by the end of my pregnancy and insisted that they would hold their niece, grandchild, etc. and there was nothing I could do. It was a shit feeling, but it was something that I overcame in time. I cried a lot when other people held Estelle, I sat there and watched them like a hawk. If she so much as sighed in discontentment she was scooped out of their arms. The new mom syndrome was real, everyone washed their hands, put on hand sanitizer and did not come within 3 feet if they had so much as a cough. My paranoia got the best of me for a few weeks but eventually it got better.
Eventually when Estelle was able to interact with her environment, I could see how happy she was to see her family. She loved to examine their faces, coo and smile. It was important for her to have the experience of someone else caring for her, because I knew someday I’d have to leave her. My second biggest fear was leaving to go to work. Leaving my six week old baby? Ha! This brought out a new range of emotions, especially anger. I debated quitting my job until they day I had to go back. I researched online jobs, tried my best to find one and failed, so off I went to work a simple three hour shift. Kissing Estelle and Josh goodbye, I got into my car and sobbed. Arriving to work one of my first patients of the day was none other than a mother with her six week old son. Ha, Universe, good one. But I got through it, I made it and here I am.
My next biggest fear is leaving Estelle overnight. I am thankful that the first time I am leaving her she will be with her Dad, who she absolutely adores. Josh knows her routine, her schedule, her likes and dislikes and he can translate her baby speech 95% of the time. I know in my heart that she will be well taken care of, but I know that I will be worried about her the whole time (for selfish reasons). Will she miss me? Will she ask where I am? Will it be hard for her at bedtime, because I have done it every single night? The answer to those questions, I don’t want to know but I will be thinking them.
I justify my leaving for the weekend because I’m going to be learning. I am going to be gaining these skills so that I can come home and take care of my family, better. This coming weekend is going to be a growing experience for all of us.
I am excited to come home on Sunday and sharing what I have learned. I hope I can bring that energy to the rest of my family and maybe even you!