Pregnancy

There’s Nothing Wrong With You If You Aren’t Overcome With Love After You Give Birth

By  | 

bonding-with-baby

Every pregnant woman has heard the anecdotes – Laying eyes on your child for the first time is the most amazing thing ever! It’s like being hit by a thunderbolt of love! You’re suddenly aware you’ve never loved anything so much! Nope. I didn’t feel that way at all. Not after the birth of either of my children.

After the birth of my first child, I was convinced there was something wrong with me. Where was the immediate mom-bond everyone loves to brag about? I believed Ricki Lake, and decided I was broken and unable to bond with my child because he was sliced from my womb. Has everyone seen The Business Of Being Born? There’s that scene where the French doctor explains monkeys in the wild will reject their young when they are cut from their body and not delivered ‘naturally.’ I bought it hook, line and sinker, because what else could it possibly be? Literally every mom I’d ever met went on and on about that  feeling of “love at first sight.” Even my own mother. I’d had my child sliced from my womb, and now I was the monkey.

Wrong. The depression from my c-section and inability to immediately bond with my child was one of the things that drove me to start writing about parenting. And once I started sharing my story on my blog, I found out a lot of women don’t immediately bond with their babies – not just women who have had a surgical birth. I’m not sure why – maybe it was some intricate hormone cocktail that my body was just not able to create. Maybe I was really freaked out that an actual human just emerged from my body. Maybe the the shakes I had from the epidural were causing me to freak out a little. Maybe that immediate bond thing just doesn’t happen for all women. And that’s okay.

I’m not in any way comparing this to postpartum depression,** or postpartum psychosis or any other very serious medical thing that can happen to a woman after she gives birth. I didn’t have postpartum depression; I had a depression brought on by the pressure I put on myself to have a natural birth and my inability to not be in the moment when my child was born.

In retrospect it’s clear that “being in the moment” after the birth of your child is one of the hardest fucking things in the world. Whether you have experienced a surgical birth or a non-surgical birth – your body has just experienced a trauma. I know everyone insists childbirth is “the most natural thing in the world,” but guess what? It can also be incredibly disarming and scary, especially if you are on an operating table, awake, while someone is pulling a human from your body. I’ve heard having one emerge from your vagina is also not the most relaxing thing in the world.

Yes, giving birth is a “natural” experience. It can also be scary as hell and completely discombobulating. If you are not struck by a freight train of mom-love as soon as a tiny human emerges from your body – don’t worry. It happens to a lot of women. It’s totally normal. Those feelings of love will eventually wash over you. You are not a bad mom.

**If you are experiencing depression that leaves you unable to care for yourself or your baby or that you feel you may need help dealing with, Katherine Stone has amazing resources for mothers on her blog, Postpartum Progress.

76 Comments

  1. anonymous

    May 1, 2014 at 3:08 pm

    What if it’s three years later, is something wrong then? I just… yeah. It’s depressing.

    • whiteroses

      May 1, 2014 at 3:24 pm

      Three years, three months, same thing. Talk to someone! You’re not alone.

    • Angela

      May 1, 2014 at 4:18 pm

      You’re not alone! I actually have two good friends who’ve confided to me that this has happened with them. One of them found that she was really unhappy being a SAHM and has been doing much better now that she’s got a job (even though she makes less than they spend on childcare). The other one has a child who is very difficult and their personalities clash, plus she has some depression. For her counseling and meds have really been helpful.

      Also, it’s pretty normal to have certain phases that you plain just don’t like. I really, really struggle with the toddler phase and find kids so much more enjoyable to be around after they hit age 5 or so. A lot of parents really dislike the baby phase too. It could be that you’re just geared to like older kids more which is okay. Whatever it is I definitely recommend talking to a professional if for no other reason but to give you a safe place to air this out. Good luck!

  2. jess

    May 1, 2014 at 3:09 pm

    i had an unplanned csection, and only the vaguest memories of him coming out. then woke up the next day wondering where the baby was, what he looked like and how i would know if he was mine. i was definitely not overcome with loving feelings, but decided to take the ‘fake it till you make it’ approach and it came several weeks later!

    • Harriet Meadow

      May 1, 2014 at 4:32 pm

      I had a c-section after a long and difficult labor, and the first day afterwards I was totally out of it and had an oxygen mask on because my blood pressure had tanked after the surgery. I barely remember seeing my son for the first time or the moment when they put him on my chest and he started suckling…and two weeks later I was sobbing with guilt because I didn’t feel that overwhelming love for him and I “don’t enjoy being a mom” (I told my husband that and he was totally floored and didn’t know what to do about it). But after three weeks I started to feel it. I guess it just took a while for the hormones to balance out and for us to get the hang of breastfeeding, etc. for me to finally start feeling it. And now…oh boy, I sure do I love this little boy!!!!

