"There is nothing like holding a baby for the first time and getting that rush of love," is a statement everyone has heard before. When a woman is pregnant, it is the thought of this moment that gets them through to the finish line no matter what pregnancy throws at them. Scared of childbirth but looking forward to this oh so special moment; the pain is over and... this moment doesn't come. Why? Because not all women fall in love with their babies at first sight and that is okay.
Of course, there are many lucky mothers who do have a very strong bond with their children immediately after giving birth and they experience that love connection. But many mothers do not feel this unending love, a situation that is unfortunately not talked about enough. Far from being embarrassing, it is completely normal and these remarkable women are here to explain their birth stories.
There are many reasons mothers feel they did not connect and it is time their voices were heard. Ready to educate you on what is often the truth about birth, here is '20 Women Who Didn't Fall In Love With Their Babies Right Away (And Why It's Okay)'.
20 YouTube Mom
Some of you reading this may recognize the woman above. This is Louise Pentland, a UK Mother to two girls (Darcy and Pearl) and is well known for her YouTube channel, 'Sprinkle Of Glitter' which has over 2.5 million subscribers!
In one of her recent YouTube videos, she spoke openly about her experience with PTSD after childbirth. She started by describing her traumatic induction (including sickness, an episiotomy, and hemorrhaging) resulting in the birth of baby Darcy explaining, "I was holding this baby that I wasn't having the rush of love for that I really wanted to have and had expected to have".
19 Meds Disaster
"It wasn't this instant feeling of 'oh my gosh that's my baby' as they laid him in my arms or anything like that, it was this time of confusion and disjointedness... I was pregnant, then I wasn't pregnant and there was a baby" shared one mother on the birth of her first born baby boy.
She had also experienced quite a traumatic birth resulting in a c-section which she had to be put to sleep for. Not being the birth she had wanted which changed everything she had hoped for and made it hard for her to bond.
18 Left Feeling Scared
An article written by a mother who felt fear when her child was born was published on Motherly. She described, "I remember the moment the midwife placed my son on my chest after he was born. I remember feeling extremely strange because I expected this wave of warmth and love for my baby to overcome me, but instead, I was petrified."
She then goes on to say that later down the line she did bond with her baby, explaining that "Many moms feel the pressure to immediately bond with the baby moments after delivery. The truth is, motherhood is a major adjustment that takes time."
17 Too Many People
"Family meant well but they did not give me a chance to come to terms with being a mother. As soon as I was put in recovery the army of people came in and my baby was passed around for photos, I felt so disconnected," one mother shared her experience with me.
Luckily her husband realized that his wife was struggling and asked the visitors to leave, allowing the three of them to have time together. A bond was quickly established after this.
“Always allow yourself time to bond with your baby before family or friends come in, it is a special moment and unfortunately I feel mine was tainted,” she added.
16 No Firsts
A friend of mine shared with me her experience after having her first child via c-section,
"I held him for just a second then he was whisked away. Once in the recovery ward, I found it even harder to bond because I could not do things with him due to my not being able to move. A nurse changed his first nappy, a nurse chose his first outfit, this was not what I wanted and I felt like he wasn't mine."
As her motion returned and they got to go home she did for unconditional love for her son, sometimes it is not an instant thing especially in circumstances like these and that's okay.
15 Separation Anxiety
"My baby was not with me and that made it impossible for us to have that 'love at first sight moment'. Even when I could see her I could not hold her and I felt so guilty for not loving her," shared a mother whose first child was premature.
Every day, mothers experience premature births and are, unfortunately, placed in different wards from their babies or even told to return home and leave their babies behind in the hospital.
"The bond will come, in fact it is already there you just need to give your mind time to catch up. No Mother should ever feel guilty for not feeling 'love at first sight’," the mom added.
14 Leave Me Alone
"She wanted to be held by me constantly and I just couldn't help it, at one point I actually said 'Just leave me alone'" was the feeling of one new mother.
Not feeling anything for her newborn when she was put on her chest other than the need for her to be taken away was an unpleasant feeling this mother experienced and it continued for a few weeks.
"I just wanted alone time, I wanted to go for a shower or a run without this constant responsibility. Selfish I know but it was how I felt," she also added.
Adjusting to her new role, this mother found time to be alone which increased her love for her daughter.
13 I Don't Know What To Do
"When they got us all settled in my hospital room, I held her close and looked her over. She didn’t look anything like what I had pictured her to look like. I felt awful for feeling nothing." shared another strong mother.
Not knowing what to do or how she felt, the next three days were confusing. Then the rush of love came at the most unfortunate time when her daughter had to be whisked away.
"They wanted to take her to the NICU for a few days... that’s when it hit me: They were taking my child from me! I began crying my eyes out...That’s the moment that I began loving my daughter."
12 Not Deserving
"I never wanted a c-section but that is what I got and I felt like I had failed as a mother, then they gave me my baby... I felt undeserving, I did not allow myself to fall in love," shared an emotional and struggling mother.
There is a stigma attached to having a cesarean section, with some feeling it is the easy way out when it is not. They save babies lives every day and yet, many new mothers feel like a failure.
Luckily, once this mother received help and was reassured that she did what was best for baby, she "allowed herself to love".
11 Not What I Imagined
"I realized that the wonder I felt at first seeing my daughter wasn’t necessarily the love that everyone talks about," one mom wrote on an article on kveller.com, explaining how she felt after the birth of her daughter.
