Expecting a child is celebrated as an exciting, sacred event of creating another human life. Praise, adoration, and pampering are thrown on expectant women. The radiant glow of soon-to-be mothers reveals how happy and blessed they feel during this special time.
It’s common to hear a mom-to-be express how she already loves the baby she has yet to meet and can’t wait to hold her baby in her arms. She may daydream about what her baby will look like, how wonderful motherhood will be, and how she can’t wait to see her partner be a parent. Or if this isn’t her first child, she may be enjoying seeing her other children get excited for a new sibling. There is so much she is joyful about.
But this is not the story for every expectant woman. There are many moms who secretly hate their unborn children. Such a woman may feel ashamed about it or scared to admit it for fear of backlash, especially if she’s not sure why she feels this way. She may be feeling depressed and heavy with guilt because of the situation, but she doesn’t know what to do about it.
The truth is, it is more common than most people think and it doesn’t mean these women are bad mothers. All it means is they are human, so there’s no need for external or internal judgment. Let’s explore the reasons why a woman may hate her unborn child and what she can do to manage and, hopefully, overcome these very real and heavy emotions.
15 Unplanned & Unwanted Conception
One of the most common reasons for resentment is that the baby was not planned. This can happen to anyone, and some women are able to welcome and adjust to the surprise. For some, the fact that the conception not only was not planned but is also not wanted makes it all the worse. These women were not expecting to be expecting and are more than disappointed now to find out that they are. There can be quite a few reasons why the baby was neither planned nor wanted.
- The mother is a teenager.
- The mother is a career woman.
- The mother had a one-night stand.
- The mother isn’t ready for parenthood or has no desire to ever be a mom.
- The mother doesn’t like the father of the baby.
Let’s take a closer look at each situation and how expectant mothers can achieve a positive outcome under each of these circumstances.
14 What To Do When There's Body Issues
Communication with your provider and other health experts is necessary to ensure the best health care. Don’t be afraid to share your concerns or seek second opinions. Make sure you feel heard and are treated respectfully. For minor issues, you may also want to consult a chiropractor or naturopath.
Keep in mind that most of these changes are only temporary and you will get your body back. The ones that stay don’t need to be problematic. Instead of seeing them as undesirable traits that prevent you from meeting unrealistic beauty standards set by the media, see them as wonderful reminders of what your body, mind, and spirit are capable of.
You grew and nourished life! You made it through pregnancy and labor! You are powerful and strong! Embrace your new body; don’t let it keep you from doing the things you love. Your value and worth don’t come from what you look like and what others think about your body.
13 Teen Mom Issues
If you’re a teen mom, it’s very easy to understand why you may harbor resentment toward the baby. Even if you wanted to be a mom someday, this was not the time in your life when you wanted it to happen, and maybe this wasn’t the person you wanted to have it happen with either.
You have to suffer from all the judgment and scorn of your peers and strangers—and perhaps from yourself as well. You may be angry at yourself for not being more careful. Now you have to change your plans for the future to accommodate motherhood. You may feel out of control and unsure of how your life will unfold. Even if you choose to give the baby to another family, the emotions usually last beyond the adoption date. And if you choose an open adoption, the child will still have a presence in your life.
What to Do
If you don’t have a supportive family, start with your school or a health clinic. Either can help you find a counselor and/or support group for teen moms to help you sort through your feelings and make healthy choices regarding the future.
You can learn about ways to continue your education, develop parenting skills, find work and day care, or look into adoption. With the right resources and support system, you can be a very successful teen mom, whether you do the parenting or not. Your life may have taken a different turn, but it can offer you a chance to mature in important ways.
Although you may be pressured to, don’t jump right into marriage with your boyfriend. It can be more harmful than helpful if the marriage only lasts a short while. This is a heavy decision that should take into consideration factors such as the character of the father and the strength of your relationship.
12 One-Night Stand
If the pregnancy is the result of a one-night stand, you may feel upset that you are left to care for this baby alone if the father is unwilling to help, or that you have to share custody with a man you hardly know or don’t like.
It can be frustrating if you don’t know who the father is and can’t get financial support from him or tell your child about his or her dad. Maybe you were in a relationship with someone else at the time of conception, so this pregnancy also serves as a reminder of your indiscretion.
What to Do
Therapy, whether you go individually or as a couple, can help you work through your feelings of anger, guilt, depression, etc. There are many resources for parents to assist you in this difficult transition to unplanned parenthood and with legal aspects such as custody and child support.
