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Day 6 in placement and I feel like a monster....

(45 Posts)
howmanyusernames Thu 26-Apr-18 13:39:27

Please please don't have a go, I would like some support so if you can't do that please don't comment...

We are on day 6 of LO being with us. He is great, sleeps for 11 hours a night, has a morning and afternoon nap, and is generally a happy baby. I feel lucky to have him, and want to look after him and love him.

But that's the issue, I worry that I won't ever 'love' him, I want to protect him but I'm struggling with the 'maternal' instinct.... I see friends with their kids, and read on forums about how other people love their kids from day one (adopted and birth) and worry that I just don't have that.....and that I won't ever get it....

I feel tearful every other day, I'll be fine one day but the next feel that I can't do it, that I won't be able to cope on my own (my OH is off work for 6 months now but has things coming up, like a stag weekend in June).

I feel awful and embarrassed about how I feel, that I've wanted this for so long, have got an amazing little boy, yet seem so ungrateful.

My OH has been great, very patient and is taking on a lot of the childcare when I feel like this. I then feel bad for him.

My friends have been great, I have been messaging them with how I feel and they say it's normal (I get now why having the support network is so important in this process), but I don't know how to 'fix' how I feel. Will it come with time? Do I need to be more hands on? Or should I take a back seat a little, observe my OH but still be there in the room etc?

Is this feeling normal, as right now I feel totally overwhelmed and that I can't do it and am a total ungrateful monster...

OP’s posts: |
mollymollymoo Thu 26-Apr-18 13:53:12

After 12 years trying to conceive we adopted. It was absolutely what we wanted and we're now 2 years into it and have we just been approved for a 2nd time.
My DS was nearly 4 when he came home and I think for a long time it felt like a project, or that we were looking after him for someone else. I loved him in a way, and wanted the best for him but I cant say I felt the overwhelming love that people speak of. My evening wine consumption certainly went up!!

Like you I now have a lovely child with no issues to speak of, but I'd say it's only in the last 6 months that he feels part of us and I've realised that I'm fiercely protective of him. But I still dont feel 'maternal' as such. I dont know if I would have in any circumstances, I'm not a hugely gushy person and tend to be more practical.

You're not an ungrateful monster. You've just had an enormously life changing event that no amount of courses and training can prepare you for.
Please try be kind to yourself and allow yourself to get used to this new dynamic.
Remember to still do things for you, it really will keep you sane (ish)
x

flapjackfairy Thu 26-Apr-18 14:00:18

If you look a bit deeper you will find this is a v common problem with adoption and many have felt like you early on.
If you go onto the adoption uk forum and put a search in under difficult times you will find lots of similar experiences and great advice.
Really it is so early on in your journey and it takes time to develop your relationship.
Keep talking and take it one day at a time . Take a break if needed but also spend lots of time doing bonding stuff . You will be fine . Really you will.
I have a little boy who came to us at 11 months and he felt like a stranger to me at first but now i love him so much it hurts and i thank God everyday for him. It took a bit of time but as i am a birth parent and fc i already knew that and just ploughed on without trying to analyse things too much. Not every parent bonds instantly even with birth children and you have been handed a fully formed human being to be a parent to. If you werent phased by that there would be something wrong .
Please dont beat yourself up. You are not a monster just a v normal person.
Keep posting if it helps . Sending a hug of support x

howmanyusernames Thu 26-Apr-18 14:08:09

Thank you for your replies, I just needed reassurance it's not just me and I'm not some ungrateful horrible person.

I'm also very practical, I 'get things done', I do all the cooking, cleaning, meal plan for us and LO, nappy changes etc. No problems with that.

I do have walls up sometimes, especially when I'm out of my comfort zone, and do sometimes push away rather than embrace and open myself up, which I know I need to do.

I will keep trying, and be patient (with myself and LO) and hope it soon all just clicks.

Thank you again. xx

OP’s posts: |
kierenthecommunity Thu 26-Apr-18 14:14:38

No having a go from me. About four years ago I was exactly on your place. I felt like a baby sitter not a mum, saw a cute baby but not my son and was waiting for that overwhelming rush of love other adopters gushed about. I was sure I must be basically unmaternal and unwomanly. And then I felt overwhelming guilt that I had everything I wanted, why wasn’t I happy? Why wasn’t I grateful?

And I never spoke up as I was so ashamed and scared he would be taken away.

And four years later I am finally having counselling having been diagnosed with post adoptive depression. The symptoms are almost identical to PND only people ‘get’ PND and have rarely heard of PAD

FWIW I think with me the bond came gradually. The first time he was ill. The first time a stranger said he looked like me. The first time he fell and looked for me smile

Please keep sharing with your partner and friends they clearly are you here for you. Don’t end up like me! smile

thomassmuggit Thu 26-Apr-18 14:27:10

Six days in? Six?! Of course you don't love him. You know in Frozen, when Ana is laughed at for falling in love with someone she 'just met that day', well, that.