    • jess

      May 1, 2014 at 5:17 pm

      i had the same conversation with my husband, he was actually really worried about it. i think all the difficulties we had breastfeeding really didnt help

    • Harriet Meadow

      May 1, 2014 at 7:35 pm

      Yeah, we had a really hard time breastfeeding, so I felt like every day all I did was struggle with him at the breast for hours and hours punctuated with hours and hours of pumping. It was NOT fun.

    • Airbones

      May 1, 2014 at 5:20 pm

      I also said the same to my husband.

    • Amber Leigh Wood

      May 1, 2014 at 6:40 pm

      I went through something similar, my partner got handed my son first, and held him while I was being stitched up, I didn’t feel that connection. A few days later I broke down and said to my partner “you love him more then me, what’s wrong with me” he just seemed so in awe of him and I kinda felt meh. Obviously now that he’s getting big I love him and totally miss the baby stage!

    • BethAZ1987

      May 2, 2014 at 8:57 am

      Okay, I’m not a mom yet, but I assume that I won’t enjoy the first couple of weeks either. I hope my husband won’t be surprised by it. Your last few months of pregnancy were probably uncomfortable, labor/delivery is traumatic, and then you’re totally sleep deprived, trying to guess why this alien creature is wailing all day, and learning how to feed and care for it. It’s overwhelming, and not in an “oh goodie!” kind of way. I assume that after I get the hang of it, I’ll enjoy it, but not at first.

  3. Guinevere

    May 1, 2014 at 3:15 pm

    Agreed. I was gutted as a last resort (after a 10 year obsession with “Spiritual Midwifery,” etc., hence: devastated), and I later found out that the nurses at the hospital called my OB repeatedly out of concern that I wasn’t “bonding”. Thank God he stood up for me and I was able to take my baby home. Sorry that I couldn’t fit their definition of “bonding,” but I’m totally in love with my almost-9-month old now.

    • itpainsme2say

      May 1, 2014 at 5:07 pm

      Wait they wouldn’t have let you take your child home because of something as obscure as bonding

  4. Bexley

    May 1, 2014 at 3:43 pm

    I really wish people would talk about this more. My baby wasn’t born by caesarean but still in theatre with forceps and I didn’t feel anything but shock for the whole of that day. I don’t think I really felt anything. About 12 hours after she was born I just had this though of “shit, I’ve got a baby”. The next day when I got to take her home I was crying before we even left the hospital because I was scared to leave the safety of the midwives. I definitely felt like a failure because I couldn’t give birth to her without assistance and I think those thoughts overwhelming me really didn’t help me bond. All I concentrated on for those first few months was that I was a failure as a woman. It even plagues me now 14 months on. The love didn’t hit me at first like people say it does and I waited for the day that I would get a sudden rush but it didn’t happen. My love for her grew over time and even now it grows every day. I suppose I knew I loved her but because I didn’t get that feeling I felt like I wasn’t the same as everyone else and something was wrong with me just to add to my feelings of failure. I’m sure there must be more people out there who feel this way but don’t say anything for fearing what people will say but it’d help people to know that they’re not the only ones feeling like this because it certainly makes you feel isolated.

  5. Guest

    May 1, 2014 at 3:52 pm

    This is especially true if you are welcoming a baby after infertility and/or pregnancy or child loss. Having a child in your home doesn’t “cure” loss or infertility – the loss and the grief and the experiences are still there and still real. Love is something that takes time, and all that soft-lit woo about Mommies bonding instantly with babies can be really depressing if you don’t.

    • AbethS

      May 1, 2014 at 4:02 pm

      THIS SO MUCH. When I finally got pregnant after two miscarriages and a bout of infertility, I waited and waited for that magical, mysterious feeling. I didn’t bond with my bump at all (in fact, I hated being pregnant and that just made me feel worse after what we went through to get there) and I was holding out for the love-at-first sight magic. That didn’t happen either, and I felt like maybe I wasn’t supposed to be a mother. It took about a month to really connect with my baby. Talk about guilt and shame! It’s so important to speak up and be honest about those feelings, and I’m glad this is a place to do that.

    • educationist

      May 1, 2014 at 11:49 pm

      Thank you for saying this. I’m currently (unexpectedly) pregnant with my first child after two and a half years of infertility. While I’m extremely happy to finally be pregnant and to know that my husband and I will get to be parents soon, I sometimes feel a kind of disconnect from my pregnancy. I just don’t find that I ever feel particularly anything about it … it just is. The hardest part for me lately has been conjuring up anything more than a shrug and a “yeah” when people ask me if I’m excited. Even my husband seems bothered by my lack of emotion about it all. I suppose I expected to be more sentimental (or something) about this pregnancy than I am, but I’m glad to know I’m not the only one.

