to those who didn't bond instantly with their DCs - what helped?(14 Posts)
Looking for advice and reassurance, really.
When DS1 was born, the bond was instant and powerful. With DS2, it has been a lot harder, perhaps because I've been a lot tireder (only 15 month age gap) and/or a bit depressed, and perhaps because DS2 has so far (almost 4 weeks) mostly been asleep whereas DS1 never slept as a newborn. But I'm breastfeeding and co-sleeping and trying yet feeling as though I can't quite connect to or feel passionate about him.
Any experience, ideas or advice on what might help?
It'll come - don't try to force it or worry that you don't 'feel' much yet. It doesn't mean that you won't form a strong bond and feel as passionately about DS2 as you do about DS1! I don't think I thought much beyond 'managing' DC1 until she was about 6 weeks old and started to develop her personality a bit. DC2 it took longer because obviously so much time was taken up with DC1 - probably till he was about 4 months old, to be honest. They only have an 18m age gap so she was at a very busy/demanding time so he just got stuck in the sling for weeks (which he loved, I hasten to add!). I felt like I met him properly when he was about 12-16 weeks.
I've been in the same boat as you. Have a ds 3.5yo and a dd 8mo. It definitely felt different with dd the second time round. Like you I worried about it and was concerned something was wrong, why did I not feel the same as i did with ds, did i not love her the same? My advice would be just to let time do its thing, the feelings will come naturally on their own. Now my dd is 8mo i love and adore her just as i did my ds when he was our only child. I think it's different when you already have another dc. You can't replicate how it was when you first brought a child into the world, all the excitement of that first time. You have another dc to care for (busy, tired, occupied with their needs) and you already know them so much better/intimately than your new ds. With the second, you already know how much hard work having children is, that 'mystique' has kind of gone and you're realistic about all the work and the difficulties. Your second ds sort of needs to fit in with you all, you need to get to know him and he needs to get to know you. I promise you that sometime in the future, be it weeks or months though, you will be just as in love with him as with the first and you will feel overjoyed at having two whom you love so much.
I am sure many more people will be along with their stories to reassure you that it is really quite common - just care for him and the bond will come.
I struggled with DS2 and it wasn't until after his first birthday that I really fell in love with him!
I compare it to falling in love at first sight with your husband/partner or gradually getting to know somebody and then realising you are deeply in love - either can be the basis for a wonderful, long-term relationship and neither is better than the other.
Take care of yourself and try to get as much rest as you can. x
For me, with DS1, it was being left to get on with it.
I was a really anxious first time, reading Gina Ford which wasn't working, receiving negative feedback from my family about using the method in the first place (in hindsight, they were right), them being over everyday 'helping' when DH was at work.
When DS1 was 6 weeks old, I basically told them to leave me alone to get on with it. I clearly remember saying the DS1 'Ok, it's just you and me now', and we went from there. He is now nearly 10 and I love him to bits, although this age can be rather trying . I never had bonding issues with his brothers, as I knew I could do this parenting thing
I had the same thing happen and I was devastated as my DD was a much longed for IVF baby. I wanted to feel besotted, and instead I felt worried and disconnected. I found staying physically close eventually clicked and kicked the bonding process into the right place -like you I was breastfeeding and co-sleeping. Both kept me going but the co-sleeping really helped. Also sling-wearing, and just taking time out from worrying to actually admire and be amazed by her tiny perfection. Feel baby's heart beating, and listen to those gorgeous sleeping noises - all tiny things that add up to a result.
It's totally normal not to have a rush of love at the beginning. From people i've spoken to, it's probably more the norm not to have it than to have it.
When DS was born i knew it was my responsibility to put him first from now on and do the right thing by him and never jeopardise his welfare etc etc, but you can't really love someone you don't yet know imo. It grows over time. I can honestly say that i fall a little bit more in love with him every day and he's now 8 months. His personality is emerging more and more each day and i suppose i 'clicked' with him when i saw his first proper smile. Until then i was too busy getting to grips with being a mum and feeling so different.
Newborns are cute, but let's face it, pretty boring!
Time - quite a lot of it. I was quite stressed about initially and then realised that there was no point. My relationship with my son evolved very slowly over a period of many months but is now probably the strongest bond I have ever had with any one in my life.
I remember looking back when I started to bond with my son, I was holding him with the side of his face against my face, and began to go into a sort of trance-like state of daydreamyness. I can't really explain it. Like when your eyes go unfocused but my mind was unfocused too, and I was just enjoying the nearness of him without worrying about anything else. I didn't think much of it at the time and it lasted a few minutes, but looking back I see that as the point when I began to learn to love him. He was maybe 4 or 6 weeks. It took a few months really, and I didn't start to love him passionately until he was about one. He's almost three now and my love is so fierce it blows me away.
You'll get there - the first weeks are odd, and hard.
I don't think I felt anything much with all 3 until about 6 - 8 weeks when they smiled and I finally got something back from all the drudgery. It's just bloody hard in the beginning, especially if you have a toddler to look after as well. Don't worry. It will happen!
It's a bit of a cliche, but skin-to-skin really helped me and DD1, who was born early and in SCBU for a while.
I hear you! It took ages for me to bond too with DD. Just a suggestion which may or may not work for you.. My HV asked me at 16 weeks whether I'd bonded with DD at which I laughed and said 'no of course not but I'm sure it will come with time'. She (to my surprise as she's usually laid back about everything) she offered me counselling. Her point was that while it will come with time, if it does take months and months, you might regret not feeling more for them in the early months.
I took up her offer (which was specifically to deal with the bonding issues) as I was curious and I honestly thought it was going to be rubbish but I don't know if it was the counselling or the fact that DD stopped sleeping all the time and I actually started paying her some attention instead of running around after my hectic toddler but it really, really helped.
I was also, as it turns out, a bit depressed and upset about a traumatic start to DD's life and just having a sympathetic ear and time to chat to someone when everyone around me thought I was coping brilliantly when I really felt I wasn't didn't go amiss either
Good luck and I'm sure even if you do nothing it will all be fine! X
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