Let's talk about something not many parents talk about: not bonding with baby.
There's a huge misconception out there that mothers and fathers are "supposed" to bond with their baby as soon as it's born. After all, a woman has spent nine months growing that little life, shouldn't she be excited to meet it? But that's not always how it works. Sometimes new moms and dads look down at this crying infant and feel nothing.
There's no feeling of "I would do anything for this little baby" or "this child is my entire life." Instead, it's more along the lines of "How did I get myself into this situation?"
These emotions are not to be judged, however. It may be common to feel a bond with a newborn but some parents just don't feel the same way – and there is nothing strange about that. Each parent has their own journey. The most important thing about feeling these dark thoughts is to express them; that's the only way a parent can begin to release some steam. Whether it's complaining to a spouse, a parent, or into the dark holes of the Internet, parents have to come through for each other and talk about their experiences — just as these 20 women did.
Some moms claim their differences in labor are due to their personalities; some are just more upbeat and positive than others (extroverts, if you will). But other moms don't really believe personality has anything to do with it.
After this Reddit momma said "I never bonded with her. I don't even like to be around her anymore. I admit I am an introvert, and I know I'm not coping well with zero alone time," many fellow moms argued that this wasn't based on being an introvert. She was most likely going through a chemical imbalance and needed to talk to a professional ASAP.
"I love my boys so much at every age but I can admit they are sometimes annoying. I've had to tell them I need a day off from hearing about the same super cool kid thing they talk about incessantly, at times."
I don't know about you, but I like this mom! She's honest, she's to the point... And most importantly, she's the same way to her sons.
She's not going to pretend to care all the time; by the sound of her story, it seems she would go crazy if she did.
I think her refreshing honesty will help her be the mother that she was destined to be.
The thought of someone being completely dependent on you for EVERYTHING is horrifying. Not just financially, but how does one dish out life advice when they're not sure about life themselves?
"I feel like, for me, a lot of the resentment comes from knowing that this little person is going to be totally dependent on you for the next decade & a half or so. Especially with my four-year-old, I feel like we're kind of reaching a point where she's gaining more independence, and I am reflecting more on what my life used to be, but we still have such a long way to go."
There are some people out there who really enjoy the company of kids. They love running around with them, teaching them new things in nature, helping them with homework...
Then again, some people have never been into the whole 'kid' thing. Maybe hanging out with more independent and mature people (adults) was more their speed.
"Personally I can't wait until our kids are older and can speak to us on a more adult level. I was not even a 'kids' person when I was a kid myself. I often related better to adults and preferred to talk to them. I don't enjoy the cutesy sing-song games or the various young child activities. I do love our sons very much, and I love hugging them and seeing them be kids, but I don't spend a lot of time talking to them or playing with them either."
This one mother took her story to Reddit, looking for some guidance: "I loathe motherhood, and I massively regret it," she said. After years of being one-on-one with her husband and traveling all over the world, a new baby threw a wrench in things.
"I regretted it the moment my son came wailing into the world. Immediately. I had no sense of bonding, and I was irritated that I was now completely at his service."
This mom's story was flooded with positive responses from those who felt similarly, but those feelings eventually faded as time went on.
While some moms are cooing and cuddling their babies – excited to spend every waking hour with them, other moms are wondering how they're going to survive until dinner.
"I completely forgot how regretful I was the first couple years. The first three are [expletive] miserable, or were for me. Age 4, I fell completely in love. I adore 4 and 5 year olds. Didn't know it until I had one."
Some new parents forget that this crying, fussy stage only lasts so long before their kids start forming their own personalities, and can become more independent.
One of the things most moms miss while staying at home alone all day with a kid, is adult conversation.
They miss adult TV shows, discussions, and let's say a few happy hours.
Being at home with a kid is a whole different ball game.
"I really do hope I am just not a baby person or a toddler person. I love my son very much, but I truly don't see how anyone could overall enjoy the day to day life with a 2yo? I feel like I'm missing something. How do other people like this?" This mom continued saying that she knows she'll eventually enjoy parenthood, but the infant stage gives her anxiety.
What happens when a couple feels differently about parenthood? When a husband wants another baby and the wife is at her limit — what's the conclusion?
"Husband wants another. I wish we didn't have any. Love my daughter but don't love her constant need for attention/interaction. Since I can't go back in time and undo having a kid, perhaps having a second kid will mean I'm not the sole source of attention for the existing kid and I might even get a break from the constant 'look at me,' 'play with me.'"
This may seem harsh, but it's true that not every parent has to love every stage of parenthood.
"I was stressed out when my daughter was newly born. It was so much work taking care of her, and so little sleep," one mom told Reddit.
The good news is that as time went on, this mom saw the light at the end of the tunnel. "I was very happy when she started crawling, and now things are very great now that she walks and is able to do a lot of things by herself, including entertaining herself on her own for quite some time. I suspect it be will be even better when she becomes potty trained."
If anything, this article should prove that not every mom bonds with her child. And in some cases, not every mom bonds with her child in the beginning, but eventually starts to.
