Hello everyone! I'm relatively new to MCD having joined a few years ago but not posting too much. I have spent more time reading the posts of others but now I feel I really need some advice! This July I have to go away to summer school as part of my masters degree. It's four hours away from my home. I have a 2 1/2 year old son an have agonized for months over how to handle this. I still breastfeed him and don't really want to stop but because of the plan we have recently decided on it looks like it may lead to the end of our nursing relationship. The current plan we have is that I will be gone for the week days and then come home on the weekends for the whole month. I feel quite scared about the separation anxiety I know I will experience with being away from him for 5 days at a time. The longest I've been away from him is 24 hours and that just happened last night and it was very hard .I pumped a few times but I'm not sure if I'll be able to maintain my milk supply as it's not huge anymore and I think a few days of just pumping could do it in. I'm sure if I "practice" this a number of times before July comes that it may be slightly easier, but 5 days at a time seems huge and not only am I worried about my own emotions and stress levels but also my son and how we will handle this separation. We've been very attached since his birth and I don't know if I'm ready for this kind of separation.
We've considered other plans like having him come with me and hiring a babysitter to have him during the day when I'm in classes. This is possible but would cost some extra money and my husband feels that it would be yet another example of how I am (in his mind) too attached and not willing to break away from our son. My husband wants the opportunity to have more time and responsibility in our son's care, especially at night (I have always been the night time parent and still nurse at night).
I am torn in many directions - wanting let go and give my husband the opportunity he want........thinking that I could possibly benefit from the separation as it would help me feel like I am not always 100% Mom.......feeling like my son may not be ready for this kind of separation and I don't want to hurt him.......wanting to make the "right" decision despite the fact that at this time I can't possibly know the outcome of each option.......not wanting to be stressed out of my mind because my son is not with me while needing to be very focused on school for the month.....knowing that weaning is going to be emotional for me as just thinking about it brings tears to my eyes and I feel sad.....it goes on and on.
Can anyone offer any advice about how to deal with a decision like this? I want to do what is best for all of us. I am scared of the anxiety and stress I could experience if I choose to leave my son at home, and how my son could not be ready for this separation, but I'm also scared of making a choice that keeps me stuck in a bit of a rut, not allowing my husband to be the parent he want to be for our son. If I left my son at home and everything went perfectly we could all end up benefiting hugely. I know I brought up a lot of issues in this post and I'm sorry if it's confusing. The bottom line is, to take the risk of a separation that could result in some big positives or some big negatives, or to choose what I would call a safer path but not necessarily better (although it could be if my son is really not ready for this or if I am not really ready for this).
I would be very grateful to hear from anyone who has had to be away from their toddler without being totally ready, or just anyone who could offer advice about how to make this difficult decision. Thanks for making it to the end of my long post!!