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I have never really loved my ds

(35 Posts)
feelingcrap Wed 08-Jul-09 16:29:49

He's 4 years old and often I find him irritating and frustrating. He's really emotional and although I care for and about him, I don't feel that overwhelming maternal love for him.
I have never admitted this to anyone and, honestly, no one would ever know, including him. I give him cuddles and kisses but I'm always doing it consciously, ifykwim.
What is wrong with me? He is actually very well behaved. Everyone says he is a lovely child. I feel so heartless but I can't help it. I can get angry with him really quickly too. Like today, he was playing with his animals and making roaring sounds. The sounds were really irritating me so I kept asking him to quieten down, which he didn't, so I ended up shouting at him and then telling him to shut up when he started crying.
I must be such a horrible person to do that to a 4 year old and I don't know why. I don't want it to be like this. If I heard someone else doing this I'd think that they were awful, so why can't I control myself?
Its not always this bad. We do laugh and play and I take him out a lot too (its better when I do) but the underlying issue is always there.

gemmummy Wed 08-Jul-09 16:31:29

don't want to leave this unanswered, have you spoken to your Gp? I have no experience of this but I believe this is more common than you think, sure there will be others along who can help.

foofi Wed 08-Jul-09 16:39:49

You're not alone.

I hope you get some supportive comments soon. I remember saying something similar on here once only to be called a troll by someone who didn't think it was possible for a mother to not love their child.

ShowOfHands Wed 08-Jul-09 16:42:25

Oh my love.

It does happen. You're very brave to admit it. Please see your GP about it.

Lizzylou Wed 08-Jul-09 16:43:44

This is far more common that you'd think, someone will be along soon who will totally understand.
Please don't feel bad, you are doing a good thing by admitting your feelings.

And animal noises ad nauseum have been known to make me flip too wink

Slambang Wed 08-Jul-09 16:46:53

No of course you're not alone. It's surprisingly common and can often be a symptom of underlying depression. Could that relate to you?

I had a hard time bonding with ds1 due to various circumstances and found the best way to cope was to do what you are doing and conciously act in a way that showed love to him. I did talk to dh about it but nobody else would ever have guessed (especially and most importantly ds himself.) Eventually at some point without me really noticing the 'acting' became the reality and now ds and I are tightly tightly bonded and close. I can't believe I ever felt less than a million percent positive towards him. smile

tennisaddict Wed 08-Jul-09 16:51:40

This doesn't sound too abnormal to me, tbh

Not everyone feels this overpowering maternal love for their child

When mine were younger it felt like 45% tolerance, 5% affection (not "crushing" love) and 45% irritation to me

Do you sometimes look at him when he is asleep and think "aah, yes, he is kinda sweet"

Then in the morning when he wakes, you are immediately irritated again

4 yr old kids are hard work, every yr before that and many more after that can be just hard slog

Don't compare yourself to other "maternal" mummies, not everyone is like that

Your job is to care for his needs, ensure his safety and make him feel secure

You need ask no more of yourself than that

clutteredup Wed 08-Jul-09 17:01:23

It sounds to me that this is part of much more that you're feeling - have you had/been diagnosed with PND ? I had times like this with DS1 - i used to count the hours till it was his bedtme - and although things are much better now I look back and wonder how I could have been such a horrible mother - i think i still am actually most of the time and then DH points out to me how happy they seem and how loving they are towards me and i have to question my feelings - see your GP, please don't feel bad about your feelings - everyone can feel like this and tbh 4 yos can drive you nutty - but get help otherwise you'll just eat yourself up with guilt and you really don't need to feel guilty. best of luck.

OrmIrian Wed 08-Jul-09 17:03:48

Have you considered it might be PND? It can be long lasting and delayed sometimes. I had it a year after DD was born, long-term. And it definitely affected the way I bonded with her. I used to hate myself for the way I felt towards her. She's 10 now and I can honestly say that it is only in the last few years that I have loved her, really loved her, in the way I always did her brothers sad And it makes me feel so cheated that all the time she was little, as such an adorable child, that I was often indifferent and irritated by her.

sanae Wed 08-Jul-09 17:04:47

Is he your only child, or do you have other children and are only having problems with DS? Do you think you might be the type of parent who doesn't enjoy young children much, but finds it much more fun and intersting when they are older and have more to say? Although you say you don't love him, can you think back to times when you have been worried for him, eg if he has been ill, starting playgroup, school etc. And I would imagine you want the best for him. Doesn't that show you do really love him, even if it isn't a fuzzy type of feeling.

stillstanding Wed 08-Jul-09 17:07:12

This is such a sad thread - I am so sorry that you are going through this, OP. I think you have received some really good ideas from others and the fact that you have acknowledged the problem is definitely a step in the right direction. Do keep giving him those cuddles and kisses though as he desperately needs them.

CinnabarRed Wed 08-Jul-09 17:08:51

I could have written this very OP before I was diagnosed with PND. I don't know whether your feelings have the same root cause, but please don't shut your mind to the possibilty that they do.

Whatever the outcome, it's clear from the posts here that you're not alone!

How much time do you have away from your DS? If you don't get some Me Time in the day, then is there any way you can shoe-horn some in (easier said than done, I know)? Even now, when my PND is over, I still find myself looking forward to the end of a family holiday in a way I never did before children came along, purely because I get more peace at work!

OrmIrian Wed 08-Jul-09 17:10:44

"Do keep giving him those cuddles and kisses though as he desperately needs them."

I quite agree stillstanding. I tried even harder with DD because I didn't want her to know how I felt.

feelingcrap Wed 08-Jul-09 17:13:40

I don't think I'm depressed. I do have a younger child and I feel overwhelming love for my second, who is much more troublesome.
This is why I'm questioning myself. I feel like I never bonded with ds. Its not because he's 4 and is hard work, because generally he's not.
I do work part time ina fairly stressful job. Dh works long hrs so I do all the childcare and housework too.

feelingcrap Wed 08-Jul-09 17:14:28

Its helping knowing people have come through similar situations.

feelingcrap Wed 08-Jul-09 17:16:57

I will keep giving him those kisses and cuddles. He doesn't deserve anything less.
I especially don't want him think I love him less than my second, but if I'm really truthful with myself, I do.
I don't understand why. I feel so sad as I write this.

CinnabarRed Wed 08-Jul-09 17:18:04

Perhaps you're ground down by the stressful job, childcare and housework? Worth investing in a cleaner?

I think it's perfectly possible to bond more with DC2 than DC1, because you don't have the same level of anxiety the 2nd time round (or so I've been reliably informed by friends with more than one DC). And you might have PND from DC2....

clutteredup Wed 08-Jul-09 17:18:30

I think I'm still meaner to my oldest than the others - I don't know why maybe because i expect more from him and always have done - I realised the other day that DD2 is the same age that DS was when DD1 was born 2 1/2 - I put so much onto him to be grown up so early - but my PND was worst with him and i found him more of a struggle although he was the easiest baby of the three of them.

feelingcrap Wed 08-Jul-09 17:25:55

I was thinking about that CinnabarRed. Maybe I am, but it doesn't explain why I've always felt this way about him.
Dh doesn't even know I feel like this. I've sometimes lied to him too. Just little things like he might mention how amazing or lovely ds was about something, I'll smile and agree when really, I'll be feeling hardly any emotion at all about it.

feelingcrap Wed 08-Jul-09 17:28:58

Ormirian I can see myself feeling like you do. Its sad to hear.

CinnabarRed Wed 08-Jul-09 17:33:04

Sweetheart, there are any number of reasons why you might not have bonded strongly with DC1 at the outset - maybe you had PND then, maybe the unfamiliarity of your first child led to anxiety you simply didn't feel with DC2, maybe you had less support for DC1, maybe your pregnancy was harder (don't discount this - it turned out to be one of my most significant factors)....

The important thing is to get you to a happier position now, so you can bond better now.

Is it "only" (genuinely not trying to belittle it)your relationship with DC1 which is making you sad? Or are there other factors too?

Is there someone in RL you can confide in? And do you think you could talk to your GP?

CinnabarRed Wed 08-Jul-09 17:36:15

BTW, have got to go to give DS his tea and then do the bedtime routine, but will be back later.

(Little so-and-so turned off the freezer yesterday evening, so when I woke up this morning the kitchen was flooded and there was no lovingly prepared food left edible... Now going to cook from scratch. Sigh)

ElenorRigby Wed 08-Jul-09 17:39:42

I think having a bond with your baby is a mysterious thing. Our DD was unplanned, I've never been a maternal person (disliked children when younger) was extremely stressed during the pregnancy (in fact had a nervous breakdown) felt very disconnected from baby during pregnancy and was very very worried I would not bond with her. Despite all that the moment I saw her I adored her <crys>
I had PND too but never lost that intial bond, I still love the little scamp to bits (nearly 23 months now)
DP however had a really difficult time bonding with her which has been very upsetting for both of us.
I watched a Channel 4 documentary recently called Help me Love my Baby I found the first episode with Zoe and Izzy very moving. I watched because I was trying to understand what my DP had been through. Maybe they might be able of some help? hth a little

feelingcrap Wed 08-Jul-09 17:39:54

As far as I can tell, its only my relationship with ds that is the issue. I only work 14hrs a week which, although fairly stressful while I'm there. I can forget about when I leave for the day. Dh and I are doing fine, usual ups and downs, nothing major.

Maybe I need to do more stuff on my own with ds?

feelingcrap Wed 08-Jul-09 17:42:28

smile at your dd switching off the freezer. They can be such little rascals.

Thanks ElenorRigby, I will look at those links.

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