Not being able to bond with their baby is a mother's very worst nightmare. I don't like to dwell too much on it, to be honest because it scares the living daylight out of me. But it's best to be educated about why and how it happens.
Bonding is one of those insanely heated topics. Wherever you go, there are opinions to be had and fights to spy on. ( I say spy on because I have made the decision I won't be getting into any pregnancy debates online.)
There are some cruel, insensitive souls who have been capable of reducing mothers to tears. It wouldn't come as a surprise to discover that hundreds of mothers have kept quiet, fearing what someone might say.
If you find that you are struggling with bonding issues, remember there are many reasons you might be feeling the way you are, including postpartum depression. And, just because you happen to feel this way now, doesn't mean that you will feel it forever.
But there are also plenty of moms who have decided that putting their truths out there, in spite of bullies, is worth it. You are about to meet a few of them.
15 Relieved She's Leaving!
My heart dropped when I read about the experience of mom TheOtherElizabeth, who suffered with postpartum depression, and is struggling to develop a loving bond with her daughter...who is almost nine. She says that having a child was the biggest mistake of her life.
"DD (dear daughter) is almost 9 and I still have a hard time connecting with her. DH (dear husband) wants to leave me and take her and all I can think of is "What a relief!" I'm not relieved because DH (dear husband) is leaving, I don't want that! I am relieved that DD (dear daughter) will no longer be with me. I had PPD (postpartum depression) and PP (previous poster) anxiety really badly when she was born and the PPD (postpartum depression) has never gone away."
14 She's Not What I Wanted
For most moms, the love that they feel for their child is unconditional. But for mothers who struggle to feel love, mentioning it would be like walking over a mine field. One mother wanted to open up about her problems with bonding and to protect herself, used the pseudonym Jennifer Rabiner.
"As you can probably imagine, I felt guilty that I was basically repelled by my own child. Who wouldn't? But honestly, the guilt was overshadowed by a colossal sense of disappointment.
This just wasn't the magic mother - daughter bond that every book I read, every movie I saw, and every family I'd ever met had led me to expect. Growing up, I had hoped to someday have a daughter, and I had a clear vision of what she would be like: vivacious, spunky, and whip-smart, socially savvy and self-assured. What I got was the polar opposite."
13 She Makes Me Sick To My Stomach
KamiKate didn't have it easy with motherhood from the beginning. She'd vomit every day, ending up in hospital because she was incapable of holding water down. The delivery was complicated and the pregnancy in itself was a result of sexual abuse from a boyfriend.
"Unfortunately, I had to keep her. I say this because she looks just like the man who [attacked], beat, and abused me so badly I still have nightmares about him strangling me to death. I don't abuse her. I take care of her. Bathe, feed, clothe, and diaper her.
But holding her or even looking at her makes me sick to my stomach because I see the monster inside her. Every day, I resent her more. But I can't give her away because my family is attached to her. So I am stuck with this strange creature who looks like my worst nightmare.".
12 "Will I Ever Love Him?"
I can only imagine the tremendous amount of guilt and heartache and despair that must be felt by a mom who is unable to bond with their baby. One annoymous mother took to the NetMums forum in a desperate attempt to get some advice.
"I am really worried about the fact that I have no bond with my beautiful baby boy. I look at him and I just see a baby. I don't feel like he is mine and looking after him every day makes my really sad and tearful.
My friends all talk about feeling this amazing love for their new babies and I don't have this amazing feeling and I don't know why - what is wrong with me? When will I fall in love with him? I feel so guilty about feeling this way and I don't know what to do about it."
11 I Prefer The Boys
While is isn't exactly the same thing as mommy bonding, I believe my grandmother bonded more with me than with my siblings. Naturally I feel an element of guilt whenever I read about one child being loved more than another. Forum user StepOneTwo has a 4 year old daughter and two younger twin boys, and she's concerned she may never have actually bonded with her first born.
"I wonder if I have ever bonded with my daughter. I seem to be so much more natural, forgiving, affectionate around my sons .... with my daughter I am harsh and critical and expect so much of her because she is the eldest. It's ridiculous as she's only 4 years old.
I know I am doing it, I can see that I am damaging my daughter's confidence every time I tell her off. I am overly critical about normal 4 year old behaviour."
10 I Just Do What I'm Supposed To
Having had a long history of depression, I'm really hoping that when I have my baby next year, my mental health will give me a break. Another anonymous mom opened up on the internet, confessing to some things that actually made wince.
"Me and my fiancé planned for this baby, she is 3 months old now but she has been nothing but a disappointment since the day she was born. I just don't enjoy taking care of her. Don't get me wrong - I don't want to harm her or myself, I would never do that. I don't hate her.
I just don't feel any love towards her. I do all the things I'm supposed to - I feed her, I change her, I bath her, I hold her when she cries - she is never neglected, and I don't enjoy a single second of it.
9 She's Not A Person
I have heard countless moms saying that babies are boring. That they can't wait until they can walk and talk and eat real food. I've always felt a bit shocked - and saddened in this instances, thinking to myself, 'but it's a magical time!
They're growing and changing and learning every single day!' But I suppose until I have my own, I can't really say anything... Dovakhiin_Girl3 didn't like her girl until she turned into 'an actual person.'
"Three months is the worst age. Truly. I didn't start to like my daughter until she started turning into an actual person and less of a screaming blob that was constantly attached to me. It will get better. Around 5 months+ you'll see an amazing difference, and it just gets better from there."
