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To be struggling to be a mum, when I've never had a mum

(17 Posts)
calliecat Sun 18-Sep-16 11:08:58

My mum died when I was 7. I don't remember her much. I had a bit of a strange childhood, as I lived with grandparents for a bit, then back with my dad, but I always knew I wasn't wanted anywhere.

Now I have a baby of my own and I'm finding it so hard, because I don't know what mums are supposed to do. I can do all the stuff like cleaning and feeding but I don't think I feel towards him like mums are supposed to.

Will this just come in time? (He is 7 1/2 months.) I feel more towards him now than I did. He smiles at me now and makes sounds and is showing that he's a "person" so is it just that it can be hard when babies are tiny?

Other times he just cries. Everyone says it's teeth and normal and not to worry.

I can't imagine him being a little boy though. I can't imagine loving or liking him (I know that sounds terrible.)

I don't feel I want counselling so please don't suggest it! I just want to know how others who might not have had a mum became a mum.

MrsBobDylan Sun 18-Sep-16 11:20:07

I'm sorry as I'm going to suggest what you asked us not to, but...I think you should talk to someone in rl about your feelings and a counsellor is a good place to start. You sound like you're coping really well but are questioning your feelings about motherhood which is actually quite common but not talked about much for fear of being judged.

My counsellor told me that the way we parent has lots to do with the maternal bond we have between 0-3 years old. Even though your mum sadly died when you were 7, lots of what she did for you and how she loved you will be 'built in' to how you parent now.

I think you'll find lots of mn are able to identify with the type of feeling you

Milkycocopops Sun 18-Sep-16 11:21:59

I didn't have a mum. I know how you feel. It sounds like you're finding things quite difficult right now. It's good you're talking on here and asking for support. Counselling isn't for everyone but there are other types of support out there. I used to go to as many mother and baby groups as I could. I remember that most of the first time mum's struggled just as much as me despite their upbringing. It's generally a difficult time for all. I can tell you for me it was hard but also the best thing I've ever done in my life. My son is a teenager and a lovely boy. I haven't done too badly. I'm sure it will get easier. Do you have real life support too?

RosieTheCat Sun 18-Sep-16 11:39:45

callie I felt the same as you when dd1 was born I could keep her fed warm and clean but felt nothing towards her.

My mum is still around but was abusive physically and emotionally my whole life so I didn't feel I knew how do do the mum thing

Dd1 is now 2.5 and in the last year ish Iv finally bonded with her, I was dead against counciling mostly because we surprisingly never had anyone involved when we were younger and I was scared I wouldn't be believed. as dd1 has grown so has my love for her I actively enjoy spending time with her now it just took time and a conscious effort on my part to try and be more involved with games or do things with her

I've recently had dd2 and the bond I already have with her highlights the difference and I suspect depression may have also played a part with bonding with dd1

calliecat Sun 18-Sep-16 13:07:05

My dad always insisted my mum was an amazing mum. I don't know. I have to say I don't have many nice memories. Some. I remember she used to really try at Christmas. She hated me ever getting messy or dirty and she'd sometimes react really strangely to things, I once didn't know who a singer was and she started screaming at me.

I've been doing a lot of reading but i'm not sure you can learn to be a parent through books. A lot of what I instinctively want to do is wrong, because I've learned it that way.

calliecat Sun 18-Sep-16 14:04:24

Maybe I do need counselling, but we can't afford it.

ilovesooty Sun 18-Sep-16 14:08:33

callie are you really sure you "can't afford it"?

Regardless of the support you choose to access I really do think you need that support - sooner rather than later.

Atenco Sun 18-Sep-16 14:24:58

I'm on your other thread, callie, and I think your DP is undermining your confidence as a mother. I don't say that is the entire problem you are having, but it is contributing.

I have friends who were horribly parented and made it as good parents themselves. But they did go to counselling.

ilovesooty Sun 18-Sep-16 14:26:53

Atenco I think I agree.

calliecat Sun 18-Sep-16 15:48:07

I do know what you're both saying but it's not that easy. Tried to ring that number I was given the other week but couldn't get through. In any case what would I say? He has strong opinions and isn't afraid to share them.

Parenting wise he does more than me. I have DS Tuesday and Thursday. I hate those days. I like the anticipation of them, in a way, not having to get up whilst everybody else does but by ten o clock I'm so bored. I do try to get us out but it's such a big effort. The baby groups I go to are nice but DS is one of only three boys there and I feel like the "girl" mums have bonded together a bit. Also the mums are either a fair bit older than me or a lot younger.

If I left DH which is what I think people want me to do this would be the reality. Sitting staring into space on benefits because I could not afford full time nursery place PLUS rent/mortgage PLUS bills or I would be rushing about working full time and trying to handle having a baby as well. Maybe some mums can do it because they love their baby so it doesn't matter but I don't. I know how that sounds I am just trying to be honest here.

