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Why dont i love her?

(8 Posts)
NoNotAtAll Wed 10-Aug-11 12:27:56

i dont love my DD,not the way i should.
shes 3 1/2yrs old.
im a SAHM,i feel like ive just never bonded with her,despite BFing for 18 months,co-sleeping,slinging,etc.
what makes it worse,is that i love my (younger) DS,he fills my heart with love.
i want so much to feel like this about my daughter.but there is just nothing there.
what the hell is wrong with me??
is there anyway to start the bonding process with her again?
i have recently been diagnosed with anxiety and PND(from DD's birth)
im not sure if that has any bearing on this,but i cant bring myself to say this to anyone,including the doctor.its just so awful,i feel so sorry for her,she deserves to have a mother who loves her properly,ive been racked with guilt for over 3 years about this,hoping against hope,one day it would just 'click',but it never has.
i just dont know what to do anymore.

scotchmist Wed 10-Aug-11 13:42:05

I would say the fact that you have been recently diagnosed with anxiety and PND from your DDs birth has everything to do with it NoNotAtAll if you have been suffering all this time im not surprised you feel like this, are you on medication for your anxiety and depression ? hopefully someone will be along shortly who has been through the same sort of thing.

natsyloo Wed 10-Aug-11 14:48:29

I agree, bonding can be a major feature of PND. It was the lack of initial bonding that really triggered me to cry all over my health visitor and realise something wasn't quite right.

I remember distinctly saying to my therapist that I needed to guarantee the fact that I would love my DS as a result of my treatment. I was so shocked when she said she couldn't do that, but then I soon realised that the CBT helped me to see my world differently and the rest followed.

It takes time and I don't think it's a 'click' moment but things will change. It sounds like you're a loving mum who is trying all she can to make things right, which proves that those feelings are there, you just need a little help to bring them to the fore.

Good luck x

GooseyLoosey Wed 10-Aug-11 14:51:13

I have a slightly similar issue with my own children. I find one thing that helps is to "walk the talk" so I pretend to feel overwhelming love for them both - and over time it has changed the way I feel. I cannot say that they are equal for me - one is so like me and the other is so different, but I do now love them both very much.

GetDownYouWillFall Thu 11-Aug-11 15:05:50

Is there anyone who could take your DS for a half a day once in a while, leaving you free to do a special activity, just you and her? Like cooking some fairy cakes, making necklaces, going out for a coffee together, anything you and she would both enjoy that could maybe start to build the relationship a bit more?

I have a 3.5 year old DD too, and suffered with severe PND (hospitalised for 3 months), so I do have some understanding. I definitely had bonding problems with my DD for the first year or so. I felt that she didn't "like" me. She never looked to me for reassurance. She pushed me away if I tried to comfort her. She never gave kisses, that kind of thing.

When she was about 9 months old I remember being terrified that this was the way it would always be - that we would have a cold, distant relationship and never be able to regain the bond.

I'm happy to say that slowly, slowly little by little the bond has come. I do genuinely feel the love for her now, and strongly. It will happen for different people at different times. But I think you have to be prepared to put the work in , and do special things with her to try and make that bond, rather than wishing, hoping it would somehow magically happen IYSWIM?

But I agree with gooseyloosey - my health visitor said that until you actually feel those feelings, pretend to feel them, and gradually that can help change your thinking towards your little girl.

The fact you don't like this situation and obviously want it to change is a very good sign. Don't underestimate what you've been through and the strain that PND places on your relationship. But at the same time, don't think this has doomed your relationship with your DD forever, because it can honestly be rebuilt.

racingheart Mon 15-Aug-11 23:14:10

Severe PND could be the root cause of the lack of bonding. Until that is trated properly, it could be hard for you to sort it out.

I too didn't bond with one of my DC for sometime, and had undiagnosed PND for several years. I bonded with him pretty instantly as soon as the PND was treated. I look at him now and feel confused and surprised that I felt anything else, and also at times terrible guilt.

But as Goosey says, walk the talk. It's the best advice. Act as if. Acting As If is one of the best ways to cope. I went out with my DS alone so we could bond, and I couldn't focus on my other DC instead. It helped a bit. (He didn't seem that keen on me either, from birth onwards, which didn't help! smile ) But gradually we had common memories of good times. Now although he still triggers me in a more volatile way than his brother does, I love him so deeply and massively that it's hard to remember it was ever different.

Even if that doesn't happen, even if you don't bond, you are still being a brilliant mother by behaving exactly as you would if you had bonded. All the stuff you mention - co sleeping, slinging, BFing - that's caring, nurturing, loving behaviour, even if it's secretly a huge effort for you.

One thing I wonder - hope this doesn't sound too psycho-babble - is it because it's DD, not DS? May be harder to bond with a girl if you have strong negative misgivings about yourself, and your ability to raise a girl well if your own upbringing led to mental health problems. If you look after yourself better, maybe you'll feel better equipped to raise a happy, self-confident little girl.

There's often a cause for poor bonding. MY DS was ill for years. Perhaps I was scared he'd die and didn't want to get too close. Our bonding coincided with him getting well. He's also depressive. I recognise the symptoms, even though he's a young child, because I had them. I'm trying to train him to think positively but it's a slog. He's very glass half empty (or emptier!)

Some people are harder to love. Sometimes those people are our children. But if we are conscientious and treat them with equal warmth and nurture and affection and good humour, then that's as good as love. Because many parents who deeply love their kids don't show half those qualities because they don't think they need to, and their kids suffer from the lack. I do believe lots of really good care equals love, even if you don't feel the love. She'll thrive in your care. that's what matters. And maybe you'll bond later - maybe in her teens, or even as adults.

It's OK, you know. It feels like the guiltiest, most evil secret in the world, but it isn't. You treat her well, as if you felt that bond, and that's what matters for her. The love may grow from that. It did for me, and I really hope it does for you, but even before it did, things got easier.

NoNotAtAll Sat 20-Aug-11 10:24:39

i just want to say,thankyou,a massive huge thankyou to everyone who has posted.
i read you're repy's everyday,and it makes me feel,less terrible to know it's not only me,and there is hope for our relationship.
im a bit messy atm because im switiching AD's but when im more 'with it' i'll come back and thank you all properly.

natsyloo Sat 20-Aug-11 20:04:07

Keep reading and keep believing - I did exactly the same. PND is complex, debilitating and deceptive - it makes you irrational, guilt ridden, hopeless, desperate and incredibly self critical. You're still being a great mum despite all this. That's really admirable.

I hope you sort your AD issue out. Things will get better. It takes time but you'll get there x

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