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Why aren't I enjoying it?(34 Posts)
Hi, first ever post so sorry if I get things wrong. My DD is 9 weeks old and is pretty much the perfect baby (so everyone keeps telling me). She sleeps a bit, she feeds fine (formula fed) and doesn't cry too much. I get out and about, see friends and family etc and DH is besotted and helpful.
So, my question is, why am I not enjoying it? I'm tearful all the time and feel completely overwhelmed and exhausted by the relentlessness of it. My maternity leave feels like a long, lonely abyss stretching out before me. People say it just gets harder. I feel like this isn't my life and that I've wandered into someone else's by mistake.
Is there such a thing as just not being cut out for motherhood?
Your hormones are all over the place, you are not getting full nights' sleep even if your baby is a good sleeper, and having a baby throws your world upside down as you are now responsible for a fragile human being who is totally dependent on you. Babies are also boring.
It's perfectly normal not to be deliriously happy about this state of affairs.
Do speak to your health visitor about how you are feeling, they can tell you if it's normal exhaustion or possibly heading into PND territory, there's a questionnaire they can give you.
Maternity leave can also be lonely. Do try getting out and about to baby groups if you can, and talk to other mothers in the same situation.
You are tired and your hormones are all over the place. There is no user manual and everybody jumps in to tell you what you should be doing. All the time you feel as if your body has been misappropriated and somebody has stolen you - and you are suposed to love that somebody unconditionally... I didn't enjoy the first part of being a parent. It gets better - honestly. The people who are telling you it gets harder just want to be admired for getting to where they are. It gets different - not harder.
It takes time to bond with your baby, I'm sure there are some mothers who are are absolutely text book cases and are perfect from day one, but most of us it takes time.
What you feel is perfectly normal your hormones are all over the place and this idea that it should be fun and enjoyable immediately doesn't help.
I felt very much the same. DH would ask if there was anything he could get me, expecting me to ask for a cup of tea. I would sob that I just wanted my old life back. I felt like I'd made the hugest mistake. I sobbed every time we received a card or present, because I knew I should be happy about her but I just wasn't.
It did get better. Gradually. Although I do still have odd moments of wishing it all away. I was delighted to go back to work and regain some of my old self.
Those first few months are so bloody overwhelming. Hugs.
I felt exactly the same, I remember it clearly and this was 12 years ago. Ds1 was a good baby, slept well etc but my fog only cleared when I went back to work when he was 17 weeks old (p/t). The relief I felt for someone else to take some of the responsibility and to regain some of my former life was immense. I most certainly wasn't depressed, just (dare I say it) rather bored.
This time does pass but for me it went far too slowly. Don't feel guilty about feeling this way. I believe it is far more common than people admit to.
It's hard work most of the time at this stage and that's just the trying to stay awake part
I thought of mine as those tamagotchi toys at that age, eat - poop - sleep and repeat.
This WILL pass and your baby will smile and giggle at you and the enjoyment part will sneak up on you.
Thanks everyone for your kind words. I expected things to get easier when she started to smile and respond a bit more but it hasn't. I just keep thinking I've made a huge mistake and now there's no going back.
Not everyone loves the baby stage- I certainly didn't. I never wanted 'a baby', I wanted a family. To me the baby bit is a stage to get over to get to the main event. Not everyone feels the same, some love the baby stage. I think plenty on Mn agree it is boring at the beginning.
Have you considered post natal depression? It might be worth telling the HV how you are feeling in case that is the cause. It does get easier as they get older though. In the first weeks all you do is feed, change, cuddle, and repeat. It is not surprising not everyone finds it easy. I hope you feel happier soon.
What everyone else said. And it doesn't get harder - it gets easier and more rewarding every month. I found baby stage terrible - exactly as you describe as if I'd made a terrible mistake - but am besotted by my toddler. Hang in there for a month or two and you should be finding it improves and get some help if you feel you need it.
The HV did a questionnaire with me in the last visit and said I didn't have PND. At this moment I just want to leave and never come back, or hand her over to someone who'll do a better job. Everyone else is totally besotted with her but I just don't feel it.
