Busby // Unexpected Separation Anxiety

Separation Anxiety Busby originally started Nursery when she was eight months old; I had to return to work after Maternity Leave, and as much as I hated the thought of leaving her with “strangers”, we didn’t have much choice.

Plus it was only one day a week.

At eight months old, Busby did her fair share of crying and arm stretching for us when we’d leave, but she couldn’t walk, she couldn’t talk, and so the heartache of leaving her was made slightly easier…

Busby on her first day at Nursery in 2013!

Busby on her first day at Nursery in 2013!

In time she grew to love Nursery; she’d get excited every Tuesday morning, she made friends (one very special best friend, who I hope will be a friend for life even if we do live on the other side of the country now), and she thrived in the environment – picking up crawling almost immediately, and generally being the life and soul of the social party, surrounded by little people.

Then, after almost 18 months attending Nursery, we relocated to Yorkshire.

Saying goodbye to her wonderful Nursery was hard; the staff were amazing, and as I’ve said above, she thrived there. I cried actual tears when we said goodbye for the last time… which I could blame on early pregnancy hormones… but in reality, I felt like I was saying goodbye to a huge chunk of her life; a chunk where she had developed from a beautiful baby into an intelligent, feisty, independent little girl.

Busby has been away from a Nursery environment for around seven months now while we lived with my in-laws; waiting for our house purchase to go through. I didn’t want to settle her in a new Nursery in West Yorkshire, only to whip her out again in a few months to one in East Yorkshire – there’s been enough change in her little life recently! And Nick’s parents were more than happy to take her to a Toddler group one day a week so I could get some work done.

However, this has meant that I have spent almost all day, every day with her now for seven months, and something I didn’t anticipate when she had her Nursery taster session last week was the heart-wrenching pain I would feel saying goodbye to her (if only for 30 minutes!) and the extreme guilt for leaving her in an unknown environment, surrounded by people she’s never met before. I honestly thought I’d be fine, and that I’d relish the opportunity to be able to eat biscuits without hiding in the kitchen…

Nor did I anticipate the tears… which was foolish really, considering how emotional I’ve been during this pregnancy!

On her way to her Nursery Taster Session

On her way to her Nursery Taster Session

Another situation I didn’t anticipate was that she might not be happy leaving me… and that she can now communicate these fears! When I picked her up from the taster session she was a bundle of tears; I took her out for lunch and she spent the whole time cuddled up to me on the sofa repeating “I love you Mummy” If that wasn’t hard enough on my (already highly) sensitive disposition, when I asked her what was wrong and why she hadn’t enjoyed Nursery, she said: “You left me, Mummy. You went away. I want you to come to Nursery with me. I love you, Mummy. Don’t go away. Nursery is yucky and pooey.”


So Nick and I talked that evening. We agreed that it’s good for both of us (Busby and I) that she attends Nursery, if just for the social skills and preparation for school (*big sob*), and the time for me to be able to work and, rather imminently, the alone time with Master Peppercorn. Originally, we had discussed upping her hours and sending her for two mornings and a full day, but in the end I felt uncomfortable with her being away for so long, so we’ve reduced her hours, with a view to increasing them once she’s settled… and if I feel like I need that time.

As I write this, Busby is at her first full morning at Nursery. Nick dropped her off (and had very admirably got her super excited about it!), and I’m due to pick her up at lunch.

I never thought that I’d feel this level of separation anxiety with Busby again, but wowza, Motherhood really gets you by the heart and squeezes doesn’t it?? I’m going to be the shell of a woman by the time she starts school…

Ps. I know this is a bit of a mind-dump, ramble post, but I felt I needed to just sit here and offload before I started working today.

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  1. 4th June 2015 / 8:28 am

    Oh my goodness Hannah, this must be so hard! Even though you know it’s the right thing for both of you. I’m sure she’ll gett used to it amazingly quickly though and make new friends xxx

  2. 4th June 2015 / 9:45 am

    I really feel for you both. We are going through a patch of separation anxiety with M at the moment, and that’s before our big move! He will stay at home with me for a while until we find a new nursery for him, which he hasn’t done since he was 7.5 months old… I’m so full of anxiety myself too, and I can’t help but wonder whether he’s picking up on that. Or maybe it’s the age – they are still so little and yet have so many new and complex feelings to contend with, including the anticipation of a new baby (in your case) or a move (in our case). I don’t really know how to deal with it, but the good thing is that they are now at the age where they can start to express how the feel. Maybe that is enough – encouraging them to talk about it, making them feel heard, giving them (and us) time to adjust… Maybe! Sorry, I’m rambling too!

  3. 4th June 2015 / 12:55 pm

    Oh bless her! Toby has been going to nursery full time for nearly a year now and he still cries most days when I leave him. I know he’s fine a few minutes (sometimes even seconds) later but it doesn’t make it any easier. Some days are easier than others though and as long as we know they’re enjoying it and getting lots from the experience then it makes that moment of leaving a little bit less traumatic! (Pregnancy really doesn’t help though – I’ve lost count of the number of times I’ve sat in the car in tears after dropping Toby off this year!) I’m sure Busby will get to love her new nursery just as much as her old one soon enough.

  4. 7th June 2015 / 9:40 pm

    Oh Hannah, I’m going through a similar struggle with my littlest who’s just a month younger than Busby. It’s been a bit of a struggle lately. I was planning to put him in nursery for a day or two a week in September but have decided to keep him at home instead. I’m going to look for a local play school or activities that I can go along to too. It’s not easy, is it? x

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