I pondered whether I should write this series of posts, and I hesitate still as I type these words. But I figure that I can not be the only mother who has these tumultuous feelings (right?) and that if anything, writing this will be therapeutic and beneficial to this new, confused mother.
As soon as Claire was born and placed on my chest, I wanted to cry. Not because I was so happy to finally meet my daughter. Nor because I was overwhelmed with new mommy feelings of love and attachment. But because I felt like she wasn’t mine.
I had lost a baby prior to having Claire. I had wished and prayed so hard to get pregnant again, and was overjoyed beyond words to see the two lines on the pregnancy test. I had marked each passing day of my pregnancy with anticipation and excitement.
I am so ready to become a mother, I told myself repeatedly. Heck, I already am a mother.
But as I looked down on the little creature that had just made her entrance to this world, I couldn’t help but wonder why I didn’t — why I couldn’t — feel the irrepressible and immediate love described by other mothers. “I loved my baby as soon as I saw him/her,” they had all told me. Why didn’t I feel this way? WHAT WAS WRONG WITH ME???
Later on, I would look on as J held his daughter for the first time, wiping tears from his eyes. “I can’t believe we made her,” he repeated over and over again. “She’s absolutely perfect.”
I wanted to cry once more. I was so touched at my husband’s reaction to Claire’s birth. (Who wouldn’t?) But at the same time, there was no denying that once again, I was asking myself, WHAT IS WRONG WITH ME? because I felt so disconnected from my own daughter.
Claire with her daddy moments after birth
To be continued…
Read the rest of the series:
Motherhood: The Most Difficult Journey Yet (Part 2)
Motherhood: The Most Difficult Journey Yet (Part 3)
Motherhood: The Most Difficult Journey Yet (Part 4)
Motherhood: The Most Difficult Journey Yet (Part 5)
Hey- you're having a totally normal reaction! It's like PTSD or something. I say that with laughter, but I mean it. It's overwhelming, scary, exhausting, shocking, etc etc. Don't put pressure on yourself to feel or act a certain way. Love for children can be instantaneous or it can grow and bloom. Hang in there! It can take awhile to feel like you have a handle on your new life and responsibilities, so everything doesn't have to "click" immediately.
If you're still feeling bluesy after 2-4 weeks, ask your doc to have you fill out a questionnaire to rule out PPD. It's really common and really tough, and women should be supported if they encounter it during an already trying time.
Hang in there! Congrats!
Blog Stalker aka Stephanie aka 9-month-old-twin-mama-who-freaks-the-h**-out -periodically
I don't know how your story ends, but I want you to know that I felt very much the same way when baby T was born. Mr. W was over the moon and I was sitting there feeling overwhelmed, tired, and very very un-emotional. It's ok. It gets better.
Jenny, while I can't understand what you're going through, I super appreciate your willingness to be honest and candid about your first moments of motherhood. I have many friends who have just gone through their own pregnancies and for whatever reason, are always tight-lipped about the whole process (is there some code of secrecy that all new moms are sworn to after giving birth?). As someone who's looked forward to having her own children nearly her entire adult life, I always look forward to your posts and every supposed TMI entry you provide! As for your entry itself, I'm sure there's no reason to fret. Sure, I'm not a mom yet, but I feel that sometimes a role this big requires time to grow into it. My heart is with you, your husband, and your new daughter!
jenny – *HUGS* i hear this is COMPLETELY normal from my other friends! nothing is wrong with you!!!!!! we love you, josiah and little claire and if you should need anything at all, a hug, an ear or just people to hang out with, we are here for you sista.
Normal reaction – not even necessarily PPD. I think a lot of moms say that had that bonding feeling straight away because that's what they're "supposed" to say. But I've heard some mamas say the same thing you are as well. It wasn't that way for me, but we are two different ppl with different experiences! Plus – you were very restless/exhausted your last part of pregnancy, and all of the sudden you just weren't pregnant any more & you're a mom and everything is supposed to change and be dramatically different. It's a LOT to take in and I think the shock lasts longer for some people.
<3 Looking forward to the rest of the series. I love that you're so honest. Hope you're doing well. I've been missing your posts.