DH is downstairs with her now getting her ready to go out for some NYE thing and I'm supposed to be getting ready, but it's all just hit me at once that I don't lover her enough. Should I just grit my teeth and get on with it?
It's just not as perfect and wonderful all the time or anywhere near as fulfilling as they tell you it will be.
Might also be a bit of PND in there too, but I think it's just a bit of a let down when you realise parenthood isn't magical like all of those photoshoots and adverts and facebook posts seem to suggest it will be - it's jarring. It's not even the up and down that some things suggest it is. Much of the time life with children is very, very mundane, but not ordinary because everything has changed in a very jarring way. Not the obvious ways you would expect but silly little things - you can't pop to the corner shop without making arrangements for the baby or packing several days' worth of supplies and taking her with you.
It will get better - it becomes ordinary, you deal with the downsides without blinking, the highs do come. You will go through stages where you resent your child and stages where they are the most wonderful being in the universe, but most of the time they will just be family. Just as irritating, just as demanding, just as loving, just as indispensable.
It gets harder but not in the way it's hard now - it's the logistics and mental gymnastics which are harder. Trying to figure out how to get a child to school on time when they are refusing to get dressed and you can't carry them for example, trying to work out how best to keep your teenager safe from gangs and drugs. That kind of thing is what people mean when they say it gets harder. The feeling that you're not cut out for this gets better - it comes in fits and starts, because nobody knows what to do the first time they do it, and that happens at every stage, but the sense of "Where is my old life?" does get easier, and the hormones level out, and the older they get the more they are a real person who can show you something back.
Oh, love, you will love her. It's such a cruel myth that you immediately fall in love with your child all at once the moment they are placed on your chest. Many, many people don't. It's a relationship like any other and it takes time. You've known her a little over two months and she is almost animal like in her vulnerability still. I promise you it won't be any less real or intense when you do realise that you love her, and it will come.
Grit your teeth and get dressed up and enjoy the praise and everyone cooing over her tonight even if it feels fake or you are wondering "Why can't I see that?" You will, you will see it long past the time that everyone else gets bored and there is a newer baby to coo over (and another new mum feeling equally shellshocked.)
Everything is wrong at a few weeks old. This time next year you will barely remember feeling like this and wonder what happened. You'll be in your stride, you will have this. You are the best mother for your baby, remember that. However much you feel like somebody else could do a better job, they couldn't. You are all and everything that she needs and you are absolutely enough.
So sorry you are feeling this way OP. The HV assessment is not conclusive it is merely a screening tool. Go to your GP and tell them everything you wrote here.
I also suggest you get out and about to meet other mums it helps to meet others experience something similar. Best of luck it will get better.
I absolutely hated the baby stage, I found it lonely, tedious, overwhelming etc. I personally found it much easier the older they got, even with tantrums etc I could see the little person my DCs were becoming. My 2 are now 6 and 10 and I really love being a parent but I didn't feel like at that at all for the first few months with both of them. It will get better, I found it totally overwhelming having a baby and just wished for my old life back and hated people saying "isn't it lovely etc" when I didn't feel like that. One friend made me feel much better when she came round to see me with her DS and when I opened the door she said "it's shit isn't it", I felt like she was the only one who understood how I felt.
Remember your hormones are going to be all over the place too, but it will get easier. I found it invaluable meeting up with my postnatal group as even if I didn't want 2 go out to meet them, I forced myself and found the support of knowing we were all in the same position helpful.
It honestly does get easier. They become more if a person over time, they develop more of a natural routine and you know them/ their reactions better, so you can work around naps/feeds/being grouchy etc.
If it helps, I found the first couple of months hell. So boring, exhausting and terrifying. I didn't feel a "rush" of lovefor DD until about 3m. But by 4m I adored her, found her pretty easy and felt sorry for other parents with kids who were clearly inferior to mine!
You do need to talk to other adults. Baby groups are good. You don't just discuss babies! If you try enough (I tried all the ones in my area) you'll find a bunch if people who feel like you, or who've been through it and understand.
