Horrible reaction to meeting your new baby?

(14 Posts)
Rabbiting0n Mon 23-May-16 10:06:35

Long one, sorry!

I'm pregnant with DC2. I'm 35 weeks. My SiL is 37 weeks and soon to be induced, so babies and birth are firmly on my mind. SiL is expecting her first, and she's super excited about meeting her DD. I was too, when I had my first child, but at when she was born, I just didn't feel that way. Pain-wise, it was fine, but I hadn't slept for about 48 hours by the time by DD was born by forceps. I was very doped-up on medication and I lost a fair bit of blood.

Anyway, my niggle is that when my daughter was born and handed to me, I didn't want to hold her. Instead of being desperate for a cuddle, smiling and crying happy tears, and going all gooey-eyed like they do on TV, I froze. I barely put my arms around her, and all I could think was, "I don't want this. This was a terrible mistake". In the end, I had to beg DH to hold her. The staff said I looked overwhelmed, and perhaps that's all it was, mixed with fatigue, but I had to be told - many hours later - that I should probably try and feed her. My memory's hazy, but I recall sleeping once she was born, and taking no interest in her until I was presented with a child to breast feed.

It makes me feel really guilty that I reacted that way to meeting my DD. And I won't lie, she had terrible feeding problems and often breastfed for more than 11 hours a day, plus pumping after each feed, so I could give her top-ups. I kept it up for 13 months. I made a bit of a martyr of myself and was anal about everything, because I didn't enjoy motherhood, and felt bad about it.

It's only really since my DD was 2.5 that I've begun to honestly appreciate her. Of course I've always loved her, and been far too cautious and protective of her, but I got no enjoyment from being a mother. She's always been as good as gold; an excellent sleeper, not a crier, very polite and well-behaved. I've got no excuse for not having been madly in love with her, but the truth is, the reality of being a mother was not what I expected. I don't enjoyed doing messy play. Baking is a nightmare and she sneezes as soon as she gets near the flour. Arts and crafts are just an opportunity to get glue in her hair and cover my house in glitter. It's not the rosy life I imagined before she was born.

Now that her language has come on in leaps and bounds, she's cheeky and fun and cute, and although tiring, a real asset to our family. It also helps that she's started nursery, so we get a bit of space from one another. It made me feel more positive about having another child, and this time, we're expecting a boy, so I'm really pleased about that, because I've always quite wanted a son.

But as my due date draws closer, I'm beginning to worry that when he's born, I'll just feel cold again; that I'll think it was all a mistake and not bond with him emotionally. I'm also worried that if I don't react badly to meeting him, it's unfair on my DD, because I didn't feel a great rush of love upon holding her.

Is this pregnancy hormones? Has anyone else felt like this? I worry that I'm not maternal. My own mother was abusive and violent and I don't have a good relationship with her. It's really important to me that my children have the exact opposite childhood, but am I just not a natural mother?

Wanderingwondering Mon 23-May-16 10:16:16

Sorry you feel this way. I had a similar experience with my first-it was a difficult birth and when she was handed to me I remember looking in the other direction. I also had trouble feeding her and the whole thing was pretty miserable.

I was worried before the birth of my second but even though his birth was also quite traumatic I felt that mythical 'rush of love' immediately and although i did have some feeding issues it was all so much more relaxed and more enjoyable than the first time round.
I hope you have a better experience this time round. It's much easier when you know that babies are hardier than they look and that problems are usually temporary.

ThomasRichard Mon 23-May-16 10:19:04

Yes I was like this with DS. I had been unwell, it was a long, drawn-out birth that ended in a kiwi cup delivery and I was fairly delirious by that point, so much so that I saw DS being passed to the paediatrician and then looked back to see where the real baby was! I didn't real a rush of love or anything much. I then suffered from awful PND and really didn't cope very well.

It was completely different with DC2. The labour and delivery were pretty straightforward and when she was born and put on my chest I couldn't stop talking to her, telling her how lovely she was and how pleased I was to meet her <I know, vom emoticon grin >. I suffered from PND again but coped much better.

Backingvocals Mon 23-May-16 10:28:18

I don't think it's that uncommon. I think women expect the rush of love and they are sold that but actually they've just been through a major physical trauma - as you certainly did - and may not be physically or emotionally able at that point to feel anything. And in any case, it doesn't matter. I'm sure it's nice to feel the bonding rush but I didn't. I fell in love with DD when she was 4 months old.

I think you are questioning yourself because of what happened with your mother but actually you are not your mother. You just experienced the same as lots of women but you are taking it as a sign that you are not a natural mother because you are alert to that risk. But even the fact of you being concerned about that risk makes you a good mother. You care. You want to do this right. But please don't stress over this. You are doing it right. Not feeling the rush is not important. At all.

I was lucky to have had a strong, good mother so when I didn't feel a rush of love I didn't think anything of it. I had confidence that that bit didn't matter. The only difference between you and me is that your mother has destroyed your confidence in yourself as a mother and so you are doubting yourself. But you are doing great. And rush or no rush, you are creating a lovely family and you are being a great mother.

kiki22 Mon 23-May-16 18:34:19

I was similar i had a forceps and was totally out of it I remember they forced me to hold ds but I just didn't want to I wanted dp to hold him i just needed to not do anything I was so traumatised. This times I'm having an elcs so I've decided to request the baby be passes straight to dp and i don't want anyone pushing me to hold him i will when I'm ready be that 1 min or 10 mins.

