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Not bonding immediately with newborn?

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#1 little lion

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:39 PM

I feel a bit guilty writing but here goes ... My son is a month old now and I still don't feel that overwhelming love or bond.  unsure.gif I've only heard of mothers experiencing that immediate, hit like a bolt of lightning love. my son is an easy baby and aside from spending the first three days in special care nursery, he has been pretty healthy.

Each day my feelings for him grow but I'm worried there's something wrong with me. Is this normal? If not, what should I do?

#2 EsmeLennox

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:43 PM

Give yourself a bit of time, it is very common to feel this way. Really. Especially with a first baby, it takes time to get your head around having a baby, the 24/7 nature of the situation and for you to also get back on an even keel after pregnancy, birth establishing feeding etc. A month old is very early days, but it is worth discussing this with an ECHN or GP etc so they can perhaps make an assessment for PND and help you to know what is and isn't normal in terms of your feelings.

#3 hitchicken

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:43 PM

Some people fall in love in an instant, others take years. Same with babies original.gif . It's not a race, and you definitely shouldn't panic about it. I bet you in a few months you can't imagine how you'd live without him original.gif

Take time to cuddle him, skin on skin etc and spend time making eye contact. There's biological evidence that these things improve bonding for bub and mum original.gif x

#4 GamerMum

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:44 PM

I was the same. I think I still am the same at times. DD is 11 weeks old now and although I never had that 'lightning bolt' moment, there are times where I think "I'd do anything for that girl" and I get all protective and crazy-like and other times I think "why does it feel like I don't love her like I should?" It's really odd. And I'm assuming it's normal.

I wish I had that lightning bolt moment. Would have made things easier (or at least one less thing to beat myself up about).

#5 Mitis angelam

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:45 PM

Normal!  Don't panic.

Becoming a mum is such a huge transition, and it takes a toll physically, emotionally, if you're so inclined throw in spiritually as well.  It can take a long time to recover, sort through all of that and construct a new sense of identity, and a confidence in the changed relationships you find yourself in.

Me, I took months to feel anything other than a huge sense of duty.  Now, I sneak into her room when she's sleeping just to look at her, and I do feel a huge lump of love in my chest.  But it took time!

I say be gentle with yourself, and let things unfold.  Don't try to force anything and give yourself permission to feel whatever comes to the surface without being afraid of it.

#6 Mmmcheese

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:46 PM

The love didn't hit me until my dd was 3 months old. I just always assumed that that was within the wide range of normal!!! I hope so! If you have concerns, talk to your gp or mchn. I love my dd now with all my heart, and I don't feel our relationship is negatively impacted.

#7 little lion

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:46 PM

Thanks for the quick replies! I have been taking the 'fake it 'till you make it' approach. Jemstar I was wondering if it might link to pnd but wasn't sure.

#8 Jax12

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:48 PM

Another who didn't have that moment - and had a lot of guilt about it!  Don't worry - it will come.  It took me nearly 6 months and it was very gradual, certainly no lightning bolt moment.  Congratulations on becoming a mum.  And welcome to mother's guilt.  It sucks.   bbighug.gif

#9 EsmeLennox

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:49 PM

From my understanding it can but it does not necessarily, if you know what I mean. That's why it's worth having a chat. How do you feel otherwise?

#10 deejie

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:50 PM

DS1 I did not fall in love with in an instant. For me, it was a very gradual process.

Don't get me wrong, I would have done anything for him. Give up my life for him. I was still fiercely protective of him in a maternal way.... but it wasn't what I would call love. My love for him grew over the weeks, through many nights of sleepy milky cuddles, through hours of crying, through his first smiles. I really needed time to fall in love with him. I didn't have a lightning bolt moment when I knew. My love for him just grew within me slowly, building while I wasn't even realising.

With DS2, it really was instant love when I held in him my arms the first time. Truly and utterly. I don't know if this is because he was my second baby, I don't know why things were different the second time around.

It really is different for everyone and every baby. Hold your son, cuddle him close, stroke him, look in his eyes. Your love for this little person will grow within and soon enough you won't want to live your life without him in it.

#11 little lion

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:51 PM

QUOTE (Jemstar @ 21/11/2012, 04:49 PM) <{POST_SNAPBACK}>
From my understanding it can but it does not necessarily, if you know what I mean. That's why it's worth having a chat. How do you feel otherwise?

Aside from a bit of groundhog day-itis, I feel good. Lots of family support. I only feel crappy/guilty when I think about the lack of that overwhelming love.

#12 emelsy

Posted 21 November 2012 - 04:59 PM

I was the same. There was no 'moment' for me, love just grew. Now, like a pp I just stare at him in bed and I love him to bits. When he first came out I thought he was ugly and didn't look anything like me!now I think he's beautiful!!!
I know for me I was just a bit daft and clueless(despite being experienced with kids) and honestly it still feels weird knowing he's my child and I'm a mum (and he's 2!)
Don't stress about how you feel, I often compare it to romantic movie love. I love my DP but its not at all like on TV, I figure my love for DS isn't like TV either.

