I didn’t enjoy my newborn baby - am I alone?(31 Posts)
My dd is 11 weeks old this weekend and I can’t believe it’s gone so fast. Shes in 3-6month clothes now as she is quite a long baby, and I look back and feel awful that I really didn’t enjoy her newborn stage.
I thought I would be overwhelmed with joy when dd was born but I don’t even remember that moment, I just came to briefly and saw I had a baby, I really regret not being with it enough to see her come out like I wanted to, or look after her afterwards because I was still off my face from the pethidine and diamorphine and in pain with the stitches. I felt useless because I watched dp do everything for her, and I remember being upset because he did such a good job that I felt like dd didn’t need me. Once I was able to move about more in less pain I wanted to be there for her more and I thought breastfeeding would help me bond with her.
I struggled to breastfeed dd because I didn’t do it from day one, I started on day five, and tried with the community midwifes support, to get her to latch but she wouldn’t and I ended up using nipple shields. I remember those early days, struggling with the hour long nursing sessions, waiting for dd to finish and then she would want feeding again half an hour later, it was completely draining and exhausting.
I desperately wanted to continue because I read everywhere it gets easier just persevere. When other people would hold dd and say aw she's rooting, I remember feeling embarrassed like I hadn't fed her enough, like I was neglecting her needs, when in reality I tried my hardest and she was fine but I really struggled with the feeling that I just couldn't satisfy her.
I struggled seeing other people bond with dd because I still hadn't. As soon as we brought her home, I felt like there was constant visitors all wanting to see the baby and hold her and cuddle her, and I hadn't even had chance to bond like I wanted to. People were constantly telling dp how brilliant he was with her and what a natural he is, as well as how much she looked like him. That made me feel more disconnected. I loved her but I didn't even feel like her mum.
Despite all this I still felt some kind of protective instinct. People would offer to look after her or tell me to get some rest but I couldn't leave her because I wanted to make sure she was okay, because that's my job as her mum. I knew people were only offering to help but I felt like they were taking my time with her away from me, like I was incompetent
Some days I felt a bit better, like I was doing okay looking after dd, but the negative feelings returned, particularly when breastfeeding at night, watching other people with her, or when I had time to think by myself. I think these feelings eventually went when dd was about a month old. The good news is I did persevere, it did get better, now I enjoy nursing dd and cuddling her and being with her, I cherish every moment with her. Now I just wish I had enjoyed it more at the beginning because all I have is memories of such sadness, and regrets. I will have to pack away her tiny little sleepsuits soon that no longer fit and its so sad how quick she has grown already
I didn't enjoy the first three months of my son.. Infact I didn't get I to my stride until 6-9 months. We had a pretty traumatic start and he was quite poorly.
However I don't regret that at all. I'm slightly cautious how I will feel with our second who's due in December but I know that it gets easier.
All the crap about enjoy every minute it passes so quickly is just an extra pressure on you and totally ridiculous. How can you enjoy every minute when you're exhausted and have no idea what you are doing?
And there ends my rant for the day!!
First 3 months were incredibly hard I was recovering and in a lot of pain for first 8 weeks then ds was very colicky and I just have memories of him crying and me crying a lot. Around 12 weeks this goy better and we started to have an eve. From 6 months onwards it has got better and better. Ds was so much happier when he could sit then crawl and finally is just such a happy boy now he can walk and cause chaos!
Not alone at all - I felt the same until around 12 weeks. Had a difficult birth and just felt totally unprepared for the realities of life with a newborn. I really hated it and wanted to run away and spent ages feeling like I was a terrible mother. People were congratulating me and being lovely and I just felt totally at odds with it all.
I did bond eventually and it has got stronger ever since and it's fab. She's two now.
When someone I know has a baby I always want to say 'it's ok if you hate it, or regret it, you're not a monster and it will be fine' but I never do because it sounds so negative!
I didn't enjoy the first 6 months of either of my children... Babies are relentless and hard work and the lack of sleep is an absolute killer. I truly believe some people are baby people and others aren't and I don't think there's anything wrong with that as long as the baby is cared for and well looked after! I just think in the grand scheme of things those initial 6 months ish are a tiny part of having a child and I love both my children with all my heart so I just gritted my teeth and got on with it knowing they would soon become funnier / more engaging / more communicative and interesting beings!
I didn't really start enjoying it until about 8-9 months in! DD was always just a bit grumpy and ratty and never seemed as contented as my friends' babies. It took me ages to adjust to my new "routine" and basically come to terms with just sitting and feeding for hours. She was also much happier once she started crawling.
She is now 3 and it has become easier and easier - though I now sometimes find myself missing all the time I had to watch Netflix!
I could quite easily have skipped the first 18 months until the sleep got better. You're not alone!
I remember telling DS1 that I loved him when he was about 7 weeks old, and realising with some surprise that I meant it. Prior to that I hadn't loved him, I'd just looked after him because, well, what else can you do?
New born babies are awful, especially your first. Nothing prepares you for the lack of sleep.
It was much easier with Ds2. As a friend said, 'your life is already ruined' !
Everything you have described is perfectly normal.
I can really, really, really relate to what you say about feeling incompetent.
I had a very straightforward birth etc, no problems feeding, but DS would not sleep during the day, but liked to scream the house down with tiredness.
It was dreadful and really, really affected my bonding (which had been great initially), and I hated anyone taking him as I felt like they know what they were doing and taking him because I clearly didn't. Which was obviously not true, but I was all a fluster.
Anyway, he's 1 now and he's amazing and we are incredibly well bonded. And now the thought of no 2 doesn't seem so bad... Remind me of that if we ever do have another....
Newborns are really boring.It's a total myth that everyone bonds instantly with their baby. When it's your first you don't know what to do with them either. Your experience sounds very similiar to mine, down to being off my face on pethidine although I had an emergency C section as I ended up quite ill with pre-eclampsia and we struggled to breast feed for other reasons and i never did manage, i expressed using a breast pump for 4 months until my milk supply tailed off. I didn't feel any bond for a few weeks and it definitely took a month or 2 to really love him as i felt i should.
He got much more interesting as time went on though, 4 months onwards was better, they start developing little personalities of their own, and he kept on getting more fun, he's 2 next month and totally awesome. And frustrating and strong willed and hard work, but loads of fun.
And I'm due another in 2 weeks. I'm hoping this will be a better experience.
No. I didn't have a clue what I was doing, bf was a disaster and I was in a lot of pain. It did feel much easier by 3 months.
Totally normal - after an emergency C section, a colicky, refluxy baby who didn't like being a baby, post natal depression, and despite breastfeeding being the one thing that did go well for us, it was about 9 months before I actually enjoyed being a mum to my son. He was 1 last month and it's just got better and better as he's learned to move around, started to try speech, and used some baby signing. There's nothing wrong with not enjoying being the mother of a newborn, especially your first. It's so so hard. Hope you find more pleasure as the months go on but please don't blame yourself for not loving every minute!
No. Not alone. I have a theory that many, many people find their first exactly like you describe (but don't say it). The good news is that, if you have more, it gets easier (I have three now).
And I know it seems now like she's huge. But it's a blink of an eye. I have a six year old and she feels so, so big. And then someone will come along with a 15 year old and say "aw, she's still so little". Even if 11 weeks aren't how you wanted, you still have at least three times as much 'babyhood' left. Probably a lot more depending on when you define toddlerhood starting.
you're not alone
i am just not compatible with newborns
in fact I'm pretty shite with under ones
i think a lot of it is to do with sleep. I need a lot, far more than DH, and I really suffer with broken nights. and my babies were not smiley, placid ones. they were proper grumpy little sods.
in fact with each of my children the first 6mo was awful, the next 6mo a bit of a grind, and then fairly plain sailing from their first birthdays. Mine are now both school age and I just love everything about them, apart from the stench of dd1's slippers.
Another one here. I didn't enjoy the newborn stage with either of mine, in fact with my second who is almost 6 months I remember sobbing and thinking Id made a huge mistake. I didn't have a nice second birth, she almost didn't make it. She cluster fed from 11pm until 5am solid every night, and every hour in between for the rest of the day. I couldn't put her down (later found out she had reflux), she wouldn't sleep in the day, I was on my knees. I turned to formula when she was 4 weeks old and I was on the verge of a breakdown.
It's relentless, it's hard work, sleep deprivation is a killer, you're in pain, you had a difficult birth. You are completely normal. Don't feel guilty, it's much more common than you'd think.
I absolutely adore my baby now, she has a little personality, she sleeps, and she's just gorgeous. There's nothing in the world that would make me have another baby and go through those first few weeks again. Twice was enough.
Your story sounds scarily similar to mine apart from the thing with having a lot of visitors all the time. I struggled very much because I had an emergency C section and afterwards had an infection from water breaking early and my baby had an infection too and the antibiotis messed up my stomach and breastfeeding wasn't working. The biggest struggle was not being able to breastfeed my baby boy for more that 2 and a half months and I felt like the worst mum in the world. Got to talk to a therapist who honestly didn't help at all - I recovered pretty well all by myself in the. It might sound odd and selfish but everything became better for both me and my baby when I gave up on breastfeeding. I fought with it for too long and it was hurting me instead of making me enjoy being a mum for the first time! If I could I'd gladly have breastfed him even longer but it's a long painful story and I really don't want to go into it... And that is when I started to enjoy being a mum and my now 6 month old son is my whole entire world and I love him more that I've ever loved anyone in my life! ??
Didn't enjoy DD's early days either. Had a rough birth and didn't get to hold her or even see her for nearly an hour after she was born. I was the last person to do so, although they did put her on my chest for a few seconds when she first came out. I didn't get to bond properly.
Then bf didn't work and I dreaded her crying so much. I sobbed whenever we tried. On day 4 I said no more and gave her formula. Everything was fine after that, then the reflux started. Then it turned out she had CMPA. I was a sleep deprived mess who bawled when DH left in the morning, although I know I didn't have PND. I was just utterly exhausted with everything. I didn't like being a Mum. Some days I didn't like her at all.
Now though, apart from awful phases where she won't sleep (like now!), she's my little pal and I love her to the moon and back. She's 20mo and it's flown by, and although I do almost miss SOME of those newborn days, I'm so enjoying watching her grow and learn. Every stage has made life better, even though I have to have eyes up my bum so she doesn't end up doing something dangerous, having a toddler is, for me, sososo much better than a newborn.
From how I felt in those early days to how I feel now... It's just amazing.
It's okay to feel the way you do
So much of what you say resonates with me, especially the bits about other bonding with her before you got to. I didn't enjoy it either. I fucking hated it, in fact. Being a new mother felt like living on Mars with a little alien - lonely and stuck with this being I couldn't understand. 4 days of painful horrendous labour ended in an emcs. His first week was spent in hospital, we both had infections and I couldn't feed or change him because the cannula's in both our hands kept getting pulled out and re-siting them was so difficult and painful. He couldn't latch at all and for his first 3 days he was underfed, had the infection and couldn't sleep with all the mucus in the throat. He screamed literally all night one night, ran the midwives completely ragged. DP was there 8am-8pm every day to look after him but when he woke in the night I had to call the midwives to sort him out. I think the trauma, pain and rage had a massive effect on how I felt about DS. I just couldn't warm to him. I felt rage and jealousy when others held him but I didn't want to hold him myself. The whole family went mushy and gushed like mad at the first photo of DS and DNephew. Every time I see that photo all I remember is the irritation I felt at them both. I was so looking forward to my own DS getting to bond with the nephew I adore, but when it came to their first meeting I couldn't feel happy at all. I feel like I lost a lot in those first few weeks.
DS is 5 months now and I really quite like the little bugger. He's got a lovely smile and making him laugh is amazingly satisfying. Part of me wishes I could have appreciated those early days like a mother is 'supposed' to.
I think though, that going through all of this pain isn't actually a bad thing. I think that some people are natural mothers but for some people, a bit of adversity really helps make the bond stronger. People have said "it'll be different with the next one" but I think this is the only time I'll ever put myself through this. Hard as it was at first, DS is enough, he is the world these days.
Sorry for the life story, just wanted you to know you're not alone
I tend to compare the experience of having a newborn to trench warfare. There are long periods of boredom interspersed with moments of gut-wrenching terror. And lots of bodily fluids.
Seriously, I don't understand why anyone gets excited about babies. Toddlers on the other hand are awesome, when you get to that point it all becomes worthwhile.
You will survive, I promise. I was shockingly bad at this period and my DS is safely at 3. If I can do it, anyone can.
Another one here who felt exactly how you described, OP. The first 4 weeks after DD was born were hard - harder than I ever thought possible. I (& everyone close to me) was so focused on the pregnancy & what my body was doing at each bloody stage, thinking about & preparing for life post pregnancy completely passed me by. And it hit me like a tonne of bricks. I used any excuse I could to get out of the house, which made me feel even worse through the guilt of wanting to be away from her, compounded even more by the fact everyone else around me seemed to be so good with her, knowing what they were doing. I'd cry & tell everyone that would listen how much I regretted having a child, & how I dearly wished I was back at work. I simply didn't bond with her instantly as everyone said I would - this is one of the biggest myths of parenthood IMO. The lack of sleep really is a killer too, & makes everything seem much much worse.
Something clicked after 4 weeks though & I started to enjoy her more & more. She is now 18 weeks & I couldn't imagine life without her. She's a beautiful little person with her own little personality & I'm savouring every moment of watching her grow. Like you, I look back on those early weeks & feel sad I felt the way I did, that I didn't make more of it, that I didn't hold her more, cuddle her to sleep more, want to be around her more.
Don't beat yourself up about it. As this thread shows, it's absolutely normal
I hope this doesn't sound glib but you DO still have a lot of time to enjoy your baby. I've had 2 - my 2nd is 7 months - and there's plenty more special moments to enjoy with her.
I'm sorry you had such a tough time but it sounds like you've done brilliantly. Birth and newborns- bloody hard work!!
Thanks to everyone for sharing your stories, it's helped me to realise it is more common than I thought. It's crazy that it's not generally spoken about because the idillic love at first sight scenario I had in my mind could not have been further from the reality of having a newborn, and only made me feel worse when I didn't feel that way. I'm glad it got better for everyone
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