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rubbish with babies

(27 Posts)
tinton Tue 21-Aug-07 13:46:07

hello, i am 16 weeks pregnant and beginning to panic about my lack of maternal abilities/general craziness. Pregnancy was very much wanted and we are very lucky etc but I am feeling quite ambivalent about the whole thing. sounds mad but find myself getting really irritated when around babies/pregnant women and have no clue what to do with the babies (other than make them cry for no reason). any recommendations (books?). help! sorry, i sound like cruella de vil.

southeastastra Tue 21-Aug-07 13:49:08

it will come naturally, other people's children are different to your own

Mumpbump Tue 21-Aug-07 13:50:29

Don't worry. I was completely unmaternal prior to having ds. When it is your own baby, it is very different. I didn't "fall in love" with him immediately. The first few months were a hard slog, but once they start to respond, it's much more rewarding and suddenly you realise that you're quite fond of the little critter! By the time they can walk and start to talk, they have really got their own little personality and shortly after that, they become the apple of your eye and monopolise your conversation, much to the disgust of other unmaternal women without children! You'll be fine...

RubberDuck Tue 21-Aug-07 13:51:19

I stumbled through babyhood with both my two - can't say I ever 100% felt I knew what I was doing. I have to say, I did fret a lot and probably did a whole heap of things wrong, but I learned as I went and they both survived

I've found myself coming into my own more as a mother once they get talkative and interactive. Ds1 has just turned 6 years old and it's just such an amazing age.

What I'm trying to clumsily say is, that even if you don't feel like you're not great with babies, it doesn't make you a lousy parent - does that make sense?

meandmy Tue 21-Aug-07 13:53:38

you will get used to you babies crys its kind of like determining what coat to wear!
good luck enjoy your pg and me time as this will be sparse when baby here

MuffinMclay Tue 21-Aug-07 13:54:26

I still don't feel like I have a clue with babies, although one's own is always easier than other peoples, I think. I much prefer them when they get more interactive and become little people.

I'm now expecting dc2, and just want to get the baby phase (especially the 1st 6-10 weeks) over with.

RubberDuck Tue 21-Aug-07 13:56:13

Oh good MuffinMclay - glad I wasn't the only one!

I think when you're pregnant there's SO much focus on a baby. When really, there's so much more to having children than babies, don't you think? I child is for life, not just for babyhood

RubberDuck Tue 21-Aug-07 13:56:43

A child is for life...

paulaplumpbottom Tue 21-Aug-07 13:57:38

Don't worry you'll like your own baby. There is only one book to read, Baby Wisdom, ignore the rest

Mumpbump Tue 21-Aug-07 14:03:32

TBH, I wouldn't get any books. I think there are too many conflicting schools of thought on parenting. I tended to "dip" into information on the internet as and when I wanted to know about something and made the rest up. That said, I did invest in Miriam Stoppard which is fairly practical stuff and Gina Ford's Weaning book which is a step-by-step weaning plan and just easier to follow than to have to make it up yourself.

Other than that, before he arrived, I always thought I'd get ds into a routine, but decided that it was too restrictive on me and that as I had taken 6 months off work and a massive salary reduction, I was going to follow his lead. It also turned out I wasn't very good at letting him cry! What I'm trying to say is that rather than spend a whole load of money on books that you think you might use, see how it goes for a couple of weeks, work out what your parenting style is and then think about whether you need a book...

MrsMarvel Tue 21-Aug-07 14:04:21

When they're babies they're scarily dependent on their mother. That may be what's putting you off. They seem so fragile you don't know what they need or want - they can't speak!

But when they're your own, their dependence on you (and partner) is what makes you learn what to do. You learn from them - they actually give you more than you give them - in bigger ways, they teach you to find strengths and resources you never knew you had.

And as they get older, the learning continues, gets more complex, but even more rewarding.


Surfermum Tue 21-Aug-07 14:07:21

I felt just the same when I was pregnant. But, honestly, it really did come naturally. I used to think "I can't do all baby talk stuff, cooing over them etc", I never knew what to say to friends' babies, but once dd was born I was talking gibberish to her like the best of them. It'll be fine . Anway, you've found mumsnet, so you'll be doubly fine.

Nip Tue 21-Aug-07 14:07:46

Dont worry, you'll be just fine.

I think i had only held one baby before my DS, no-one would offer and i wasnt that bothered... never really realised what the point of cooing over something was... HOWEVER when DS came along it just happened, and the love you have for them is immense.

DS is now 16 months old, i still am not 100% sure what i am doing, but i'm trying my best and he's a healthy happy little boy. Everyday is a new challenge but its great!


vonsudenfed Tue 21-Aug-07 14:12:22

I read loads of books before dd was born (never knowingly go into something under-read, that's me) and I can honestly say that none of them made any sense at the time. There are two kinds: manuals, or books about how depressing it is to have a child and how much it ruins your feminist life. Neither is worth wasting time with. I wish I'd read more novels while I was pregnant tbh. The only exception is Ann Enright, Making Babies which is a lovely and truthful book about her experiences, and perhaps closest to there reality.