    • BethAZ1987

      May 2, 2014 at 8:48 am

      This is exactly how I feel about being pregnant – it just is. And I hate how everyone says “Aren’t you EXCITED?”, with this look of expectation on their face. I also shrug and give an unconvincing “I guess”. I knew this would happen – I don’t get overtly excited about *anything* in life, really, and I am certainly not the “OMB BABY!!” type – and I told my husband that I feared people would think I’m going to be a horrible mother just because I’m not bouncing up and down with joy over it all. Luckily, he’s the same way, and he gets it. But there’s a different level of expectation put on women, and it sucks.

    • Lucy

      May 5, 2014 at 5:29 pm

      Another infertility mama here who had trouble bonding with pregnancy. I lost an embryo, I bled, I was not convinced that I would even have a baby out of the pregnancy. I liked being pregnant, but I was sure as heck not going to bond with something I didn’t believe could happen. It wasn’t until shortly before my son was born that I had confidence in my pregnancy and could feel excited about his arrival.

  6. Angela

    May 1, 2014 at 3:57 pm

    Yes! My experience was sooooo similar to yours. I also had a C-section and while I wouldn’t be surprised if that was a contributing factor I think there was a lot more to it. I think that for me I was just so in shock about the fact that “OMG I’m someone’s mother now!” that I just couldn’t really wrap my head around it. It took me about a month before I actually started to feel like a mom instead of a permanent babysitter. With my second son it was completely different even though he was also a C-section baby. I felt instantly connected to him and settled right into being his mom. My sister had almost the exact same experience (took awhile to bond with her first but right away with babies 2 and 3) and she delivered vaginally for all of them.

    More importantly though is that it DOESN’T REALLY MATTER! Yes, it was nice to feel that instant bond with my second baby and it made those first few weeks a lot easier, but a couple years later it makes no difference whatsoever. Ultimately I bonded with both my children. The fact that it happened quicker with my second doesn’t make me feel any less attached to my oldest child today. I love both of my children. End of story.

  7. tangerine

    May 1, 2014 at 4:01 pm

    I didn’t feel “overcome with love” the instant my son was born, either. I couldn’t stop shaking all over and all I could think was, “That just came out of my crotch!” It was surreal.

    • Shannon

      May 1, 2014 at 4:03 pm

      That’s how I felt, too. It was just bizarre that one minute I was pregnant, and the next there was a screaming, tiny baby that looked like an old man covered in vernix and blood in front of me. I was in shock for the first few hours.

    • FormerlyKnownAsWendy

      May 1, 2014 at 5:25 pm

      Me too. And I don’t think it’s necessarily a c-section thing because I experienced this with both kids, and I didn’t have surgery. My second kid, all I could think was, THIS KID IS HUGE! Where did that gigantic creature come from? That ain’t mine.They put him in my arms and I’m giving him the side eye….”Did you really just…come out of me?” I mean, I had seen him being born, so I don’t know why I was kind of puzzled! Love was not instantaneous with either kid; it’s good to hear I’m not the only one.

  8. Jallun-Keatres

    May 1, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    I was a little like this with MK. It took me a few weeks to get head over heels IN LOVE with her. Mine was because I had 2 pregnancy losses so I didn’t allow myself to get “too attached” and it took a while for the shock of actually being pregnant to wear off and my baby become truly real.

  9. lucie uk

    May 1, 2014 at 4:02 pm

    THIS! determined to have water birth and minimal intervention, they found my son was breech at 12 days prior to due date. Hence next day c section. I didn’t even go down the brave route – I am tiny and just wanted a healthy baby. But I didn’t get ‘the rush’. I have always been practical, and there was this baby that needed care. So I did my best to feed, bathe, etc.my first maternal feelings were at about 4 days old. When I gave him a kiss on temple – then I smack bang gone 🙂 to any expectant mum – don’t beat up on yourself. Do your best and that rush will come – whether immediate, at 4 days, or whatever. And totally getting the spinal anaesthetic shakes – I shuddered and shook for about an hour!

  10. Shannon

    May 1, 2014 at 4:06 pm

    Postpartum progress just about saved my life. It spelled out, in black and white, all of the feelings I was having. Which made me feel like I wouldn’t have my child taken away, because there was a diagnosis and hundreds of thousands of women that had gone through the same feelings that I was TERRIFIED to admit to myself and to a doctor.

    I admit it. I didn’t really like my baby much for awhile I felt a strange caveman sense of duty to protect her, but I didn’t like her for probably the first 5 or 6 months. Maybe even longer.

  11. Emily Wight

    May 1, 2014 at 4:09 pm

    My first thought was, “Oh, shit,” because I felt like the whole labour thing kind of took over the day and when they handed me the little guy I was just like, “uh, I actually didn’t totally see this coming? What do I do now?” Some days I’m still really confused about how all this happened.

  12. Butt Trophy Recipient

    May 1, 2014 at 4:10 pm

    You’re not alone Maria. I remember when I was born, I went through that too.