"[It] took me till she was 6 or 7 months and crawling around before I was actually engaged and happy with her. I did all the things I was supposed to with a new born, she was always cuddled and cared for. I would just had rather been elsewhere. Now, at 19 months old... oh boy! Hahaha I love my little buddy, love all the cuddles and kisses and messes. Nothing I wouldn't do happily for her and with her."
New moms and dads don't talk about this stuff openly because they're scared of being judged or even reported to child services. It's not that they don't love their baby, they're just missing the bond that everyone else seems to be feeling.
"This is how I felt about my daughter for at least the first six months. Breastfeeding and maternity leave made it so much worse -- this little animal, taking over my body, taking me away from the job I loved, sleeping in my room. Awful. I hated it so much," one mom told Reddit.
However, after finally opening up to a few parents, this mom made a conclusion:
"Babies just suck. They're cute and that's it — totally does not outweigh how needy they are."
New moms don't need to love everything about their newborn. This mom told Reddit that after she gave birth to two twins, she did not appreciate being woke up every two hours for almost a year.
"I do not miss that first year at all. I do wish I had taken a billion more pictures, footprints, handprints, etc, and I sometimes miss how tiny they were. My big boys are getting too tall to fit on my lap now and once they were both small enough to cuddle on my lap at the same time. I won't tell you to cherish it, because I sure resented that, but to make as many videos, photos, and memories as your sanity will allow."
Think about it... We can't truly find out what's in our kid's head until they start speaking. So do we just tolerate them until that point?
"3 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."
Maybe a person really wants kids but wants to skip the whole zero-three months stage? Unfortunately for them, that's impossible. But most of these parents do say it gets better. "Around 5 months+ you'll see an amazing difference, and it just gets better from there."
There are many frightening posts online about women not believing they have postpartum depression because they've never suffered from depression before. However, depression doesn't discriminate; postpartum depression can happen to anyone.
"My PPD manifested in a flat, empty feeling towards my second son, as in - I wasn't sad, I didn't hate him, I just felt...nothing at all. Like he was someone else's child, cute but ok, take him away now please. I tried to hand him off to anyone and everyone who came along because I didn't really care."
After seeing her doctor, they saw signs of PPD and suggested medication to get her out of this funk. "A week after I started taking a low dose of sertraline, suddenly all my feelings came back. What I had thought was seasonal greyness and tiredness [from] going from one kid to two was in fact PPD."
"My birth experience was a complete nightmare," one mom started saying on Reddit. "I had to have an emergency c-section due to preeclampsia and my baby ended up in the NICU. She is fine now and we are both home but I am miserable and I just want everything to go back to the way it was before."
This is a dark space for this woman but she's brave for coming forward.
She continued by saying how she has another son whom she adores and a very supportive family (spouse included). But women shouldn't feel the need to defend themselves; they feel how they feel.
When a mother (or father) is going through a period where they feel no connection towards their child, it's so important to team up with their partner. Parenting cannot be one-sided; especially with a newborn.
"I was going through the motions, doing whatever my son needed to keep him from crying, but I felt no connection. When I left him with my husband so I could sleep, I worried that [my] husband would drop him and kill him accidentally...but I kind of didn't care. Then things would go back to normal."
After expressing these sad thoughts to her midwife, she was prescribed some medication and spoke more about her emotions and it helped tremendously. "I started feeling connected to my son! I didn't feel dread anymore. I didn't have those dark thoughts anymore."
I think the beautiful thing about public forums is they bring so many different kinds of people together.
It's a place where you can vent your feelings and hear back from people who felt the same way.
"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," one mom vented. "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."
We all love our sleep but we don't particularly realize how important it is until we're living with a crying infant. "I suffered from PPD with my second, and my life got worlds better when my partner started taking a shift at night. My counselor told me I needed at least five hours of uninterrupted sleep. You can really face the challenge when you have some sleep!"
If you're lucky enough to have help in the same household, take advantage of it.
A woman's body is put through the wringer when she has a baby. Not only is it major surgery but the chemicals that are changing internally are all over the place.
"I have a long history of depression and expected the worst but it was honestly just baby blues. I was recovering from surgery, exhausted, breast feeding was 1000x harder than I had imagined... Ugh. I cried and I had a lot of help thankfully."
After a few weeks/months of getting used to this new "mom life," things took a turn and are now looking up.
"She is 4 months old now and I really, really, really do love her. I also really hate the newborn phase. Emphasis on phase."
I know this article is about mothers not bonding with their baby, but dads can go through this too. We're only human, after all.
This dad took to Reddit after not feeling a connection to his only child. "We only have one child, and he's perfectly normal as far as children go. On the surface, everything is fine, but I really hate spending time with him. He's a good kid- not fussy, really polite, likes jets and planes and things.. but I just hate doing things with him," he said.
Parents can love and care for their child but still feel a need to not be with them all day, every day. And that's okay. Bonds don't always happen instantly; they can take some time.
The important thing is that these parents are taking note of their emotions and seeking help/recognition.