DH it's difficult to explain how he does it but he can make you feel like a complete idiot just by a look. I shouted at him the other day. I was just trying to tell him about my friend's business. She is doing dog grooming and he was saying "right, oh really, right." But he was doing it in this way that was as if he was taking the mickey really bad and sounding sarcastic. Then he says I'm taking him the wrong way gets defensive and moody.

It's fine when we're out of the house which mostly at weekends we are. DH cares a lot how things look so it's important to him we look like the perfect family. Then we get back and DS is asleep and arguments start, I think I'm to blame too. But he thinks all our problems are because I insist on working and I think it's much deeper than that.

mygorgeousmilo Sun 18-Sep-16 21:40:03

I agree with pp I know you say you don't want counselling and/or can't afford it but I'm fairly sure there are support groups out there to speak to, even bereavement groups. The fact it was a long time ago is irrelevant, because the loss is affecting you now, and ultimately it's just someone to talk to and to help you manage your thoughts and feelings. I think GPs can refer too, it may take a while, but at least will be via NHS. I really feel for you, but none of us can truly help online, it's a hole that you have to dig yourself out of. Sometimes when you don't feel something naturally, you have to just be proactive about facilitating that feeling. I'm sorry that it sounds patronising but from experience I believe it to be true. You just have to sort of go through the motions sometimes until it comes to you. Maybe have the baby sleep with you for naps or have a bath together, I feel like those type of things are quite bonding. Massaging their little legs and feet is lovely too. Go to different groups if you don't like that one, not all baby groups are created equal, there are loads of different types of mums - you need to hunt down your type of mums so you don't feel like you're the only one feeling this way. Maybe try taking the baby to do something that you'd enjoy, share some experiences with him instead of feeling overwhelmed by being a 'proper' mum, just be yourself and take him along. Go to an exhibition or go swimming with him. Not in a cutesy baby swim class, just get in a pool and swim up and down. Not everything has to be uber baby-focused. Life totally revolving around your baby seems to be quite a new thing. it can feel really pressurising for the parent expected to drop everything they enjoy and sit on carpets singing baa baa black sheep all day. You'd be surprised how many other mums just float through it all in a daze for the first year. You're not alone, I promise! flowerschocolatecakewine

Atenco Sun 18-Sep-16 21:40:18

I'm not saying you should leave your husband, that is totally up to you, it is your life.

I found when my dd was small that having my dd in a nursery from 8 am to 2:30 or 3:00 pm every day really helped me to enjoy her more. And that is the thing with babies, we find what best suits, because if you are happy it is easier to be a good mother.

I do think your husband undermines you, but maybe if you can identify the effect that is having on you, it might help you to block it out.

If you want to stay with him however only out of fear of the alternative, there are ways of getting better alternatives, really there are.

BungoWomble Sun 18-Sep-16 22:18:19

I haven't seen the other thread and don't know background, but a possibility you might want to bear in mind is postnatal depression. You sound a bit numb. Do you see a health visitor, at a baby clinic maybe, that you could talk to? Or is there a doctor you get on with?

Andbabymakesthree Sun 18-Sep-16 22:20:48

Try reading the book parenting from the inside out.

Motherhood often evokes questions from our childhood and we often carry experiences into how we parent. I think you'll find the book useful.

PuntasticUsername Sun 18-Sep-16 22:37:48

Christ callie, your husband is just SO ur it's not true sad

Please please please get some proper help irl. Gp, HV, phone Women's Aid, phone the Samaritans, SOMEBODY. People aren't supposed to live like this. You and your DS deserve so much better.

Corialanusburt Sun 18-Sep-16 22:38:35

I didn't have a mother for a lot of my childhood and when I did, I was mothered poorly.
I haven't struggled to mother 10 yr old DD, though as for everyone it can be boring home alone with a baby. It doesn't necessarily follow that your own poor parenting will lead to you being a poor parent.
I agree with others that you must talk this through.mif you can't afford counselling you should get a referral via your gp. You sound depressed which you could also get help for, and having an undermining dh co pounds things.
I suggest leaving your dp, getting out to work, child with child minder, counselling and no guilt for your intrusive feelings.

ImissGrannyW Sun 18-Sep-16 23:44:38

Some amazing experiences here. I hope they help you.

I wouldn't say counselling necessarily, although I can see how that would help you (where I live, if you go to your GP and ask for that kind of support they offer a service called "talking space", but I don't know if that's national).

What I would say to you is... (a) let the love come. Don't put stress on it - you're obviously doing all you need to do in terms of basic care, so let the love come to you. Looking after a baby IS boring (no one tells you that but, but it is). But it being boring doesn't mean you can't love them to pieces. If you don't then I'd suspect PND, for which there is help and support. my other advice is (b) do a parenting course (they are free at your local children's centre) and they'll give you fantastic tips on managing being a parent without judging your parenting. This will give you the confidence I think you need. Because to me, your post shows an unconfident parent more than anything else.

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