  13. SA

    May 1, 2014 at 4:12 pm

    I labored in a tub, vaginal birth, yada yada….NOPE no immediate love. I was kind of skeptical about the immediate love to begin with. People would talk about being ‘in love’ with their baby while pregnant and it just didn’t make any sense to me. I was excited to be pregnant, I was excited to meet her, but I didn’t know the first thing about her so I didn’t feel that love.

    I definitely wanted her. Wanted to protect her. Didn’t really want others to hold her for too long that first night, wanted her back, but that seemed more primal to me.

    Love took a while. I fell in love with her, it wasn’t love at first sight. And now can’t imagine possibly loving anyone more!

    • Nica

      May 1, 2014 at 4:34 pm

      Same here – had a normal, uneventful vaginal birth, but I was so exhausted (hadn’t slept for almost 24 hours by the time he was actually born), uncomfortable (third degree tear) and, honestly, really scared, that the love just wasn’t flowin’. Add in breastfeeding difficulties, jaundice, weight loss and all the stress that goes along with it and I was left wondering if I’d made the biggest mistake of my life (it took years and multiple rounds of IVF to have this child) for a couple of months. That said, once my hormones got back into whack about three months later, things got a LOT better.
      Fast forward now almost five years and I just can’t even remotely imagine life without this sweet, wonderful, quirky, adorable little soul that came into our family.
      Heck, things got so good, I even went and had a 2nd child two years ago.The experiences were like night and day. I was so much less nervous the 2nd time around that I was much more easily able to focus on him and me. I also recovered from the birth at warp speed and had a kiddo who took to bf’ing like a champ from the get-go, which helped matters a lot.
      I think women really need to be more honest about this. Nobody talks about it and it’s a real thing.

    • Nicole

      May 1, 2014 at 6:16 pm

      You are writing that straight from my brain! I’m 39 weeks with my first and when I hear of women who gush about how in love they are with their baby already, I just don’t get it.

    • KarenMS

      May 1, 2014 at 11:27 pm

      Yes! I wanted her. I can’t even remember what the love situation was those first weeks (she was in NICU) but I remember the wanting. Great way to put it.

    • hbc

      May 2, 2014 at 8:29 am

      So much agreement on the “in love with my invisible kid” thing. I try not to be judgmental, but when people declare themselves in love with the baby the second the line pops up on the stick, I’m like, you know nothing about that kid. He or she could have horns, there could be three of them, anything.

      I don’t find that kind of love inspiring, either. You’re either in love with replicating yourself, or the *idea* of a kid. When you love the way his eyebrows form a tilde when he frowns, or that she’ll try to pet a snarling, foaming dog but run screaming from a guy in a dog costume, you love the actual person.

    • SA

      May 2, 2014 at 12:06 pm

      haha! They could have horns, there could be 3 of them…love it.

  14. Guets

    May 1, 2014 at 4:23 pm

    This was a huge problem for my friend who thought either she was a bad mother or something was just wrong after she had her second kid and didn’t bond immediately. She was crazy over the first baby and had the in love deal immediately. I think each time is different and sometimes these things take time. Thankfully she stopped stressing about it and now the kid is coming up on 1yr and she loves her to pieces just like her sister.

  15. Joye77

    May 1, 2014 at 4:31 pm

    During my first pregnancy I watched enough of those birth stories on discovery health to expect that I would immediately look at my baby and cry tears of joy. Nope didn’t happen, and not with any of the other two either. Right after birth I was just thrilled that the process was over and the only feeling that overwhelmed me was exhaustion.

  16. Andrea

    May 1, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    Well I wasn’t the monkey, but I still didn’t fall instantly in love either. I as exhausted after a never ending labor experience and all I wanted was sweet sweet sweet sleep. And I remember thinking I wasn’t going to get it either because here was this baby that won’t let me.
    Luckily one cool ass nurse took one look at me and told me baby had to go to the nursery for a few hours because [insert bogus medical reason that relieved my guilt over wanting sleep over bonding with baby] and they will bring him as soon as he needed to eat.

    • raeronola

      May 1, 2014 at 4:54 pm

      All I felt was terror. Like holy shit, what did we DO?!?

    • Andrea

      May 1, 2014 at 6:39 pm

      Right there with you.

    • Maria Guido

      May 1, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      Nurses that do that are THE BEST.

    • Maria Guido

      May 1, 2014 at 8:45 pm

      Nurses that do that are THE BEST.

  17. LiteBrite

    May 1, 2014 at 4:39 pm

    I had a C-Section, and I didn’t immediately feel that instant love I was supposed to feel. However, I didn’t think of it being due to a C-Section; I just thought there was something wrong with ME. I would’ve done anything to protect him (and would have been devastated if something happened to him), but that crying-tears-of-joy-oh-my-God-it’s-the-most-precious-thing-ever love? I’ll be honest, I didn’t feel that. In fact, I felt sort of distanced from him for the first few days. It wasn’t until I got home from the hospital (days later) that I started to feel that bond.