It will never be as hard as it is today. Tomorrow will be easier, and every day after that is easier too. You learn the shortcuts, to interpret their wants and needs better, and everything is easier on some sleep, which will come, in time. I hated maternity leave. It wasn't the 'luxury' my friends talked about. It was miserable and lonely, and I counted the minutes until my DH got home. I have twins and felt unable to go to groups and things with the two of them, but that's the answer - get out as much as you can, even if it's just going for a walk. I spent a lot of time at the Trafford Centre - I could eat an actual meal, and have hot coffee, and the babies would sleep, or be awake but stimulated by lights and people. Baby cinema is a good shout too. Join a MN post natal group and see if there's anyone near you. Two of my RL best friends started as MN 'friends'
The girls are toddlers now and are brilliant. Yes, there are hard days but it's never as hard as it was when they were that age. At 8 weeks we started getting them in a bath/milk/bed routine and it did wonders for my sanity getting my evenings back. Even now I often meet up with friends/go shopping after they're in bed - planning on joining a gym in the new year and going after bedtime.
You will be fine. You will get through this, and tomorrow will be easier (even if tomorrow involves shit on the sofa and spilt milk, you will be a day on).
Intheway I felt very similar with my DD. I so clearly remembering asking myself what on earth I had done to my life. I was anaemic and had PND. It may be worth going to the drs and having a chat.
I was always exhausted even though DD slept through from 8 weeks. There were times I just wanted to hand her over as I was just too overwhelmed. I also did not have the overwhelming loving feeling at all. I can't even remember when that came I must be honest.
Don't beat yourself up and talk to your DH about how you're feeling. There is NO shame in how you are feeling.
Big hugs to you.
Morning everyone and thank you all for taking the time to reply to me and for all your help and reassurance.
Yesterday was undoubtedly a bad day and things seem a little better this morning. It's good to know that I'm not the only one feeling this way. I have made a New Years resolution to try to enjoy DD more and to get out as much as I can. I've also posted on a MN post natal group so thank you diet coke for that suggestion.
I'll tell my HV how I've been feeling and see where we go from there. I want to much to be good at this, so will try harder from now on!
Thank you again, you're all amazing.
I remember visitors asking us 'Do you feel really different?' and my husband saying 'No I feel like the same person, just one with a baby now' and I was like 'What??? I feel like my entire life has been blown apart and will never be the same ever again and it's terrifying!' (Didn't say all that out loud....). I think it gets easier, not harder. Do talk to your HV. You are good at it- as good as it's possible to be, and that is good enough. You're keeping a wee human alive. That is amazing, even if you don't feel amazing, it is, and you are. xxx
Just do what you can Inthewaysince82 NO ONE expects perfection.
This is coming from someone that decided in the early days that ironing was indeed the way to be perfect. Drove myself demented for about 2 weeks as the baby couldn't possibly touch anything unironed.
One day I just seemed to wake up and think what the hell was I doing. The fog lifted and life returned to normal-ish mode
I would say it gets easier, not harder.
Also some good advice i got was, when thinking about the phase your baby is in... " nothing lasts", even the toughest times come to an end, or they change. I had PND, what you describe sounds a bit like it.
my experience went roughly as follows:
- first 4 months: what is this hell and where is my passport so I can fly away forever
- 4-6 months: ok this is now manageable but boy am I bored/tired
- 6-10 months: she's now very responsive and cute and will play by herself a bit. Starting to see the point of having DC
- 10-18 months: starting to fall in love (return to work helped!)
- 18+ months: DD is amazing, fantastic (still hard work but so worth it) and in fact we are having another one (having sworn in the early months I never would).
I did have a very difficult baby OP so hopefully these timescales would be a bit quicker for you. What helped me is that I never expected to enjoy the baby stage...
Minipie, your post was exactly what I needed to read! My 3 month old DS is still very very hard work (being right in the middle of a "wonder week" at the moment isn't helping...) and I'm so happy to read that it's possible to find this period hellish and still emerge in love with my wee boy and have a better time. I know your post was directed at the OP, but on behalf of anyone who is struggling like I am at the moment, thank you.
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