And I read loads of books because I thought I would be a rubbish mother - my own wasn't much cop, and I had never knowingly cooed over a baby in my life. Funnily enough, it seems to be fine so far... Good luck, it will be more fun than any of the books ever says.

morningglory Tue 21-Aug-07 14:13:13

I agree with all the posts here. The first six months seem like lots of work with little reward. I also didn't "bond" with DS at first in the sense of the gushing lovey feeling from just looking at him. When they start to respond to you, that's when the bond really cements, and you realize that all the work you put in the beginning was so worth it. DS is 3 now, and I don't think I've ever been in love with anything as much as him. Every small thing he does just fills me with wonder.

I may sound super maternal now, but I was one of those women who absolutely didn't want kids prior to deciding to try; I would see babies and get filled with dread and horror. All of my friends and family were shocked when I told them I was pregnant. It will come.

morningglory Tue 21-Aug-07 14:15:32

In terms of book, just borrow one from the library. I found it helpful just to know what the general normal milestones were, and to know what to anticipate. I didn't find them helpful on a day-to-day basis, though.

Surfermum Tue 21-Aug-07 14:16:43

And the trouble with reading books is that if things don't go the way the book says you can think you're doing it wrong or you're failing, when in actual fact there is no right or wrong way of doing things. You just have to find your own way and what suits your baby and you.

MrsMarvel Tue 21-Aug-07 14:30:55

I agree about books - they are helpful when you need to find out things - eg the "What to expect" ones, but the Miriam Stoppards get a bit too anal. As for the Kissinger feminist bs - well, life's for doing, not for theorising about.

I learnt most from watching other mothers with their babies. Get in touch with as many as possible and spend time with them but only when yours is born.

Mumpbump Tue 21-Aug-07 14:54:36

Don't forget that you can do antenatal classes to cover the basic like how to put on a nappy, but tbh, it's not that hard and you will just pick it up as you go along...

toadstool Tue 21-Aug-07 20:25:45

It'll come, maybe not at once, but it will. I didn't get a big rush of love when DD was born - for one thing, she looked totally different to the baby I'd imagined. I felt quite cold for a few days. The MW handed me over to the ward staff saying, 'She's never held a baby in her life!' But it was fine - 3 weeks later, the MWs were commenting that I was a rare example of someone who had taken to breastfeeding and motherhood without a hitch. I'm not very 'maternal', and I can't stand the 'Aaaw, bless'ums' approach to babies - it's just that with your own baby, it's a far more personal experience.

BlueberryPancake Tue 21-Aug-07 21:38:26

The best advice I received when pregnant (and I got LOADS) was to read as many books as possible and then throw them away and do my own thing! I was the same as you - I never really wanted to 'hold' babies, didn't know what to do with them. Now, with my two gorgeous boys, all I do is hold them and kiss them all the time! My best top advice is to give your little one as much holding time as possible, cuddles and kisses. And try to 'listen' to his/her cries, and if you pay attention and listen to what he 'says' you will learn to recognise cries for hunger, pain, tiredness etc. Love is all you need!

Jbck Tue 21-Aug-07 22:36:32

I had never changed a nappy or given a baby a bottle till I had my own. I fell in love with her instantly but realise that I was quite lucky in that respect. She is the best thing that I have ever done or that has ever come into my life and I only hope my next one will be just as positive an experience. A lot of it is hard work & sometimes it does feel like an uphill struggle for not much reward when they are tiny or can't tell you what's wrong but when you get that smile or your first 'Mummy' it's all worth it. I'm still not a baby/child person tbh, I struggle sometimes to talk to DD's little friends as I can't seem to do their level naturally but we all get by.
Good luck with it all and take one day at a time, follow your instincts and nod politely at all the advice you'll get whether you think it's mad or not. I found quite often people with no children were the most vocal and the most opinionated but I just let them ramble.
But don't be afraid to ask for help with any aspect, that's why Mumsnet was invented

vole3 Wed 22-Aug-07 06:09:14

Feed one end, clean the other. Keep it warm, clothed, entertained and don't forget where you left it - although they do have a useful alarm function!
Other than that, wing it

loopyredangel Wed 22-Aug-07 16:21:08

I had no knowledge of babies before we had DS, now preggers again, and I just love being a mum. It's strange though, this time around though I don't feel I am bonding with my bump as I did with DS! I remember the day I came home from hospital and just sat there and thought "Oh my god, what do I do now", you just get on with it! There are times when I feel like I am a rubbish mum but I think everyone feels like that from time to time. I am sure you will be a great mum, don't worry and just relax and take things in your stride.

tinton Tue 28-Aug-07 14:18:05

thanks for all the messages, feeling a lot more calm about the whole thing, even looking forward to it (and morninglory totally agree with the description of 'dread and horror' grin). Sure will be looking at mumsnet A LOT in the coming months!

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