  18. K.

    May 1, 2014 at 4:46 pm

    Really, I think women should just allow the experience of seeing your child be what it is. Just have an experience.

  19. maxfab

    May 1, 2014 at 6:20 pm

    Thanks for posting this.
    I gave birth to my preemie twins via c-section and didn’t see them until a few hours later and didn’t hold them until about 24 hours after they were born. And I had a really hard time bonding with them. It wasn’t til they were about 7 months old and their father threatened to take them away from me that I really felt active love for them…before that I was really concerned about making them feel loved, without actually feeling much for them myself (God, I’m mortified just typing this).
    I also went back to that monkey analogy from The Business of Being Born (I think there should be a law that you can’t watch that movie while you’re pregnant) and felt like I was defective because of it. And it’s so sad that no one really talks about it because all around you everyone is talking about this love like they’ve never felt before and I’m like…yeah, I could’ve had a V8.
    Anyway. Thanks for sharing. Nice to know that I’m not alone!

    • Maria Guido

      May 1, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      Yeah – part of me believes that movie is really important – the other part is like, “Fuck you guys.”

    • Andrea

      May 2, 2014 at 7:19 am

      You are right. The issue is that the message is sorta worth sharing (that we should be aware of ALL our options), but it is done in such a condescending asshole-y way that it just makes you rage.

    • Maria Guido

      May 1, 2014 at 8:44 pm

      Yeah – part of me believes that movie is really important – the other part is like, “Fuck you guys.”

    • Grr! Arrgh!

      May 1, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      I actually hurled something at the TV when that guy came on. I had already been giving that movie some serious side-eye but when he pulled that monkey shit – I just yelled at the TV, “On behalf of all fathers, all adoptive parents, and all extended families who, I guess can never REALLY love their children, FUCK YOU sideways with a cheese grater, you mysogyinst French asshole!”

      Then again, I have serious problems with that movie. I have no problem with unmedicated birth or home birth and definately think women should understand all of their options. But for a movie that supposedly exposed the medical establishment’s practice of treating women as if they were too stupid to understand birth and make the right choices, they spent a hell of a lot of time working off the premise that women who don’t choose unmedicated home birth don’t really understand birth and are too ignorant to make the right choices.

    • maxfab

      May 1, 2014 at 9:13 pm

      This comment wins everything! For a movie that I assume was meant to make women empowered it did a really spectacular job of making people feel sh!tty and wrong.

    • Grr! Arrgh!

      May 1, 2014 at 9:09 pm

      I actually hurled something at the TV when that guy came on. I had already been giving that movie some serious side-eye but when he pulled that monkey shit – I just yelled at the TV, “On behalf of all fathers, all adoptive parents, and all extended families who, I guess can never REALLY love their children, FUCK YOU sideways with a cheese grater, you mysogyinst French asshole!”

      Then again, I have serious problems with that movie. I have no problem with unmedicated birth or home birth and definately think women should understand all of their options. But for a movie that supposedly exposed the medical establishment’s practice of treating women as if they were too stupid to understand birth and make the right choices, they spent a hell of a lot of time working off the premise that women who don’t choose unmedicated home birth don’t really understand birth and are too ignorant to make the right choices.

  20. MamaLia138

    May 1, 2014 at 6:37 pm

    Yes! I had my son came out face up, with forceps. He also has the cord wrapped around his neck twice and was covered with poop. Yep. His first blowout was inside my uterus. I also suffered from a fourth degree tear. I got to hold him for about 1 minute before his arrival to the special care nursery but AFTER his color returned from purple to pink and while my OB was sewing my Humpty-Dumpty vag back together again. I was still in stirrups, in pain, nauseated, and confused. I was thinking: What. The. Fuck. I was happy to see he was OK. But lemme tell ya I was not ok. I have a picture of that one minute the first time I held him. I’m smiling. I’m pretty damn sure that was a look of utter shock. I love my son to pieces but I did NOT have that instantaneous love. Glad I’m not alone!

    • Maria Guido

      May 1, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      Wow! You went through a hell of a lot!

    • Maria Guido

      May 1, 2014 at 8:43 pm

      Wow! You went through a hell of a lot!

    • jendra_berri

      May 1, 2014 at 8:52 pm

      Jesus Christ. That sounds terrible! No, I wouldn’t think a person could be overcome by much of anything at that point except exactly that: What.The.Fuck.