#13 R2B2

Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:01 PM

it can take time. give yourself that time!

its a whole new world you have been thrown into. like all new things, it takes time to learn wink.gif

#14 EsmeLennox

Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:05 PM

Sounds like the 'it takes time' thing to me.

#15 mandala

Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:10 PM

I needed to get to know DS to love him, so it took a couple of months. It also helped to not be so incredibly sleep deprived that I didn't even know myself.

#16 Copper and May

Posted 21 November 2012 - 05:15 PM

It took about 3-4 days with me and I think that breastfeeding helped that bonding. However, my first baby was born in the middle of the 1960's, when the midwives and nursing staff would tell me to "not be gazing at that baby all day - he will know and he will play up on you! And put him in his own room when you get home"  cry1.gif

#17 Ponyo

Posted 21 November 2012 - 06:08 PM

It was the same for me. I would have done anything for her, but I didn't feel 'head over heels' in love with her when she was born. In fact, I was surprised to discover that I didn't even think she was the most beautiful baby I had ever seen, either... it probably took 4-5 months to think she was lovelier than all the other tiny babies I saw! But as others have said, this didn't particularly worry me at the time. I also figured that it was within the range of normal. I just focussed on meeting her needs and enjoying the cuddles when breastfeeding. At some point I fell madly in love with her too. Sounds like you are doing a great job! Don't feel guilty.

#18 little lion

Posted 21 November 2012 - 06:16 PM

Thanks everyone it is a relief to know I'm not alone. I do think he is a very handsome baby! I'm looking forward to these feelings growing.

#19 cinnabubble

Posted 21 November 2012 - 06:17 PM

Both childen were born with an overwhelming sense of responsibility, but the love took a few months.

Edited due to Ipad fail.

Edited by cinnabubble, 21 November 2012 - 06:48 PM.

#20 Jen the hen

Posted 21 November 2012 - 06:34 PM

Same happened for me, with both of them. The first time I thought I was abnormal, the second time I realized the love would come in time and was much more relaxed about it. I even told some people, asked if it was the same for them and a surprising number of people have the same experience.

Don't beat yourself up about it - in fact don't beat yourself up about anything. Your mothering will be as individual as you are.

#21 samshine

Posted 21 November 2012 - 06:49 PM

Completely normal!  Don't put pressure on yourself.

I have had varying experiences of this with my 3.  My first, was born in dramatic circumstances which saw her being resus'd and taken away, and me going to surgery straight after her birth.  We were separated for the day while I had surgery and when I met her I couldn't really have cared less.  I was having blood transfusions and felt so unwell that I didn't have that opportunity to have that moment.  It didn't worry me and over the coming weeks it developed.

Even though my second was another complicated arrival, and I was asleep under GA when he was born and had been through an awful day, it was completely different.  I was woken, he was placed on my tummy to do the breast crawl and bam, it hit.  

My third was a lovely birth in comparison, a great postnatal period and while I undoubtedly loved her I didn't get that immediate bonding.  She was a difficult newborn and I ended up with extreme exhaustion then PND.  I didn't realise, really, that I hadn't expereinced that bonding until we got that sorted a couple of months ago and suddenly I feel that fiercely strong bond towards her.  

I think it differs for any mum/child combination.  Is it any wonder it takes a while with anyones' first as it really is a bit of a shock to the system that first few weeks and months?  But rest assured, you're normal!

#22 wish*upon*a*star

Posted 21 November 2012 - 06:57 PM

With me it did take awhile. I was in awe of her but not overwhelmed with love, it was a gradual build up. About 4 months I found the bond had become super strong and now at 10 months I can't believe how much I can love her, she is my world  wub.gif

#23 lizzzard

Posted 21 November 2012 - 07:08 PM

Another one who didn't feel that instant bond...but I didn't really feel guilty about, just bemused! I did feel a sense of duty to take care of my baby (no one else was going to!) but I somehow felt disconnected from her...it definitely took time for me to fall in love. I don't think it was PND at all, just the way I am. For the record, I adore both my children now, but especially with the first, it was probably 6 months or so till I felt that special maternal love.

#24 it'stime

Posted 21 November 2012 - 07:17 PM

It's obviously common.

I felt immense protective instincts for my ds, but certainly not love like I feel now. By 3-4 months that overwhelming love came.

However, it is not something to just brush off. I suggest you still talk to someone just clarify it is not something more sinister (pnd for example)

Best of luck to you op.

#25 Wacky Wobbler

Posted 21 November 2012 - 08:06 PM

I too felt guilty that I didn't get to feel instant love with my DS due to a traumatic birth and bad reaction to Pethidine.

I love love love DS but sometimes wonder if it's enough. I think maybe when I start to get the hang of motherhood I might love him more.

I spoke to my MCHN thinking it maybe a sign of PND but when I told her I didn't remember a thing about his birth she told me that many women don't feel it straight away.

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