Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Carolyn: How do I get comfortable with the idea of leaving my baby with sitters? Im OK when shes with my husband; anyone else, and Im a wreck. This isnt great for my peace of mind, plus Im sure its VERY annoying for the sitters, as Im calling home practically every half-hour to make sure shes still breathing.
Did I mention shes almost a year old? Ordinarily I dont have an anxiety problem or anything, but I know how un-careful other people are when theyre borrowing other peoples clothes; I cant help but assume the same would apply here.
It doesnt apply here. Well, it does, but only in the sense that you probably dont want to trust your child to someone you cant even trust with your sweater.
Another bit of throat-clearing: Your attempts to ensure that your baby continues breathing introduce a small, needless and rather ironic risk to your child: Those frequent calls dont improve anyones breathing but do take a sitters attention away from your baby.
Last bit of throat-clearing: Non-parents are often more careful with a child than a parent, because the stakes are higher when you mess up on someone elses child.
Finally, an answer to your question: All this depends on whether your anxiety is clinical or just the product of an overactive imagination. The latter can be largely tamed by having your sitter care for your baby when youre home. Really hand over those reins, and see how responsibly, how uneventfully, your baby can be held, fed, changed, read to, rocked. Set up this exercise by saying you have a lot to do around the house and would love a hand with the baby for two or three hours. Act like Im not even here, you will instruct this sitter. Then lie low and stick to the plan.
If that doesnt calm you down, then consider getting screened for anxiety. You might have had it since before you became a mother, and managed it through life adjustments that didnt seem out of the ordinary until Baby came along and overwhelmed your coping mechanisms.
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