    • Ansy

      May 2, 2014 at 1:18 am

      My baby also came out covered in poo with the cord wrapped round his neck. He also wasn’t breathing and needed to be resuscitated. I was already not with it thanks to the pain, and then all these people rushed in to the room and were working on bubs and on me, and frankly I was in a state of shock. He was in the special care unit for the first 3 days of his life. Add to that issues with breastfeeding over the following weeks and it’s safe to say that bonding was… delayed…

  21. Williwaw

    May 1, 2014 at 7:06 pm

    When my gargantuan son was born after ~18 hours of labour followed by an unplanned c-section, my first thought was “I am so goddamn happy not to be pregnant any more”. My second thought was “Oh, shit, what have I done? I’m not mature enough to raise a child! What if I screw up?” (I was 41 when I had my kid, so that seems sort of funny in hindsight.) At first, I really was just worried about taking care of him, to the point of obsessiveness (e.g., checking on him 8 or 10 times a night to be sure he was still breathing)…but now I adore him (though I am still really happy about not being pregnant anymore, and still tend to check on him if I wake during the night.

  22. jendra_berri

    May 1, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    I thought there was something wrong with me too. C section here. Watched Business Of Being Born too. Was all about natural birth. Felt… nothing. Felt scared and unable to handle my new role. Wanted to not be a mother, actually. Hormone dip coupled with exhaustion really nailed me.
    My 13-month-old is now a joy and light of my life. Love that little pumpkin.

  23. jendra_berri

    May 1, 2014 at 8:58 pm

    I thought there was something wrong with me too. C section here. Watched Business Of Being Born too. Was all about natural birth. Felt… nothing. Felt scared and unable to handle my new role. Wanted to not be a mother, actually. Hormone dip coupled with exhaustion really nailed me.
    My 13-month-old is now a joy and light of my life. Love that little pumpkin.

  24. aheb

    May 1, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    I had two drug free vaginal births. (I’m not tough, just fast.) What no one tells you is that it doesn’t stop hurting the second the kid pops out. So while you’ve got that slimy baby on your chest that you’re supposed to be all in love with…you still have to push out a placenta, maybe get stitched up, shake uncontrollably, and deal with your uterus squeezing down like he’ll so you don’t lose all the blood in your body. Seriously, those after cramps were worse than most of my contractions the second time around. When they put my son on me I remember thinking, ”can somebody else take him for a minute, I’m kinda not done here.” Of course I didn’t say that.

    • Andrea

      May 2, 2014 at 7:17 am

      You know, I went through delivery twice and I had completely forgotten the immediate aftermath until you mentioned it just now!! LOL, I guess we do need to have selective memory!! Everything you said is true.
      But they didn’t give me the baby right away. I remember when I was being “dealt with” (stitching, placentaing, etc) the baby was being washed up and looked at and then they gave him to my mother because my husband said he was shaking too badly to hold him and wanted to stand by me until I was ok first. Thanks for the memory aheb because I had completely forgotten all of that!

  25. aheb

    May 1, 2014 at 9:12 pm

    I had two drug free vaginal births. (I’m not tough, just fast.) What no one tells you is that it doesn’t stop hurting the second the kid pops out. So while you’ve got that slimy baby on your chest that you’re supposed to be all in love with…you still have to push out a placenta, maybe get stitched up, shake uncontrollably, and deal with your uterus squeezing down like he’ll so you don’t lose all the blood in your body. Seriously, those after cramps were worse than most of my contractions the second time around. When they put my son on me I remember thinking, ”can somebody else take him for a minute, I’m kinda not done here.” Of course I didn’t say that.

  26. Justme

    May 1, 2014 at 9:29 pm

    I experienced this as well and I thought that it was due to my c-section, but after the fog of PPD cleared and I was able to see pregnancy, birth and motherhood in a better light, I realize that it’s just my personality. I DON’T make friends easily – I find it easy to be friendly, but not necessarily confide in people as close confidantes. I only call a very small and select group of people friends and that’s because those relationships have been built and nurtured over several years.

    I think this personality trait applied to my relationship with my daughter – when she was first born, I didn’t KNOW her so it was difficult to feel that strong bond between the two of us. I remember telling my husband that I felt more connected to my beloved dog (see my Avatar for an adorable reference) than I did our newborn daughter. Being my husband, he said matter-of-factly, “well, that’s because you’ve known A. longer than N.” Duh. I hadn’t thought of it that way because I bought into the “love at first sight” myth instead of factoring in my natural inclination towards building bonds slowly over time and through experiences.

    Now…three years later, she is rolling around on my back and I lay tummy-down on the living room floor while watching a little ‘Punzel before bedtime. I just got done teaching her “crack an egg on your head, let the yolk run down” after a bit of “airplane” time. I’d say our bond is pretty well secure, despite all my initial fears.