She had imagined, like most expectant mothers do, to have this rush of love for her child but instead, was left feeling wonderment and shock. She did not realize until months after her birth that this was not the feeling that she had expected.
She goes on to explain that "this love developed and deepened as the days went past," showing that it can take time to fall in love and that is completely okay!
10 Postnatal Depression
Telegraph.co.uk highlights one mother's story of not-love at first sight and later down the line still struggling to bond, "Only later did I realize I'd slipped into postnatal depression. I was getting through one day at a time and don't remember any of his milestones.'
She adds that she looked after her son out of "duty not love," which is a hard thing for any mother to come to terms with.
Things did get better and this mom got the help she needed. Experts looking at this story say that it shows "a mother who has bonding difficulties with a newborn can still develop a bond later." That is a very important
9 Relationship Issues
Studies show that if you do not have a strong relationship with your parents, it is likely that you will struggle to bond with your children because you never had that role model of a parent to look up to.
This was certainly the case for Kelly, who told me, "My mother was not a nice person and we never had a good relationship, so when I had my daughter I automatically felt this tension and feared the same would be destined for us."
Talking to her husband proved very helpful and she soon realized that unlike her mother, she could have a strong bond with her own daughter.
8 Too Much Pain
"I was in so much pain and discomfort I did not want to hold my baby, still to this day I feel ashamed about that," shared another brave mom with me.
Labor and delivery is painful. For some, once the baby is the pain just seems to go away, but for others like this mother I spoke to, the pain stays and you cannot even fathom the thought of holding a baby.
"I did not want him near me until I felt better and even then, the guilt of not holding him straight away made me feel disconnected from him. Luckily it only took a few days for us to form a bond."
7 The Escape Plan
"I wanted to get in my car and drive away, escape from being a mom and leave my baby behind safe in the arms of her father. I was so scared," candidly shared another mother.
The new role of a mother is probably one of the hardest roles to adjust to in life. This is why this mother felt the need to escape rather than connect with her child.
"I did not get in my car however and I am so glad I didn't because if I had I would of never known the joy of being a Mom. It takes time to get there but when you do get there, it is grand!"
6 The Resentment
"I remember saying to the doctors, "Can you hurry up – cut this cord and take her from me, please!" One woman shared her first words after the birth of her daughter, she did not feel the love that she had for her other children.
Feeling guilty, this mom says "I overcompensated by breast-feeding on the hour, and made a rod for my own back. I became very resentful of her because I was hardly sleeping. I was jealous of the sleep my husband was getting."
When she got the help, she needed this Mom managed to recover from her sadness and the love increased for her little girl.
5 No Name
Good House Keeping tells the story of a mother who did not experience a rush of love for her third child."I looked at my newborn through the reinforced nursery glass. I didn't feel like any name fit. She was nearly 24-hours old and her bassinet was still labeled 'Baby Girl'," she said.
Some women have names picked out before birth but for many when the love is not there and neither is the name. For this mom, she let her husband decide because she just couldn't.
However, she says 3 months into her daughter’s life she started talking to other moms with the same feelings. "The cloud lifted shortly thereafter, and I finally fell in love," she said.
4 Lack Of Support
"When she was finally born, I cried in relief more than anything. Then I got all patched up and they gave her to me and I looked at her little face and felt … nothing," read one mother's story on redditblog.com.
Although her husband was supportive when she shared these feelings, she was met with completely unsupportive feedback from others who said, "You were tired," or "Well, if you wouldn't have gotten the epidural, maybe you wouldn't have these feelings.
After two weeks, love blossomed. "One day, about two weeks after she was born, I was sitting and nursing her and it hit me...The bonding and love and emotions just flowed from that point."
3 One hospital stay after another
"They kept us in the hospital for two days...we were then allowed home but were back in hospital a day later because of severe jaundice. 'It must be awful', visitors said, not being able to cuddle your new baby. The truth was worse: I didn't want to cuddle him," an honest mother shared with The Guardian.
Feeling no love for her baby, she concluded that she was a terrible mother which made her sink into depression, not telling a soul how she felt as she continued to struggle in silence for months until she finally got some help.
Now she states that when it comes to love, "birth isn't the be-all and end-all. It's only the beginning."
2 The Responsibility of it all
An article on Huffington Post explores the story of a new mother who was shocked by the level of responsibility. She did not feel that 'love at first sight' and at one point she says "Oh, my, god, she's never leaving" clearly still coming to terms with being a mom.
However, this mom had a groundbreaking realization, "Love...For some it’s instantaneous, for some it takes a bit longer, and for some it may take professional help to get to that point. For me it took about four months. Point being - no way is the right way. We are all just simply new moms, trying to survive each day, and doing the best that we can."
1 An Unenjoyable Pregnancy
"My pregnancy was awful, always being in and out of the hospital, I just wanted the baby out and to be me again," explained another mom. "When he was born, I was relieved to not be pregnant but not happy to be a Mom. I felt so bad."
Sadly, many women have difficult pregnancies making not being pregnant anymore the focus of giving birth instead of having the baby you carried for 9 months in your arms.
"I did bond with her after a week or so, realizing that the pain was all worth it and although I hated pregnancy I would do it all again for her."
References: youtube.com, mother.ly, facebook survey, goodhousekeeping, kveller.com, telegraph.co.uk, huffingtonpost.com, redditblog.com