Emotional attachment and lasting association between children and their parents has always been an interesting subject to explore for writers and researchers.
With quickly changing needs and aspirations of people in the modern day world, the genetic bond continues to face new challenges.
Separation anxiety is an issue that working mothers and their young children face more frequently in the times when more and more women go out for work. This can be an emotionally challenging issue to cope with, both for mothers and children even if the kids are left behind in caring hands.
Authored by a Doha-based working woman, See You Soon follows the journey of a little boy and his mother, as she drops him off to nursery and heads to work. Dilraz Kunnummal, a communications professional and Qatar resident for the last six years, has launched the children’s book to help young children and their mothers deal with separation anxiety through positive healthy attachment.
Dilraz is a trained journalist with experience across media platforms including print, television and radio. She has worked with a leading government organisation and currently manages PR, outreach and communications for a leading research institute in Qatar. The author lives with her husband, Sujid and four-year-old son, Ayan.
Sharing her experience of leaving the young boy and going to work, Dilraz said: “It was quite heartbreaking to drop off my two month old to a nursery and head to office, after my maternity leave. Despite being very excited to return to work, I couldn’t help but sit and cry in my car for a bit.” Fortunately, her son was still too young to understand the change at that time. The real challenge was when he had to change nurseries when he was two years old. “Changing the nursery was very difficult for my son; he wanted to be with me, and didn’t want to go to the nursery. At the time, I remember looking for resources to help him cope with the anxiety and we couldn’t find any.”
Unable to find guiding material, Dilraz decided to pen her own experience of parenting and feeling the separation anxiety. She started writing the book in September 2019 and published it recently. “See You Soon, is produced in collaboration with the multicultural parenting platform, Raising World Children, the brainchild of Aditi Wardhan Singh, based in the US. The illustrations are by Illustrations Hub, which has its headquarters in India.”
Being raised in a multicultural environment of Gulf region, it was important for Dilraz to be inclusive and reflect that in her work through illustrations. “I have made sure to have people of different skin tones, ethnicities, religions, and professions. I have included kids with glasses and in wheelchair.”
The working mother has spectacular feelings to see her idea in her hands. “I hope See You Soon can become a useful tool for parents who need to go through similar experiences. There are emotions that both the mother and the son go through. By the end of the book, I feel both will realise that it is okay to be separate. At the end of the day, we are going to be together again. Child knows he is in mom’s heart. The mother knows that she is not abandoning her child. These are the emotions I hope the book will compel. The book is all about reading it together with kids.”
Dilraz has experienced that both the mother and child feel the separation anxiety. “It is heavier for moms when kids are too young to feel the anxiety. When a child is little older, he or she feels it stronger. A mom’s guilt is always there. She asks if it is wrong to go out and leave the young child behind. The guilt is killing and it can mess with your head. The book says that the mothers are not doing something bad and are not abandoning the kids. The book will help overcome the guilt. All the mothers are working, even the moms who stay at home. For me, a good mother is one who puts her children first. For working mothers, it is just a change in the routine.”
Dilraz also underlined the fact that living in Qatar has helped her materialise the idea into the book. “I have been able to find the best nursery in Qatar for my son. Infrastructure for child care is very good here. The social media groups revolving around life and raising kids in Qatar have been very helpful for me.”