  27. Grr! Arrgh!

    May 1, 2014 at 9:59 pm

    I’m so glad someone (my mom) actually told me about this before hand. Birth was, well, birth. Objectively it was pretty easy: quick but not precipitous, relatively pain free (speaking only for myself, my epidural was MAGIC and I want build a shrine to the man who invented it), and I felt well-cared for and as secure as I could for most of it. We did have a complication at the end and some scary minutes, but I trusted my medical team to take care of me, we both came out healthy, and I didn’t feel traumatized by it. I assume almost all births have at least a few scary minutes of one type or another anyway, even it it’s only existential dread.

    But when it was over, my husband and I were left to care for this fragile, helpless, screaming ball of need with almost no experience and nearly on our own. Suddenly we were parents, and it was surreal, and terrifying, and frustrating, and completely one-sided, and exhausting. I loved my daughter from the beginning, I felt deeply responsible for her well-being, if, in the split second after she emerged, someone had tried to hurt her, I would have leapt out of my hospital bed though I was completely numb from the waist down and tried to kill them with my bare hands. But I didn’t look at her and feel thunderstruck.

    Luckily my mom had told me weeks earlier that not everyone feels that right away. She told me I was essentially meeting a stranger and reminded me that love grows. She pointed out that I certainly hadn’t loved my husband the first time I met him, but had grown to love him over the years until I couldn’t imagined loving any man more. So while I agonized and freaked out about so much stuff in the early days, I didn’t worry about love. I knew she was my daughter, that we had the rest of our lives to get to know each other, and I was confident those feelings of being “in love” would come. And just like with my husband, it did, creeping in a little bit more every day until, after a few weeks when things began to settle down, I looked at her one morning and just the sight of her nearly sent me to my knees with the enormity of my love for her. Some days, my heart literally aches with how much I love her – just like my mom said.

    • Teale

      May 2, 2014 at 6:40 am

      A day or so after my baby was born I remember wondering if I would be able to walk out of the hospital without her. Not because I wanted to leave her, I just wondered if I could because I hadn’t felt that instant bond so many people talk about. Thankfully my mum had also told me while I was pregnant that the love isn’t always instant, but you will love her more and more every single day.

      I totally agree with wanting to protect her instantly but I wasn’t sure if it was because she was *MY* baby or because she was this tiny helpless thing and anyone that wanted to hurt her would be a monster.

  28. procashmoney

    May 1, 2014 at 10:57 pm

    Push Button Downline System

    Rakes In $20 OVER AND OVER

    It’s Happening Multiple Times Per Day!

    100% FREE!http://ezinternetpaydays.com/procashmoney

  29. C.J.

    May 1, 2014 at 11:39 pm

    I think people like to embellish how wonderful the experience of bringing a child in to the world is. Then when a new mom realizes it isn’t all sunshine and roses they feel like there is something wrong with them. Before I had my kids I refused to read any parenting or pregnancy books other than What To Expect While You Are Expecting. I already kinda knew what was in that one because my best friend was 6 month further along than me and she had it. I didn’t think much about how I was supposed to feel right after birth before giving birth or after they were born. I tried not to have many expectations for what first time parenting would be like. For my first the memories that are most clear to me are when they put my daughter on my stomach I looked at her and thought oh my God it is huge (10 lbs 9 oz), I didn’t know she was a girl yet. I remember the look of amazement on my husbands face. The nurses thought he was going to faint, he was just really happy and amazed. It was kinda funny. I remember thinking I was in shock. For my younger one I don’t even remember if they put her on my stomach or not, I don’t think they did. I was too busy haemorrhaging. I remember trying to get a glimpse of her as the nurses were cleaning her up. I remember the nurse trying to get the I.V. to run faster to stop the bleeding, the doctor trying to stop the bleeding and the feeling of the blood rushing out. I very clearly remember looking up at my mom and saying I was bleeding too much and her holding my hand and rubbing my head with a panicked look on her face while trying to appear calm. Child birth sucks and moms need a few minutes to deal with that before trying to deal with baby. I really don’t remember exactly how I felt about the babies when they were born but that doesn’t change how much I love them know. If any first time pregnant moms read this I would just like to say try not to be too hard on yourself. Just take it as it comes and trust that you will be a good mom that loves your child. You probably won’t remember half of the delivery eventually anyway. My kids are 11 and almost 9 and their deliveries are very foggy in my memory.

  30. Jayamama

    May 2, 2014 at 12:52 am

    I had two drug-free, vaginal home births — about as “natural” as you can get. And I still didn’t bond with my babies for a while after they were born. The midwife handed me this, wrinkly, greyish, screaming, squirming blob with a weird shaped head, and I was supposed to fall madly in love? I didn’t know this person. I knew in my head that I loved her, but I had no lovey dovey feelings for a while.

    If you ask me now, I’d look at my perfect little two-year-old and five-month-old daughters and tell you that yes, I am wildly in love with them. More in love with them than with anyone in the world besides my husband. But I don’t believe love at first sight exists, even with babies. Love takes time and familiarity to form, and children are no different.

