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Feeling very 'meh' about parenthood

(21 Posts)
JuicyLucyButNotTooFruity Mon 17-Nov-14 15:24:03

I have name changed and apologies if this upsets some people.

I have a 6 month old DD. She was unplanned and unexpected. I didn't find out I was PG until I was 7 months gone- history of erratic periods, only a bit of weight gain, no sore boobs until quite late on etc.

TBH, if I'd known earlier I'm not sure I'd have continued with the PG. Anyway, we spent a manic two months preparing the house and our lives for an unexpected arrival. Throughout the two months it just always felt like it was happening to someone else. Although I ballooned and felt it happening to me, I couldn't reconcile what was happening in my body with the fact that we'd have this baby and it'd be ours forever. It just felt a bit like I'd have the baby and then me and DH would carry on with our normal life but there'd be three of us rather than two. I put this down to the fact that we didn't have much time to get used to the idea/to do all the cooey stuff. I assumed when the baby arrived, it'd all just slot into place.

When DD arrived, I just didn't really feel anything. I can't describe it any better than that really. I went through the motions of looking after her but I just felt like I was standing in until someone else would come and take over. Again, I put this down to the fact that I hadn't really had much time to get used to the idea of being a mum. Again, I thought everything would slot into place.

Now its 6 months later and I still just don't feel anything. I went to see the Dr who fobbed me off with a PND diagnosis but reading about other PND on here, I'm not convinced. I'm not depressed at all. I'm not unhappy. I don't dread getting up in the morning.

I have told my DM all of this and she was okay with it to a certain point (about 4 months old) and said it was natural etc. But I think she thinks that I should be over it by now but I'm not and I don't know when I will be.

I don't really know what I'm asking here TBH. I guess I'm just worried that as DD starts to get older, she'll sense that I'm really non-plussed and feel unwanted. I don't want that to happen but how the hell do I change how I'm feeling?

Granville72 Mon 17-Nov-14 15:34:09

Have you spoken to your health visitor? They will be a better port of call than your GP I would have thought as that is what they are there for (yours and your child's health). If she can't help directly, they will be able to put you in touch with the right people.

I would make that your first step to talking to someone and understanding your feelings.

FelicityGubbins Mon 17-Nov-14 15:43:34

It does sound very much like pnd to me, as I had it and I wasn't sobbing or feeling like I couldn't face the day either, I was just set in a bleak, grim, autopilot mindset 24/7.
Please speak to your GP or health visitor again about how you feel and the potential impact to your DD.

Mrwillywonkasbitch Mon 17-Nov-14 15:55:35

I felt exactly the same until my dds were about 1 and a half I just didn't bond with them straight away. Maybe it's just not sunk in yet for you

OP - my situation was very similar to yours. Unexpected, didn't find out till 19/20 weeks then a massive rush to sort everything out and get ready. Plus my momwas diagnosed with cancer not long after finding out!

Like you - I went into a bit of an autopilot situation. I loved DS but couldn't help feeling like it shouldn't be happening to me, and when was I going to get back to 'normal life'.

I went to the doctors a couple of times and was told they thought I had PND but I didn't and so didn't accept any tablets or talking therapy. Then when DS was about 7 months I had an incident where I was driving along and the thought crossed my mind that if I let go of the wheel I would have an accident, be taken to hospital and then I would get a break and someone would look after me for a while. It wasn't dramatic or anything, and I didn't do it, it was just a thought that popped up in an 'oh I wish' kind of way.

I spent that whole night thinking about it and realised this wasn't the thought process of a well person. That looking after DS and having to readjust my life and look after my mom too had all got on top of me. Went back to the doctors and got some help.

I'm not saying that you are in the same position, but just that up till that point, like you, I questioned the diagnosis of PND. It may well be right, you just may not be exhibiting the symptoms normally associated with depression.

Maybe talk with your health visitor and your doctor again. Ask the questions and find out why the doctor thinks that, and what they would be proposing to do about it.