8 Having A Baby Was Horrible
Having a baby changes your life. Forever. There are no two ways about it. Now, while some moms actively despise the first year or so of their child's life, once they become a toddler, everything changes again, and usually for the better, as with TurkProof.
"Having a baby was a horrible, thankless, awful ordeal that turned my life upside down and ruined my relationships and forever changed my body and my personality -- and I had a NORMAL and HEALTHY baby.
But you know what... having a toddler is awesome. Sure, it's hard, but there are actual moments of total joy and pride that absolutely make up for it. You might not be a nurturing person. That's fine. You know what? Very, very few people are. But when you get a chance to be a parent and guide, and not just a Liquids Management Operator, you just might shine."
7 Is Undying Love Real?
While I don't agree with forum user Varnit that 'babies suck,' I do agree that every individual will bond with their baby differently. And that there is no one size fits all bonding system.
I didn't have that undying love for her that everyone says you're supposed to feel, and I simply wanted my old life back. And then I felt like a horrible person for not wanting my baby. Everyone bonds with their baby differently and at different rates, so give yourself some time.
This is a very hard age and you're surviving right now. Honestly, babies suck. They're no fun and demand all your attention while giving nothing back. For a glimmer of hope, I now have more love for my little 16 month old than I even knew possible. She's so fun and I couldn't imagine life without her now."
6 I Felt Nothing
Every child will bring an entirely different experience, and this includes how you will feel towards the little one. Honkey_Cat took to the internet to admit something she'd never admitted about her offspring.
"I have three children. I bonded with kid #1 immediately. When kid #2 was born (kid #1 was 21 months old), I felt...nothing. He was probably 18 months old before that motherly wash of emotions hit me - and he is still the greatest thing ever. Kid #3 I loved from before birth.
I have no idea why it is different, they are all wonderful kids, but hormones, man. Don't beat yourself up, give yourself time. And also know that if you ever decide to have another, it may be a totally different experience. There was absolutely no reason that I shouldn't have felt exactly the same way each time my babies were born, I just didn't."
5 I'd Prefer An Imaginary One
It might come as a surprise - though it might also be a relief - but as many as one in five mothers discover that they are unable to bond with their baby. Sarah's son Joe was 18 months old when his mother thought 'I don't know who you are and I don't know what to do with you.'
"Joe arrived five weeks early, so perhaps I didn't make the transition from having an imaginary baby to having a real one. When I got home, my midwife said, "I'm not surprised he was early; you were very stressed." Which wasn't true – I was just busy and had only finished work six days before. That comment sat there, and it was a condemnation of my ability to be a good mother."
4 Just Take Her!
Jessica already had two children when she gave birth to her daughter Daisy. And from the moment the little girl was born, Jessica wanted her out of her sight.
"I remember saying to the doctors, 'Can you hurry up – cut this cord and take her from me, please!' I held her for a few minutes but I was in a lot of physical discomfort and just wanted to have a shower and escape because she wouldn't stop screaming. I looked at her and thought, 'She's really ugly.' I'd never felt that with my other babies and those feelings stayed for several weeks.
I didn't love her like I did the others, so I overcompensated by breast-feeding on the hour. At one point I said, "If she were never to wake up again I wouldn't be too worried because at least I'd be able to sleep."
3 Adoption Would Have Been Better
It's a sad state of affairs when someone wishes their mother had put them up for adoption instead of keeping them. That was the situation with Chris0509, who took to the internet to try and understand when some mothers don't like their children and to share her story.
My mom adores children, she had my brother and I. My mom loves my brother but she does not like me from day 1. My mom detests everything about me, even as a child she hated that I was a difficult baby.
My mom and I are polar opposites. She is strong and domineering. I am sensitive, creative, yet at the same time I am an eccentric and outspoken. So I don’t think that the issue of not liking one’s own child is directly related not having the desire to have children in the first place. My mom wanted kids,…just not me."
2 I Wanted To Get Rid Of Her
I hope, I really hope that I will feel that flood of unconditional love when my baby arrives into the world. Sadly, for Ruth Hagin, she didn't experience that overwhelming, beautiful feeling. The love she had expected to feel for her baby Sandra just didn't come. Instead she felt angry, resentful and full of loathing.
"When Sandra cried, I’m ashamed to say I shouted at her,’ Ruth recalls. ‘I used to pace our flat visualising ways of getting rid of her. I hesitate to say this, but I felt my life would be so much better if she wasn’t here.
Sandra was a beautiful baby. When my friends and family said: “Isn’t she gorgeous?” I smiled, but said nothing. How could I admit that I deeply resented — even hated — this perfect baby? I felt like a monster, the worst mother in the world."
1 I Didn't Want To Hold Him
If you're reading this, and you have yet to bond, it's okay. You and this new little person have just met and it can take time. This is what one young mom wants other moms to know.
"I was so happy he made it into this world safely and so far he was healthy and perfect, but I was scared. I remember the nurse asking me if I wanted to hold him and I said no. There are zero photos of me holding my son in that delivery room.
I was terrified. Could I do this? I had no choice. While it was scary, it really forced me to connect with my son. I had no one else to rely on but myself. I slowly learned how to become a mom and with that led me to fall more and more in love with my son every day."
Sources: BabyCenter.com, DailyMail.co.uk, HuffingtonPost.com, RedBookMag.com, Telegraph.co.uk, SimplyRealMoms.com