Our son was 9 weeks old when we both left him for the first time. It was my husband’s birthday and being a chef, he’s a big foodie. He loves going to the Michelin star restaurants and he fully immerses himself in the food and yes, he photographs everything! We would be just over an hour away at L’Ortolan and we would be away for 4 hours. Our son would stay at home with his paternal grandmother.
The restaurant had been booked for months, waaay before our son was born. I have of course had time on my own away from the little man every week since he was about 5 weeks old and he has been with daddy but this was the first time we were both leaving him and it made me feel sick.
Before I gave birth I assumed I would be absolutely dying to get some time alone with my husband and away from the baby. This was not the case at all. I was so anxious the night before that I was physically ill. What if we were in car accident and our son grew up without us? What if he screamed the whole time? What if it was too soon? What if I just couldn’t bring myself to do it?
Morning arrived and I made a real effort to do my hair and put make up on. The knot in my stomach getting tighter and tighter. I even put a dress on. The hardest part was leaving the house – once we were on the road I felt better but I was uneasy well into the third course.
We ended up having a really nice lunch and chat. It was strange being us again because for the last 9 weeks every moment had been based on our baby and what he needed. We made a concerted effort to speak about us as people and not just as parents but don’t be surprised if this is harder than you remember.
Even though our son was perfectly fine and didn’t even know we had left (probably), in hindsight I would have waited until he was 12 weeks old for the full shebang. I would have started out a little more gentle and maybe popped out for a coffee in our town first before 4 hours over an hour away! That being said, I probably needed the shove to normalise being physically unattached to our infant child.
My top tips for leaving your baby for the first time;
- Go at your pace. If you’re only comfortable at 8 months or a year – so be it.
- Have a trial run on a smaller scale so you can gauge how you feel.
- Make an effort, it will make you feel like you empowered.
- Be honest about how you feel, if it comes to the moment you need to leave and your gut is telling you its too soon – trust yourself.
- Know that your baby will not feel abandoned or be permanently damaged by you leaving him/her as much as your heart tells you otherwise!
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