    • Jayamama

      May 2, 2014 at 12:57 am

      One more thought to add to this: I had nursing difficulties with birth girls. My first caused so much pain (and actual physical damage to my nipple) the first two weeks because of a bad latch that I dreaded each session and resented her for being hungry. It sometimes took close to an hour to get her to latch because we were both crying so much. My second started out well, but started needing to feed every 30 to 45 minutes around the three month mark because my supply was dropping. By sheer luck, I figured out that she had an upper lip tie and was unable to stimulate the breast enough. After we got that snipped, it took another month before we were back to where we used to be. It’s really hard to bond with anyone who is causing so much pain or being so demanding. But we made it.

    • SA

      May 2, 2014 at 12:04 pm

      I had nursing issues too which I do think affected my bond. It wasn’t in the hospital where it started so I don’t think it was the only reason, but I definitely did not even want to be in the same room with her at times because I knew she would smell the milk and I’d have to nurse again. She would nurse for 3-6 hours and then be ready 45 minutes to an hour later. It was hard.

  31. EX

    May 2, 2014 at 4:28 am

    Just want to thank you for sharing your story. When I had my older daughter I felt instantly bonded with her but I had read stories like yours so I knew that was not always the case and I’m so glad I had read those stories because when my second daughter was born I did not bond with her immediately. I’m not sure why (I think it’s all pretty complicated but part of it may have been feeling guilty about bringing someone into the family who would take attention away from my older daughter) but I am sooo glad that you and people like you have shared your stories because it helped me to not freak out when it happened to me. So, thanks!

  32. a_narwhal

    May 2, 2014 at 12:48 pm

    I had a c-section in the morning and I think that I was in shock (and so full of drugs) because I didn’t feel anything for him until at some point in the night, I forced myself to kiss our new tiny human and that was the exact moment when I fell in love with him. It didn’t me take days, weeks or months but it definitely was not immediate like is so often shown the media…

  33. Jenna

    May 2, 2014 at 12:52 pm

    I didn’t feel that instant connection either. I was just going through the motions. It took me months to bond with her and now I love her more than ever.

  34. Katie

    May 2, 2014 at 5:01 pm

    I read a pregnancy/new mom book by a psychologist that addressed this topic and I just knew I would be one of those people who didn’t have the love at first sight experience. I had a fairly uneventful birth that progressed quickly (after induction and some rockin back labor) and unfortunately couldn’t hold my daughter immediately because she had passed meconium and had to get the once over.

    I remember after everything settled down thinking that it felt like I had just participated in some weird experiment and that if the researchers came into my room and said “Thanks so much for your participation in this whole pregnancy experiment, we’ll be taking the baby now” I would have been like, “Yeah, that’s cool.” I felt pretty bad for thinking that I wouldn’t feel much differently if we left without her….of course I certainly felt an obligation to care for her.

    Then after we were home my husband would say how much he loved her, and I would just smile because I didn’t feel it yet. Like others have mentioned, I didn’t know her! She’s almost a year now and I can just look at her picture and know I love her, but I do wish every single portrayal of birth in books, movies, TV wasn’t love at first sight rainbows and butterflies.

  35. gothicgaelicgirl

    May 3, 2014 at 7:37 am

    lol my mom demanded sushi the second I was out and ate it while holding me.
    She then told me my dad- keep her for about 8 hours, i need sleep.
    Nurses weren’t impressed, thought she was a bad mom (she was 19 too, so prejudices) but my dad knew right away she’d be no good help to anyone if she was semi-conscious for three days!

  36. Pingback: Sex After Pregnancy - It's Totally Normal To Not Be Into It

  37. Heather B.

    September 17, 2014 at 10:27 pm

    C-section. Low birthweight baby. I didn’t get to hold my son for a while because he was whisked away to the NICU. But we had already begun the bonding process really intentionally during pregnancy by regularly reading a week-by-week development book. It is truly amazing to track the miracle that is taking place. It really made a difference for me even after birth, and it was great for my husband, too. Now, there
    are a lot of great books and blogs out there to serve this purpose, but the one
    I’m reading now blows all the others away, and it’s great for every pregnancy,
    not just the first. Not only does it have even more development details than
    usual, and personalized, it has a section in it where you can journal or write
    letters to baby. It’s called “The Wonder Within You: celebrating your baby’s journey from conception to birth” by Carey Wickersham. It’s an awesome combination of week-to-week information, what’s going on with the baby, “Did you know?” plus health advice about what to eat, cravings, nutrition, etc, BUT also with awesome 3D/4D pictures and videos you can link or QR with your phone to and see what your baby looks like at each
    week stage. I’ve just not seen anything exactly like it! It’s got famous quotes and real mom stories, too. The pregnancy information is as up-to-date as it gets and it’s such a great keepsake. I want to get one for everybody I know who is expecting! I highly recommend it! http://www.TheWonderWithinYou.com.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *