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No bond at 12 months. :((68 Posts)
DD is our second, we have a 3 year old who I absolutely adore with all my heart.
I just feel very little towards her. Never have. I wasn't too worried in the early days/months, but am concerned now. It's going on a bit long, isn't it?
What if I never love her very much? She's a nice kid, her Dad really enjoys her. She should have a Mum who enjoys her too.
I can't admit this to a living soul.
I'm hoping to give this a bump for you. I couldn't read and run. There could be so many reasons for these feelings, for example, did you have a particularly traumatic birth experience, undiagnosed pnd - to name a few. I know you don't want to talk to anyone in RL but imo it would be worthwhile having a chat to your GP or someone else qualified to guide you through this. This will be really tough for you bless you. Does your partner know how you feel? Anyway, here's hoping someone will come along with some advice, all the best.
I don't see what anyone could do? I don't think a GP could do anything except prescribe tablets and they aren't going to give me a bond.
I definitely think I has undiagnosed PND in hindsight. It has been hell. I only had her as a companion for DS (which is working out very very well as he loves her to bits and they have a brilliant relationship) but maybe this is a consequence of having a child without being actually broody, I don't know. I kinda felt I "had" to, for him, and maybe it was too much for me back to back as I have very bad pregnancies. And find breastfeeding horrendous. So everything was negative in a physical sense throughout pregnancy and then thereafter. That's a long time. And she's a shit sleeper and a shit eater. Shes very happy in between those things but I guess there's just too much in the debit column on a daily basis. Or maybe I wouldn't think that if I loved her more.
But now I have gone back to work and am really enjoying it and feel pretty positive about everything so the PND must surely be gone? The only thing that's "wrong" is that I feel neutral at best towards this child. I feel she is DHs child, who is living in my house. I do right by her, I tick all the parenting boxes, she likes me, I'm a competent and calm caregiver......but I can take or leave her. Nobody can magically change that.
She really is a nice kid. I feel ashamed she hasn't got a Mum who really loves her. I try to tick all the nurturing boxes so she doesn't miss out. I make myself kiss and cuddle her a lot, so I don't fuck her up somehow.
I think it's really brave to admit this. I think it might be worth seeking some counselling and seeing if that helps at all as it could be linked to possible PND from when she was born etc.
I really would talk through the possibility of PNI with your GP or possibly ring one of the PNI Helplines. I agree that yiu are being very candid to admit this, but as a daughter of a mother who has never really loved me, it will affect your relationship, whether you intend it to or not. Surely she deserves you looking into the possibility?
I'm so surprised and moved to read your posts, Roz. I am in a very similar situation and felt very alone and full of self-loathing.
We had our second child largely as a companion for our daughter. She is nearly 3 and he is nearly 1. I adore her with such a passion and have since the day we found out we were pregnant. She is a rambunctious, hilarious, bolshy, loving, wonder-girl. She's difficult and inspiring and all I could ever have wished for.
Then we found out we were having a boy and we weren't thrilled. Both anxious about raising and loving a boy. He is a sweet, beautiful, plumptious child who entertains himself and smiles at everyone and eats anything and asks for little. He's easy going and very loved by everyone who knows him. Except me. I am indifferent to him. I look at him dispassionately and find him rather an irritation. I keep him alive. I tend to his physical needs. I speak to him when necessary. I keep him safe and buy him nice things and feed him and bathe him and encourage his little sister to be kind to him. I feel sorry for him and I long to develop the feelings. But they are not there. It's not improving really.
He was born 2 weeks before my beloved mum was diagnosed with terminal cancer. She died 2 months later. I developed anti-feelings for him. Those are dissipating somewhat as my grief eases but there is nothing underneath. No love. Only regret.
I tried therapy. It was a disaster. I'm going to go and see my doctor. I am so worried about him turning into a sociopath.
Oh roz honestly you have done the right thing to talk on this, even though it isn't in real life.
A three and a one year old are VERY hard work and drains the life out of you. Coupled with perhaps pnd (which I only recognised at 9months pp and was in the depths of at 12 months pp) - this is a difficult time.
Maybe see you gp
Ruby it's funny, I lost my Mum suddenly literally just before I became pregnant. So I lost her and then was thrown into a terrible pregnancy. I don't blame DD for any of it, but I suppose I see her as adding more stress and difficulty to every single day. I am weary of her needs.
Last night I did the Edinburgh PND scale and scored pretty low. 11 I think. 10+ is the line so I'm barely over it.
Then I did a bonding scale I found and I scored very high in all categories except the "I want to hurt my child" one which was a zero (I don't have any of that).
So apparently I don't have PND, but it's a bonding disorder. Considered mild as there's no agressive thoughts.
I also found out from reading research papers that treatment for PND has not been shown to help with bonding, but it does help with depression. So if I don't actually have PND anymore, I don't think there's much available. There was some talk about specialised mother/child bonding therapy, but I think that's only in the US. Certainly nothing like that here! I would take it if there was, but I'm in the health services and know there's nothing like that in this area.
The upsetting thing is that all the Internet has to offer are dire warnings about how you will mess up your child, but no practical solutions to help. That upset me a lot.
I could go to the GP on Monday but I know well she would just offer me tablets and put me on the waiting list for individual counselling. What good would that do? It doesn't even include DD!
I told a little bit to DH last night. I think he was a bit taken aback, though it was not completely out of the blue as he was aware how hellish this past year has been. His attitude is "It will come in time when she starts to talk and becomes hilarious". I truly hope so. I want to be normal, and she deserves it.
This morning she has been fine. She only woke up once last night. Yet I just wish DH would take her over. I don't do that of course, I make myself be very hands on. She hasn't much interest in me, its all about Daddy, so she tends to wriggle out of my arms or slap me in the throat to crawl over to him. So it's quite difficult to kiss and cuddle her as much as I feel I should.
op it's very brave of you to admit this. I would definitely consider counselling of some sort.
I think the fact you are posting shows you probably care about her more than you think. Keep caring for her as your beloved DS's beloved DSis and treat her well in order to make him happy. Hopefully in time your feelings will grow towards her. You cannot force the love, but you can fake it and hopefully make it over time but I definitely recommend professional help.
Btw I don't even mind that at the moment she's all about Daddy. I know it's not necessarily a reflection on my care, as they all go through a Daddy phase. DS did too. The difference is back then I minded terribly.
This time I'm more grateful than anything as it means she doesn't need me as much as him at the moment. Every time she chooses him over me, it's a tiny relief. That's shameful.
I'm hoping by the time she goes through a Mummy phase I will have started loving her, and can reciprocate properly without having to fake it.
I agree it is very brave of you to admit this💛OP. Sounds like you need something like this:
I have been both a user of and a donator to this organisation.
In my area - but worth contacting them by email to see if they can recommend anything in your area or someone privately perhaps?
Oh love, what a hard, sad, thing. Well done for admitting it and trying to seek help.
It honestly isn't too late, there are lots of things you can do to promote bonding - adoptive parents of much older children manage it, and so can you. Some suggestions:
* Lots of physical contact, skin-to-skin if possible. One-year-olds love this - hug her, tickle her, have a bath with her, pretend to gobble her up for dinner, hang her upside down by her ankles. Skin-to-skin is best, but any form of contact releases serotonin, which is the bonding hormone. Sit her on your lap and cuddle her and read her stories or just watch TV together. Let your son join in if he wants to - your lap is big enough for two.
* Share food with her. Eating together is a brilliant way to bond, even between adults. Get a plate of cut-up food - you said she's not a great eater, so put treats on there, things she likes - ice cream or cake (it won't matter once in a while). And then share it with each other. Let her feed you. (Most kids love this) and feed her. Let your older kid join in, and she'll probably want to copy him.
* Spend time just really listening and watching her and trying to respond to her needs. If she looks sad, hurry over and comfort her. If she's enjoying something, go and do it again so she laughs. If she wants something, get it for her. Try and have as much of a conversation with her as you can - I know that's a weird thing to say about a child who probably isn't talking much yet, but just concentrate on really watching and listening to her and responding. There's a thing called mirror neurones, which is how a child learns to feel sad when sad things happen to other people, and pleased when other people are happy. Model that for her and she'll model it back for you (eventually) and that's one of the ways people bond.
* Try and sort the sleep out. I know that's easier said than done, but if sleep training is what you need to have the energy to cope with this, then it's worth it. We left it way longer than we ought to to sleep train our DS, and once we did, the difference was astonishing. He went from regularly waking up several times, to immediately sleeping straight through.
And I agree with PP that if you can talk to your HV or doctor or try and get referred to somewhere like the charity above, that would be massively helpful. HomeStart are also good at this sort of thing. www.home-start.org.uk/
I'm sure you're already doing some of this stuff, but it does help. And if you've scored 11 for PND and the threshold is 10, then you do have PND, and should get help for that too.
Oh OP, I could have written your post almost exactly. For me it stems from not being able to breastfeed dc4 after feeding my other babies to toddlerhood. I was very much into 'attachment parenting' and realised that if I couldn't have another baby to breastfeed I didn't really want him at all. I know how horrific that sounds but I definitely acknowledge we had him for all the wrong reasons. Combined with the guilt of starving him for his first 10 days of life I could barely look at him. Of course as I'm not feeding him dh can do all his comforting, getting him to sleep etc...I pumped exclusively for 9 months, it was a fucking awful year and I'm on antidepressants. But even though I can function now the bond just isn't there and like you I'm so so worried it will fuck him up. He's 16 months now and I know he must be aware of it. My motto has been to fake it until I make it but it's not getting any better. I'm due to start counselling soon so hope that will help. I did find a clinic in London, I'll look up the details in a sec but it seems they focus on the mother child relationship once it's already fucked
Sorry to not be much help but you are not alone. My GP explained that antidepressants can help get you to a place where you can get the most out of counselling and will certainly help you feel a smidge brighter so might be worth exploring.
I think you need some attachment therapy and support which the GP can definitely refer you to so please don't think that no help can be given. From the fact that you've posted on here I think you want to change how things are and it's really important for your daughter that you do. It's not too late; from what you've said you've had a really tough time and it's not surprising you feel this way but please do get some help.
Thank you for the links, unfortunately I'm in Ireland. I don't think I've been too outing, I've obvs NC'd, but I should explain I'm not in the UK.
I think I will go to the GP next week. I may be able to get an appt for Tuesday. I have to say I feel pretty fucking depressed about it right now. I feel shit about it. The guilt is terrible.
Today she has picked up a tummy bug and has projectile vomited a couple of times, once in the supermarket and once after lunch. In between she's sunny as anything so I think she'll be ok now it's out. And even when she's puking all over the place it still doesn't move me. Am I actually a robot?
The thing is, it's not really down to an absence of skin to skin etc. We co slept for months - had to, as she woke up so much. She literally slept on my arm for 6 months. Didn't make any difference . Just frustrated me. I remember at one point crying to DH that I just wanted her to go away for a while. What I meant but didn't say was that I just wanted her to go away full stop.
The sleep has improved considerably. Only one very bad night in about four, now. But hasn't changed anything.
I don't think anything will particularly help. But I must be humble enough to ask.
The only time I genuinely smile at her is when she's in the buggy and we're walking. She's quiet and easy and smiles at the world and it's very sweet. The other day we were in a shop and she kept putting out her hand to feel the clothes as we passed, and she would shriek with delight at the feeling of the fabric. It was charming and I found myself laughing too. So I wheeled her all around the store so she could touch everything. But I can't kid myself that's anything other than I would do for any random child.
Just a few words about my own experiences. I have a little girl almost 4 and a little girl almost 2 who I adore equally, and are like chalk and cheese.
However that wasn't always the case, although I will admit I didn't feel like you did for as long as you both did.
Our first child was born after 4 years of TTC and on our 3rd round of IUI. She was premature and so was so precious to us. She was a tiny 4lb little doll like baby, everyone adored her.
We had always wanted 2 children. For me, after the realisation of how hard being a parent is I wasn't 100% sure I wanted another and I'm ashamed to say I went ahead with it for my DH.
I fell pregnant naturally with our 2nd, and she was almost full term and a very large baby. I went through a horrific birth and was very ill afterwards. All I felt towards her was resentment for blowing apart our perfect little family of 3. As I was ill our older daughter didn't know what all the upheaval was about and wouldn't eat and sleep, and I felt such guilt over putting her in that situation. And I resented being back awake all night, night feeds, and not having the time i did before for the elder child.
Looking back this all changed at about 3 months old and I'm pretty sure it was PND, although I never spoke to anyone about how I felt. Very recently I spoke to my DH about it and he felt exactly the same and was so relieved. I also believe we were both traumatised to some extent from the birth, he actually said it was the most horrific thing he'd ever seen and for a few minutes thought the baby wasn't alive.
We both felt that after 3-4 months when the littlest started showing her personality that everything started to fall into place then. Of course, for other families it might take longer. The younger DD is now the apple of everyone's eye, she's so chilled, sleeps well, eats well, gorgeous and chubby, laughing non stop.
So I just wanted to say that although you feel like this now it might not always be the case.
Please please see your GP, they will not judge. Especially as you have both been through the loss of a parent too while going through having a new baby too.
Bless you both. Things WILL change xx
Op I wonder are you getting enough 'me' time / are you introverted and need to recharge more.
Is dh pulling is weight. Maybe there are practical ways to solve this. I get you on the go front (also in Ireland and tablets offered and very little else )
Roz I feel exactly the same. It's such a sad situation and I'm just the same as you- I just don't know what help there could be for me. Similarly I scored just over the cut off for PND and very high for a bonding disorder (the same as you with zero scores for wanting to harm him), and I'm pretty sure there's no local support for that.