JuicyLucyButNotTooFruity Mon 17-Nov-14 16:06:00

Thanks everyone for your comments.

My HV is a horrible woman who is very matronly with no time for fussing and feeling sorry for oneself. Perhaps I should ask to change. Can you do that? I have no idea about most of this parenting lark- a lot of the time I read things on MN and think 'what, should I be doing that?'

niceupthedance Mon 17-Nov-14 18:36:09

I can completely relate to the feeling the pregnancy is happening to someone else and not feeling involved. I also felt like my DC had dropped in from space when I saw him crawling about. It was part shock, part depression about losing my old life. I went to counselling for three months where they helped me reconcile 'the real me' with my new identity. I still feel meh about parenthood. But I do love him now. Just wanted you to know you are not alone. Perhaps counselling might help you as well.

VikingLady Mon 17-Nov-14 19:11:05

Yes, you can change health visitor. I did.

VikingLady Mon 17-Nov-14 19:11:44

I asked at a SureStart Centre if I could change HV and they got one to call me.

Pippin8 Mon 17-Nov-14 19:51:18

It's sounds like an attachment disorder, not PND. Youre not abnormal, it can happen in situations like yours.

It can also be triggered if something around the time of the birth or just after takes your attention away, like a family crisis or bereavement.

Maybe going back to basics, lots of skin to skin, baths with baby etc.
Try & think of at least one thing a day you love about her.
Hope it gets better.

JuicyLucyButNotTooFruity Tue 18-Nov-14 10:33:28

Gosh, thanks for all of your lovely responses.

I'm going to go to my local CC today and get their advice on changing HV.

ninetynineonehundred Tue 18-Nov-14 11:54:45

You say that you don't want your baby to feel unwanted so at some level you do care about her and her wellbeing.
I think that changing to a health visitor who doesn't brush off your feelings is a very good idea and pippin has made some good practical suggestions regarding building an attachment.
Of course you are feeling 'meh'. It sounds like quite a shock.
I hope you find a way to enjoy your baby. X

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 18-Nov-14 12:17:59

An unplanned baby and shock pregnancy, then the intensity of caring for a newborn. Your mum can't put a time limit on when you 'should' feel 100% again.

It can be isolating adapting to parenting even when eagerly anticipated. Are you working or staying home with her, not everyone is cut out for life at home with infants.

Someone I know told me she found being home with her little boy was suffocating her. Her partner was supportive but was at a loss. She resented the routine and tedium and felt guilty for not being swamped by - and I quote - "clucky waves of motherhood" but found that once she went back to work her spirits lifted. She never showed any signs of depression but soldiered on appearing quite calm.

Have you got any close friends with children? Or are you and DH the first in your group to have a child?

Be honest and truthful about your thoughts - don't feel you have to conform to how people expect you to be. Some of the best parents I have met have said they were never 'the maternal type'.

pasanda Tue 18-Nov-14 12:35:30

It took me 6 years and IVF treatment to get pregnant with my first ds. I knew I was pregnant from before the 'official' test. Throughout the whole pregnancy I could not bond with him because I was paranoid something would go wrong. When he was born, I felt nothing and found it really hard to pick him up even. I remember saying to my dh, when he was about 4 weeks old, that he was 'such a chore'. sad He was a really, really difficult baby and I had crushing PND.

I remember when he was about 18 months old we went swimming and he got cold and needed a cuddle from me. It was at that moment that I had an overwhelming feeling of love for him. He is now 13 and I love him to bits…..(even throughout his 'Kevin' moments!!)

He was wanted, desperately wanted, but yet it still took me 18 months to feel this.

So I guess what I am saying is that even when you really want a baby these feelings can happen. And I can imagine that when you don't really want a baby these feelings can happen so much more easily.

As a pp said, that fact that you care about how she is feeling and how it might effect her now she is getting older means you do really do care about her wellbeing.