11 Career Woman Issues
Were you rising in your career only to be promoted unexpectedly to motherhood? Now you may have concerns not only about the upward path of your career but also if you will even have your job once you return from maternity leave. It’s no secret maternity leave in most workplaces is not sufficient or carried out fairly.
What to Do
The most important thing to do is to learn your rights. Make sure your employer is following the rules concerning maternity leave, pumping at work if applicable, and respectful treatment before and after the baby comes. Thoroughly record any instances of violations in case you need to take legal action.
The choice whether or not to continue working is yours. Look at all your options, such as:
- Staying with your current job full-time or changing to part-time
- Taking a new, more accommodating job full-time or part-time
- Working from home
- Not working at all
If you decide to still work, do your research on daycares to ensure the best care and highest safety for your little one.
10 Not Ready For Or Wanting Motherhood
Perhaps you wanted to be a mom someday but not right now, yet motherhood has been thrust into your lap (or womb, rather). You may be worried about the upcoming changes because you aren’t prepared for them. You may be feeling great anxiety, pressure, or inadequacy due to the circumstances. Naturally, this can add stress and resentment, making handling pregnancy all the more difficult.
These feelings are all the more amplified if you never wanted to have children at all. Motherhood wasn’t in your life plan or even the backup plan, but now it’s here, and it’s changing everything and so quickly. Nine months may not feel like enough time to adjust to your new life and prepare for something you thought you’d never have to worry about. The giant wave of immediate changes in your life can feel so overwhelming that you feel paralyzed, preventing you from taking helpful action.
What to Do
First, pinpoint what it is that makes you feel you aren’t ready or willing to be a mother so you can do your best to prepare for and navigate life as a parent. Do you have a mental health illness? Talk to your doctor about medications that are safe to take during pregnancy, and breastfeeding if that’s in your plan. Set up a postpartum support team to relieve you as you recover from birth and deal with postpartum depression.
Do you feel clueless as to how to parent? Get resources from someone whose parenting you respect. A good place to start is with Dr. Sears. Are you worried about your freedom? Ask a friend, family member, partner, or babysitter to help once a week so you can still engage in self-care and adult interaction. You can’t be a good mother if you don’t take care of your own emotional needs. Just be sure to find a balance.
9 Not Into Him Anymore
You may find that your resentment toward being pregnant comes from your resentment toward the baby’s father. Maybe he is abusive, or maybe you were ending your relationship when the pregnancy happened. The internal kicks are reminders of him and that this baby shares half of his DNA. You may also worry about having to share the baby with him if he wants to remain involved in his child’s life.
What to Do
Counseling is vital here, especially if you were abused or raped. You don’t want to take your negative emotions out on the baby. It’s important to remember that although genes are shared, this little life is a unique person.
Even if he or she looks or behaves like the father, your child is a separate individual who is just as influenced by nurture as by nature. With the right tools, you can help your child learn how to manage inherited behaviors, diseases, addictions, etc. This is an opportunity to end the cycle.
8 Volatile Relationship
Pregnancy surprisingly can cause more than just changes to your body and health, it can also dramatically shift the family dynamic and home life for women who are already living in a volatile relationship.
It’s no surprise, then, that men who beat their wives may become increasingly violent after their significant other reveals her pregnancy, which in turn may be why she may hate her unborn child, whether or not the pregnancy was planned or wanted.
In this situation some women look at either hiding their pregnancy or ending it.
If you find yourself in this situation, you may experience any or all of the above combined with this pregnancy, and it can feel even more burdening. If you feel strong enough, you can leave your spouse or boyfriend without worrying about how you'll manage because there are women's shelters that specialize in helping women in this situation so you can enjoy being pregnant and look forward to having the baby—or at the very least, survive with your sanity intact.
7 Desire To Regain Body
Whether or not you enjoy being pregnant, there’s no denying it takes a toll on your body. You experience numerous bodily changes throughout pregnancy. These may include:
- Nausea and sensitivity to certain smells
- Weight gain and stretch marks
- Loss of balance and coordination
- Hair growth in unwanted places
- Gas and other digestive issues
- Bodily fluids leaking from various body parts
- Hot flashes
You may also develop medical issues, such as gestational diabetes or preeclampsia. All of the discomfort, pain, illnesses, prenatal tests, and medications can lead you to hate the baby for making your body go through hell. This can be especially true if you didn’t want to get pregnant and have a hard time seeing all this as worth it in the end. It’s not easy to sacrifice your own comfort and health for another person. Sacrificing usually is a permanent part of motherhood, too.