In my case I have a 16 month old little boy. He is our only child, though we've talked about having another one- we'd always imagined we'd have two. In the context of my problems bonding it maybe doesn't make sense to have another one, but then we're in the middle of the whole baby thing now, so one more doesn't seem to make much difference somehow, and I'm hoping they'd have a good bond with each other. And my DH is well bonded. In fact my DH is absolutely wonderful as a dad, my DS is so lucky to have him.
My DH and I were never totally sure we wanted kids, but always had a sense that we'd regret it if we didn't. Which with hindsight perhaps isn't the best way to decide to have a child. I fell pregnant almost immediately, which was a huge shock. I don't know if I was depressed particularly during the pregnancy, but I definitely felt very detached. I always felt like I was going through the motions, like I was acting out how a pregnant person should think and feel. And I was so sick through most of the pregnancy, it was utterly miserable. The birth was straightforward.
I absolutely hated the early weeks/months. The sleep deprivation was absolutely horrendous. I breast fed and found the night feeds so awful. Feeding has always been quite painful as well (I'm still breastfeeding him a couple of times a day), so all in all it's been a very long 16 months.
When he got to around a year it started to feel like I was starting to see the light a little bit, like things were getting a bit less hard. He started sleeping a bit better around then, so maybe just a consequence of getting more sleep.
But the way you described it is exactly how I feel- I just feel totally neutral towards him. Of course he does cute stuff that's funny etc, but I don't feel any differently towards him than I do towards any other child. As you said, I'm a totally competent caregiver. I respond to him warmly and positively, we play, sing, talk, read books etc etc. But I feel completely neutral towards him.
It's just such a sad situation. And I'm so worried I'll mess him up. Bonding and attachment are so important.
So just to say, you're not alone. I'll be reading this thread to see what thoughts people have. I am worried people will read this and think I'm coming across completely cold and awful, but I'm trying to be honest. It's so sad, I never imagined I'd feel like this about my own child.
I too have different feelings towards one of my children. In my case it's my teenager, I don't feel the same love as I do with my 2 other children, and never have.
In my case it didn't become apparent for many years, as he's 10 years older than them, but I have never experienced love like I have for my others towards him.
I'm aware that this is awful, and I would do anything to change it.
I over compensate due to these feelings with him, and try and show him love in other ways, but I think he's going to grow up completely screwed up by me
I think I had a degree of this... I felt like nothing more than a dairy cow for the first year and then just a person for another couple. DD was a Daddy's girl. Didn't need me. I used to work away without a backwards glance and when I got home she'd be upset because I was back. She was a terrible sleeper (still is really) and I just saw parenthood as a chore that had to be done.
But wanted to say it does change. At 10, she seeks me out for comfort. Things started to change at about age 5 when we spent a whole summer together. She asks for Mummy Daughter days when previously she would want me to go out so she just had Daddy.
I think you do need to seek advice but also wanted to say it can get better over time as your relationship changes.
Yesterday I resolved to try to engage more, play more. I tried to be goofy when feeding her, and she laughed a lot and kept feeding me, it was cute. But felt alien. But still.....I was trying.
Then the wheels fell off as DH got very ill with gastroenteritis, and spent the evening in the toilet. And at bedtime he was reading DS a story but kept having to rush out to vomit/poo water. At this time I put her down. So after she was asleep i took over DS who was fighting sleep and started his stories again only to suddenly hear wailing fromnher room - she had vomited over her whole bed. I found DH in there trying to change the sheets, heaving, grey as a corpse. So both kids were wide awake and getting ratty with tiredness. It took me an hour and a half going back and forth between them to get them both to sleep, whilst DH was in the horrors in the bathroom.
So because she didn't go to sleep till an hour and a half past her bedtime, she woke up literally every hour during the night. DH was very unwell but at 4am I was in tears and had to go in and wake him to take over the endless rocking.
So this morning I am feeling shattered and tearful and more remote from her than ever. I don't blame her for any of it, there's no anger - I just want a break from her. Don't want to deal.
DH is over the worst of it today but is naturally wobbly. DD and I have come down with a stinking cold.
We have no family, no support, DH is very 50/50 in the home (thank God) but it still feels like we are just on this hamster wheel of keeping them alive and we/I in particular are automatons.
I did endless googling yesterday and this is the only link that really made me wonder if I have PND after all:
Not all of them resonate - I don't have much anger. But the feeling of going through the motions and disconnection is true.
I could have written this post word for word. I'm finding my second who is 10 months old very difficult and sometimes find myself wondering what life would have been like if she hadn't have been born. I believe though this is down to being so tired as she is a bad sleeper compared to her older brother. She also came soon after we moved locations so I have no job or friends to distract me therefore feeling quite low and lonely. I'm hoping once sleep gets better and I find a job my feelings will change. I of course love her and want to protect her but I miss the old days of it just being me and her brother.
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