I didn't have a great time when ds was a baby I also found it much easier when he got older and could chat to me, I do worry it will be the same my anxiety is at an all time high about it, I think expecting another boy I cant imagine him being any different from ds though I know just because hes a boy doesnt mean he will be the same.

Just because you don't bake and glue random shit together doesnt mean your not a natural mother this idea you need to do all this stuff with your kids to be a good parent is crap its time, affection and attention that matters even of its just going to the shops together for milk they will remember the time not the activity.

Peasandsweetcorn Mon 23-May-16 18:40:31

DC1 was a 48 hour labour that ended up with a forceps delivery in theatre & her on the resus table. With the benefit of hindsight, she was pretty out of it for the first 48 hours.
DC2 was born 29 minutes after getting to hospital when I still wasn't sure if I was in labour or not. He was kicking & screaming. I was in shock & needed to be stitched up. Whilst being stitched & having more G&A I apparently asked the MW to get the bl***dy baby out of the room & give me some peace & quiet.
So, to answer your question, neither of mine were like you see on TV... but then not much of the rest of my life is either!

Peasandsweetcorn Mon 23-May-16 18:45:07

Oh, I'd also made it clear to the MW both times that I didn't want to hold the baby until it had been cleaned up. I always wince watching OBEM & dramas when a baby covered in all sorts of gunk is passed to the mother to hold. I worry that they'd be too slimy and I'd drop them.

bringonthrsummer Mon 23-May-16 20:01:49

I was the same after my first birth. It all went fine and only had gas and air so wasn't drugged up but I was sooooo tired! I didn't hold her! Her god mother held her for ages and the midwives kept asking her if she thought I would struggle to bond. I then got left in a room with this cot and I remember thinking omg what the fuck do I do now! However I had my second, a boy like you and it was totally different I held him straight away, fed him and felt in total control. You know what you are doing now and the fear isn't as great the second time. Good luck with everything X

igglepiggleisanarsehole Mon 23-May-16 20:14:45

I was the same - drugged to the eye balls, had lost consciousness, also had a forceps delivery. I spoke to a councillor afterwards after talking about how guilty I felt to my HV, and she said it's actually a common reaction for complicated deliveries.
Have you spoken to your DH or midwife about your feelings? They may be able to offer you some help.

LittleNelle Mon 23-May-16 20:17:51

I think it's a common experience when you've had a long labour or difficult birth! I wouldn't hold or feed my first baby for hours, I was exhausted and overwhelmed. I've spoken to a few people who felt the same.

Ultimately it didn't affect bonding or feeding though, and my second birth was easier and I was happy to cuddle and feed straight away.

pinguina16 Mon 23-May-16 20:49:05

"It's only really since my DD was 2.5 that I've begun to honestly appreciate her."

Are you sure you're not a man? grinwink
Lots of people had "warned" me dads don't really get interested until the child can speak.
And more or less this is what has happened with my husband.
Of course I don't believe for a second this is due to gender or is gender related. I think it's because we are all more comfortable with some ages/phases than others.

I think it's great you're not in denial. It may happen again but you now know it will pass as your son grows up.

[Also part of the I-wish-forceps-had-never-come-near-me group. If only more people acknowledged these are not "normal" deliveries...]

Rabbiting0n Tue 24-May-16 09:07:39

Thanks guys; glad to see I'm not alone. It sounds like it's a traumatic birth type of thing? I'd also been diagnosed with epilepsy four weeks before her birth and that made me pretty down. The medication can affect moods too, so I think it was all a bit too much within four weeks...

Penguina16 - No, definitely not a man! Don't get me wrong; I've always made sure DD is well looked after. She's quite spoilt and she's always been remarkably well adjusted, but she didn't go to nursery or play group or anything until she was three. We have no friends or family to help out, so although she's 3.5, I've only had two nights out since she was born. My husband sometimes works abroad, too, and often has long hours in London, so despite him being an amazing help, I often felt alone, with no adult conversation at all. I think that's why DD talking made all the difference; not because I find babies boring, but because I'd spent 2.5 years where the only two-way conversation I had each day was with DH, Now DD and I have chats and play games and I chat to the other mums at her school. I'm hoping the way I felt about motherhood was just a reaction to my situation, rather than my child, if that makes sense? Either way, thanks for sharing; it's much more encouraging than all the mum friends I have on Facebook who talk about how blissful motherhood is all the time.

teaandcake789 Wed 25-May-16 13:42:30

I barely remember much, it's all a bit of a drug filled haze, but dh said I had a look that you describe when being handed ds2 (our first together) - a bit shock, a bit disgust, a bit get this baby away from me.
When ds3 was born I had the complete fall instantly in love with him which was surprising as I'd spent the whole pregnancy feeling really detached as it was a bit of a surprise and, to be frank, unwanted.
I have to say though I have one dd (12) and 3 ds's (7,4, 4months) and o can't actually remember the last time I did messy play or arts and crafts or anything like that with them. They are just not interested, not at home or at school/pre-school. My dd still loves craft and cooking but is old enough to do it without help so you may find a boy a bit easier.

SweetieDrops Wed 25-May-16 13:49:09

I felt the same, I also had a long labour and a forceps delivery with a lot of plus loss, plus a bad reaction to diamorphine. I didn't have that rush of love either, I don't remember much about DD's first few hours, I don't even know who dressed her for the first time. I just wanted to be left alone to rest. The bonding came in time, by the time she was a few weeks old I was besotted.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now