Some people do say they love their kids from day one. Me, not so much. I care for them, I feel responsible, I wouldn't let anyone harm them. Real love takes time, you've just met! I have adopted and birth children, and it's not an adopted vs birth thing. Being suddenly given a small dependent, and in adoption often angry and grieving, little human being is massively scary, and terrifying, and overwhelming.

You are completely normal. 'Fake it 'til you make it.'

The love comes, it really does. It comes when you're not looking for it. One day, you'll look and think 'oh, aren't you the best!' from your heart.

These feeling can be PAD, or PND if it's a birth child, but I had them with both adopted and birth, and I know it's just me. I'm not an Ana. I take time to fall in love, and that's ok. It can be a sign of depression, or it can just be a personality thing.

The first few weeks and months are really hard, we're all here when you need us. You're not a monster, you're normal. Or else there are a lot of us monsters here!

Namechange128 Thu 26-Apr-18 14:43:24

Also - even for birth parents, many of us don't experience a rush of love, especially with our first child. It's such an alien experience to care for a child. With DD1 i used to worry like you did that deep down I didn't care for her the way my more demonstrative friends did, and genuinely had no idea how much I loved her until she was nearly four months old and rushed to hospital on oxygen with sirens blaring and I found myself promising god that I'd honestly be totally ok if he took me, so long as she ended up fine blush

Be kind to yourself, it sounds like you are doing a wonderful job. You don't have to be posting Instagrams full of love, or spending every moment gushing over dimples - for a young child you can show caring and establish a bond through actions, an extra gentle touch in the bath, spending time to prepare nutritious and tasty food, listening carefully when he talks or makes sounds, taking the time to find out what types of toy he loves, snuggle together on the sofa to listen to music, read a book, or watch TV. Hope you have lots of support and congratulations on your new arrival x

MonsterChopz Thu 26-Apr-18 15:27:25

People often don't like to admit it but I thinkthat many of us who have adopted would admit to feeling the same as you are feeling. It is okay to not feel that rush of love. I'm not sure when I first felt that but it certainly wasn't within days or weeks. I wanted to protect and care for my daughter since day one but I didn't have that love.

It's rare, despite what a lot of people say, to love someone you have just met.

Be kind to yourself, take each day as it comes and don't put too much pressure on yourself.

kierenthecommunity Thu 26-Apr-18 15:31:24

These feeling can be PAD, or PND if it's a birth child, but I had them with both adopted and birth, and I know it's just me. I'm not an Ana. I take time to fall in love, and that's ok. It can be a sign of depression, or it can just be a personality thing.

Oh heck, this. I didn’t mean to imply you have depression but just to be aware as I didn’t even know it was a ‘thing.’ My issues didn’t just spring up from intros there was far more behind it too.

One other aspect of feeling you can’t bond is a self preservation thing too I think. We’d had so many set backs and delays I couldn’t believe I finally had a child and was just waiting for it all to go horribly wrong and they’d realise they’d made a mistake picking us.

FWIW I’m not an Ana either. DH had his work cut out to land me wink

Italiangreyhound Thu 26-Apr-18 16:20:05

All totally totally normal.

I was not sure if I could ever love my adopted son as much as my birth daughter, but I do. Honestly, it takes time.

It's the little things you do for him, and with them, that lead the way. So share the tasks with your dh, don't feel he needs to take over.

We have a saying here, Fake it 'til you make it.

BEFORE I saw your post I was looking at this...

www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/psychology-writers/201210/using-self-fulfilling-prophecies-your-advantage

It is so true, just act in a loving way and it will come.

thanks

TootsieWantsToRelocate Thu 26-Apr-18 17:13:17

I only have a birth child so I hope you don’t mind me answering, but your post really resonated with me. When I had DS, I remember looking at him and thinking ‘who are you? I don’t know you?’ I had no rush of love and no maternal feelings. I knew I had to look after him and that was fine, but I wasn’t driven by love... more obligation. Now he’s a toddler, I would say I definitely love him but it was a feeling that sort of crept up on me, not one that was always there or that suddenly hit me.

I’d say it’s totally normal to feel like you do. Give yourself a break!

Cassie9 Thu 26-Apr-18 17:18:20

I didn't have that instant gush of love for my birth child or for my adoptive child. It came with time and interaction and yours will too. The first few months are tough because it's a huge life change for everyone. You all have to find your feet and settle into a new routine. The first day I remember bursting into tears and saying to my oh 'I dont know if we' ve done that right thing.' I can't remember exactly when it happened but now I can't imagine my life without both of my children.

B1rdonawire Thu 26-Apr-18 17:36:31

Just to pile on with the same message: totally, completely normal. You are human, I.e. exhausted, overwhelmed, scared, anxious, and suddenly responsible for a total stranger (at a time when they are also experiencing all those big emotions and grief).

