I miss him. I miss holding him, feeding him, playing with him.
I love my son and I imagine that I'm no different to any other parent when I say that I hate to be away from him.
I imagine that I'm also no different to any other parent when I say that it is hard to leave him with somebody else... will they look after him properly? Will they hold him how he likes to be held? Can they tell the difference between "I need something" and "I just want to be held right now"?
The reality is that all of us will need to be separated from our children at some point – some for extended periods, and that separation is hard. Even those who express relief at "getting a break" will inadvertantly miss their children on some level.
I mentioned previously that I was due for surgery. That surgery came sooner than expected due to a medical emergency and I find myself sitting in a hospital bed, 45 minutes away from the son I haven't seen in two days, and there is nothing I can do about it.
I miss him. I miss holding him, feeding him, playing with him. Oddly enough, I even miss changing his nappy. He is six weeks old tomorrow and I'm not there to celebrate this important milestone with him, and it hurts.
So how do we, as loving parents, cope with this separation? I've discovered some things that help, and I want to share them with you:
1. Keep photographs and videos close at hand
This helps when you're thinking of your little ones and you just need to see their face.
2. Seek regular updates
It's amazing how quickly a text message can put your mind at ease. Reading about how he puked on Daddy and gave Nana a dirty nappy and that he just finished a feed and has been burped is a great way to feel connected.
3. Talk about him where appropriate
A lot of people like hearing about babies and children, so identify the people who are interested and tell them about the funny faces your baby makes when he is pooping, how old he was when he hit a certain milestone, or what his favourite activity is. It feels a little like he's napping and you're talking to someone while he sleeps.
4. Be kind to yourself
Remind yourself often that you're not away from him by choice, and that you are doing what you need to do in order to provide what he needs. If you're in hospital, remind yourself that you need to be well to be able to look after him. If you're at work, remind yourself that you're earning the money you need to provide what he needs. If you are separated and he is with his other parent, remind yourself that he deserves to spend time with both parents.
It's hard to be away from your child, but it's not forever. In the meantime, do what you have to do without guilt.
Have you been seperated from your child before? What tips would you recommend to help other parents?
I want hours upon hours of delicious sleep followed by hot cups of tea, reading my book and nothingness. But I'll have to get up now to comfort, feed, clean, dress, entertain, love, laugh, play, and repeat.