It's easier for guys. Seriously. We don't have the hormone dumps and physical trauma that you experienced. Try as we might to be otherwise, we are spectators to everything up until the baby comes out. We get handed a baby without our bodies having gone through hell first. Don't think for a second that you are alone in feeling the way that you do, or that it is abnormal or wrong or weird.
i felt the same way! i'm just starting to bond with him now at 8 weeks. hang in there!
I too felt the exact same way! When my baby was first born, I cried when they put her in my arms–a combination cry from exhaustion, accomplishment, shock, joy, fear… my body, heart and mind were all over the place. as i got discharged, and the days rolled by, i was so overcome with pain, fear, exhaustion, i had the baby blues and was an emotional wreck, and i was so deathly afraid of the fact that i was now a mom and responsible for this baby, and how was i going to do it all and take care of her and the sleepless nights and breastfeeding and how was i going to be a mom, and why was i not feeling that oh-so-i'm-in-complete love with my baby??!! i was so afraid.
well after a couple days, those blues went away thankfully. it did take a couple more weeks for that feeling of bonding with my baby to happen, and it happened little by little. it's especially hard because in the first few weeks, baby has no expression (except crying) and doesn't talk or coo. but it does start kicking in…my baby is 12 weeks today and it's so wonderful to hear her coo and see her smile when she sees you, it's a fantastic feeling!, and i'm still bonding with her, and it's only going to get stronger and stronger.
so don't be alarmed, this is completely natural..alot of moms i talked to about this felt the same way as well!
I concur with the others… Completely normal. The hormones and exhaustion are pretty overwhelming, as are the expectations we have for that moment. Hang in there!!
I just want to say congratulations on your beautiful baby girl!!! I've been reading and enjoying your blog for some time and wanted to say it's ok that you felt that way. I have a 8 month old and I felt the same way you did. I did not have overwhelming feelings of love at first sight when she was born. I felt indifferent. How could I feel that way?? I totally understand you. Don't worry, you will definitely bond with her! It took me probably a good month to feel the way I've heard other mothers feel the very second they first see their baby. Soon, she'll make you cry tears of joy just by giggling! Good luck and congrats again!!
I worry about this everyday for when HUT is born – so, thank you, for writing an honest and open post. I am positive that you are not the first, nor the last, to have these feelings, which means they must be pretty common!
even though I haven't been there, I just want to say that I am very glad that you are sharing your experience with all the realities involved. The after-effects of birth, including crazy hormones and exhaustion, may scare me more than the thought of childbirth itself… and I have not heard this topic discussed much at all. So thank you for your honesty! And I hope that things are improving since those first moments.
Don't be discouraged! Your little one is like a sponge. She soaks up all the goodness you are giving her. But with a squeeze she'll give it all back. I'll be praying!
It can be so hard with a newborn. You want to feel attached but when they are so new they show such little personality and don't give much feedback. I woke up a few hours after giving birth (well, passed out from the drugs they gave me) to the sound of someone's kid screaming. I lay there for a bit wishing its mother would do something about it before I realized it was my baby. It felt like eons before I could hobble my way over to her and the whole time she was all pink with arms and legs flying everywhere. The nurses found me staring at her ……. Don't despair. It does happen. I hope you don't get thrush too.
I have no experience with this, but I just wanted to say that I really appreciate your honesty!!! I look forward to reading part 2 and believe that there are moms out there, good moms, who feel the same way as you. I imagine this could happen for me, as well. My friend Eileen felt the same way and she loves her kids. I think maybe sometimes it takes a little getting used to. Nothing wrong with that. Don't beat yourself up over it. It's probably confusing, but probably not unusual. Hugs.
Oh Jenny, I felt the same way. For weeks I'd stare in the mirror every day at myself holding him wondering whose child that was. The tipping point for me was at 5 weeks when he smiled at me for the first time. Hang in there. It gets better. You're not alone!
Jenny, I just wanted to pop by and see how you're doing. Not to sound like a broken record, but it does get better. I cried as soon as baby Mango came out, but mostly out of complete amazement at what I had just done. It took about a month for me to bond with him, too. Now, when I'm the only one that can calm him down, it's the most amazing feeling in the whole world. He knows me and trusts me, and it's really freakin' cool.
It is hard to love a baby that looks like an alien.