6 Desire To Regain Peace
Being pregnant affects not only your physical health but your mental and emotional health as well. You may experience memory loss, depression, anxiety, meltdowns over minor issues, and mood swings. Your friends and family may not know how to react to your unstable emotions, causing you to feel misunderstood or alone.
What to Do
Meditation is a great resource for managing thoughts and emotions. It’s not what you think it is either. It’s about being mindful and in tune with yourself in a compassionate and nonjudgmental way. You don’t need to be Buddhist or do yoga in order to practice meditation. It only takes 30 minutes or less to complete but has long-lasting results that affect all areas of your life. You can find free courses and guided meditations online and through apps.
Other activities that can bring relaxation and peace include:
- Spiritual practices
- Girls’ nights out
5 Lack Of Sleep
Like many people, you may turn into a whole different person when you’re sleep deprived. You may have crazy thoughts and intense mood swings. It’s worse if you work or have other kids to care for. It also aggravates the physical and emotional problems you’re already dealing with.
What to Do
There are many ways to improve your quantity and quality of sleep. Buy a pregnancy body pillow to increase comfort. Make your room a relaxing, welcoming environment. Nap whenever possible. If no opportunities arise, ask for help with kids or housework so you can rest.
Change your bedtime routine. Go to bed as soon as you feel sleepy, avoid screen time, and don’t drink lots of water before bed. Relax your body and mind by listening to calming music or having your partner give you a massage. If nothing is working, talk to your doctor about safe sleep aids.
4 Resistance To Change
Another reason for your resentment could be that you don’t like change, no matter what it is. It’s not necessarily specific to being pregnant. You may feel a loss of control in every important area of your life: your health, finances, family, work, etc. It may take you time to accept and adjust to change, and until then, you only feel miserable instead of joyful over being pregnant. It can ruin this special time if you planned for this child.
What to Do
It’s important that you learn how to surrender. You probably have some unhealthy views about powerlessness, instability, and imperfection that are preventing you from enjoying your life to the fullest and from reducing your stress level. Therapy, meditation, and support groups can help you reach this goal. You might as well begin now in learning how to adapt because parenthood is a constant barrage of changes.
3 There Is Hope
If you are so overwhelmed and ashamed of your emotions, know that there is hope for you. Many women who have been in your shoes have revealed that their feelings went away once the baby was born. Some had the “love at first sight” experience that wiped away all their anguish. Others gradually came to love their babies. The difficult time became a memory of personal growth.
Some of it also has to do with your hormones. Once your hormones return to normal and oxytocin kicks in, you will find yourself bonding naturally. If you’re not a baby person, remember that this period of life won’t last forever. Your child will grow up quickly, and you may find yourself liking your child at an older age better.
If you’re still having trouble, talk to your provider. It could be postpartum depression. You may need to continue therapy to see if something from your past is contributing to your resentment. Don’t give up. There is peace and joy ahead.
2 Fear Of Labor
If you’re scared of labor, you’re not alone. It’s completely normal. During women’s pregnancies, everyone loves to share their horror stories of birth, or you may come across them in the news or on social media. There is so much about labor that can’t be predicted or controlled.
You probably wonder what you’ll face and how it will all turn out. You may doubt your own ability to endure the process. Maybe you even have conflicting emotions about how you’ll feel if things go wrong. Perhaps you’re just worried about how future pregnancies or your body will be affected by giving birth. All of this can cause you to be extremely anxious about going into labor.
The uncertainty, powerlessness, pain, and potential complications can contribute to your hatred for the baby. Even women who’ve already had children can still be scared or resentful, including those who had a positive experience, because every pregnancy and baby are unique.
1 What To Do When There's A Fear Of Labor
The good news is there is still much you can control about labor. They key is to get educated and prepare thoroughly. Take a birthing class immediately to start the physical and mental preparation now. Then take another class closer to your due date for review and new information.
It can be a good idea to different methods, such as Bradley or Hypnobabies, to get a well-rounded perspective and find the right fit for you.
It’s also wise to create a birth plan outlining your wishes and backup plans for labor. Put together a support team of people you trust, such as your partner or mother and a doula, to assist and advocate for you. Research hospitals and providers to find the ones with the best health care and customer service. If you or the baby has medical problems, follow your care plan to ensure the best outcome for both of you.