I agree change you HV. I had a fantastic one and she really helped me through my negative feelings and thoughts. Don't' beat yourself up either. I have no doubt the love will come…...

JuicyLucyButNotTooFruity Tue 18-Nov-14 12:43:30

Thanks all.

Donkey I am being quite vocal about it as much as I can because I hate the idea that women should feel all clucky so because I don't I'm somehow unusual or unnatural. I think that's why I've resisted the PND label TBH. I can't help but feel it's (for want of a better word) medicalising what is a totally normal feeling but what a lot of women are not allowed to speak about. God, I don't even know if that makes sense!

I've been at home on mat and annual leave for about 6 months now. I'm going back to work on 1st December and I can't wait. I am feeling stifled by the routine and how boring this all is!

I don't have any other parent friends. Most of my RL friends are child-free. Those that aren't I actually do find quite tedious to be around nowadays. They're all very cooey and clucky and just talk about their kids, nappies, burping, sleeping etc., which I want to get away from.

I do love my DD but it's just more of a passive love like the way we love our parents rather than a fierce 'my god I would do anything for this child' love that people often talk about on here and as being the natural feeling.

Twinklestein Tue 18-Nov-14 13:12:52

I think the PND label is often given to women who, for whatever reason, don't bond immediately with their babies.

The implication seems to be that a mother should feel immediate overwhelming love and if she doesn't she's not 'normal' may be 'ill' and need medication.

If you think you haven't got PND I reckon you're probably right. It sounds more like you haven't bonded yet and it may take some time to build those bonds. Your mum is not right that there's any particular time frame.

Twinklestein Tue 18-Nov-14 13:16:04

You basically only had 2 months to get your head around the fact of being about to have a baby, and it sounds to me like it still hasn't sunk in yet.

Think of all the women who try literally for years - they've had so much time to prepare.

I don't think what you describe is at all surprising in the circumstances.

DonkeysDontRideBicycles Tue 18-Nov-14 14:17:50

Motherhood gets easier, and whether you are a baby person or not, as she gets older your daughter will interact with you more. That first year of her life might feel like the longest of yours but it does get more fun, and you get better at it.

Teladi Tue 18-Nov-14 14:28:23

I had this and felt like you do, that it wasn't PND. Looking back now I am almost certain that I did have PND.

It took a long time for me to get that 'mama bear' feeling about my DD. I'm not a lovey dovey look at my little princess kind of person but I look at her now and I do get that rush of love that everyone talks about that you apparently get with newborn babies. Not all the time, because, you know, whinging and snot, but sometimes grin

CheersMedea Tue 18-Nov-14 14:41:22

I think that's why I've resisted the PND label TBH. I can't help but feel it's (for want of a better word) medicalising what is a totally normal feeling but what a lot of women are not allowed to speak about.

If it's any help, my mother (who was an A&E consultant now retired) was exactly the same as you. She says (in effect) small babies - including her own children - were of no interest to her at all and still aren't. She was the same with her grandchildren. She definitely didn't have PND and says as far as she was concerned it was only when they stopped being (my words not hers) eating/crying/shitting machines and started to develop a personality beyond that that they became interesting.

She says this whole "you are a failure if you don't feel an instant maternal bond" causes a lot of women who don't actually have PND at all to be classed as abnormal and be treated for something they don't have. Obviously, as she acknowledges, people do have PND and a lack of interest in the baby can be a symptom but it may just be a normal reaction.

I have a fantastic relationship with my mother and we are very close. Her attitude to young babies had no effect on our long term relationship. I have a better and closer relationship with my mother than anyone else I know. The bond will come in time and frankly, I wouldn't worry about it.

As long as you aren't feeling down yourself, are managing to care for the baby properly and don't have any feelings of wanting to harm it/yourself, I'm inclined to agree with you that you are probably fine.

A lot of people talk a lot of cr*p when it comes to babies IMO.

Twinklestein Tue 18-Nov-14 14:45:12

Totally agree with your mum CheersMedea.

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