It gets easier (very slowly). Just keep going, half an hour at a time if you need to, and if you can schedule in some moments of looking after yourself too, that will pay dividends. I realise you need to stay with your new child, but grab the opportunities where you can: use your favourite mug, have a fancy biscuit, listen to a song that makes you feel good, get out into the garden for a bit together if you can, book in phone calls to old friends for after child's bedtime...whatever will help fill your own resilience back up again a bit.

Go steady, you can do this. The love will come in its own time.

howmanyusernames Thu 26-Apr-18 18:39:45

Thank you everyone, it really means a lot!

So tonight OH had to pop out for a couple of hours hmm I had to feed LO, entertain him after, do bath time, bottle and put him to bed! All on my own and without OH even being in the house! Eeek!
And I did it!
He only got a bit grumpy after story time (maybe I'm a terrible reader?!) but I walked into the kitchen and just talked about what each thing was.....'This is the sink where I wash up, this is the cooker where I make your food, this is the microwave when Mummy is feeling lazy.....'!

He fell asleep in my arms after his bottle, so I put him to bed (30 mins too early but he didn't have an afternoon nap and was up in the night, and so what!). He's asleep now!

I did it! I didn't kill him, he didn't grizzle too much, and I gave him a bath on my own! smile

OP’s posts: |
flapjackfairy Thu 26-Apr-18 19:03:38

Bravo. That is great . See you are a natural . X

Alljamissweet Thu 26-Apr-18 20:44:14

Nothing prepares you fort he enormity of the task of parenting a mini stranger!
They move in rearrange your whole life and when it happened to me, I couldn't admit to anyone that I thought wed made a huge error.
I was overwhelmed by the relentless nature of parenting but as I friend said, it gets easier every 3 months.
Fast forward 5 years and I would give my life for our child.
Love will come. Fake it and get out and about!

2old2beamum Thu 26-Apr-18 20:45:18

I really think this can be quite normal. When DS was placed with us age 3 I cared for him, cuddled him, kissed him spoilt him rotten but did not get the kick in the guts as I had with our other adopted children.
Move on 20 months and he was in hospital going to theatre for the 4th time in 3 weeks. He looked so poorly and sad and bang I realised how much I loved him. It was always there.
I was his devoted slave until he died @ 13. My beautiful boy.
It is obviously coming for you.
Good luck it is coming xxxxx

topcat2014 Thu 26-Apr-18 20:54:51

2old2beamum flowers

2old2beamum Thu 26-Apr-18 21:15:52

Thankyou topcat,
Did not write for sympathy but your thoughts are really appreciated.
XX

clairedelalune Thu 26-Apr-18 21:17:40

It will come, please don't worry flowers
I think the first few weeks (well actually I think until the AO is granted) are so difficult because you have so many external people involved in your life (sws, lac reviews etc etc) all throwingtheir differing advice at you, that you are almost made to feel that you are not doing it right. I am of the lucky ones who did get it right at the beginning but I remember distinctly, for the first ten mins on first day of intros feeling a bit non-plussed and then suddenly something kicked in and I had an internal moment of 'hang on a sec, this is my child, screw the lot of them (even tho everyone was very lovely)' and didn't look back. I think it is very hard when you are constantly having ti justify yourself as a parent, almost like you feel that you are not allowed to love them.
Plus you must be blooming knackered. Xxx

clairedelalune Thu 26-Apr-18 23:03:15

And my thoughts are with you too 2old xx

BertBox Thu 26-Apr-18 23:14:54

You're not even a week in! Of COURSE you don't feel an overwhelming love for him yet! I'd be astonished if you did!

The first few months days of having DD home were terrifying. And boring. Once I broke down and begged DH not to go to work that day (he didn't!).

Just give yourself time - once the SW's visits stop, and you're in a routine it all becomes much easier. I don't know when exactly I loved DD, it wasn't anywhere near immediate; but I do remember sitting at birthday parties and school trips, thinking how much more I liked her than any other child there, and thank god I didn't get matched with any of them! (I like them all a bit more now I know them, but still...)

F.I.T.Y.M.I is excellent advice! And wine! 🍷

flapjackfairy Fri 27-Apr-18 10:17:49

Hi howmany. How is it going today ?

howmanyusernames Fri 27-Apr-18 13:01:29

Yeah okay, he slept 6:30pm - 7:10am so me and my OH had a good nights sleep!
We went out this morning for a long walk, then came back for lunch and he's been a bit grizzly and won't go down for his afternoon nap......but we've got him up now as we don't want him to get distressed. Hopefully it might mean a long sleep again tonight if he isn't having one now! hmm

OP’s posts: |
UnderTheNameOfSanders Fri 27-Apr-18 15:33:34

When we adopted our 2 I remember for the first 3 months regularly ringing DH at work begging him to come home promptly.

Love will grow, don't push it, and make time for yourself.

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