or Connect
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Birth and Beyond › Postpartum Depression › I don't feel like I can love my son
New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:

I don't feel like I can love my son

post #1 of 21
Thread Starter 

My Son is 15 months and never in his life have I felt truly loving toward him.  I take care of him, I attend his needs.  He's healthy, he's well fed (still breastfed) I play with him and talk with him, but I don't feel motherly love.  I feel about him like I would about a stranger's baby, that he's cute and amazing to watch grow, but I don't feel like he's mine.  And sometimes, I hate him.  He's having trouble sleeping without me.  He insists on being latched on all night, so I get no sleep.  He's grumpy all day, no mater what I do he just wines all the time.  I Don't know what I'm doing wrong, and I don't know what's wrong with me.

post #2 of 21

Hey, I just looked at your profile and saw that you are/were a student.  What are you studying?  What are you into for yourself, for you own life, not as a momma?  I'm really interested, but also I'm asking because I think it will help if you reconnect with the stuff that is important to you, for you...other than your son.  Not sure if you are working outside the home, but for me (I work part time...teaching college two mornings and four nights a week) that isn't always enough to stay connected to myself.  My trajectory in my career/path/project got pretty majorly interrupted when my daughter was born (she's 15 months old also), and sometimes it's hard to remember other things that are important to me--she has kind of become my world, and my world needs to be bigger than her.  I'm lucky in that my partner is good at encouraging me to leave the baby with him and go to the studio to work.  It is really, really hard for me to get motivated to do my own stuff, but I'm working on it.  

 

I believe that if your baby is not your everything and only thing, you will be able to love him/her more.  Probably that sounds backwards but for me that's how it is.  For me, reading and writing on MDC is actually counterproductive in this context, because it is so absorbing and child-focused (as it obviously should be--it's just in the context of working on other interests that I find it problematic for me, precisely because it is so absorbing).  I don't share your exact problem but I have lots of sympathy for you (I had another form of PPD that sometimes pops back up, so sometimes I read this forum).  We have to be fulfilled people to be content as mothers.  My problem is overworry, and yours seems to be a lack of connection with the child.  For me, the problem recedes when I am able to focus on unrelated things.   

 

Anyway, write in with some of your interests, or make a list for yourself...whether you get to your goals right away or not, strengthening your sense of self might help you feel more love for the baby.  Whatever, I don't want to make assumptions, and maybe you are already doing a great job at all this stuff, I know that some new moms are able to...this is just my experience and maybe you can relate.  Peace to you, dear

post #3 of 21

by the way, there's nothing wrong with you, especially since you are not apathetic and are asking for advice

...and maybe your child has some kind of food sensitivity that is making him grumpy.  Mine used to, and when I quit the foods in question she grew less grumpy.  Anyway, our doctor says that 15 months is an unhappy time for a child...he is frustrated by all that he understands yet cannot do, so thus he becomes a grump until talking and motor skills improve.

post #4 of 21

I don't know the details of your life with your son, but it sounds like something needs to change--radically. 

 

Personally, I wouldn't be feeling mother-love or any kind of love for anybody if I hadn't slept in 15 months and spent every day with a grouchy toddler. That is just a miserable situation for anyone. I'm pretty sure I would be in a deep depression.

 

I'm as pro-breastfeeding as anyone (well, maybe not AS pro as some at MDC) but have you considered weaning? At least night weaning? It sounds like your son might not be getting deep sleep either, if he is so grouchy all the time.

 

My saving grace with toddlers was Parents' Day Out a couple of mornings a week. 

 

I'm just thinking that maybe if your son is someone other than "the one who robs me of sleep at night and of peace during waking hours" it might be more possible for you to feel loving towards him.

post #5 of 21
Thread Starter 

Thanks for the replies, I appreciate you taking the time to help me out.

 

I do have a ton of hobbies that I never have time for now.  I used to sew and make soap and write (stories and music) and even cooking dinner has become so much more difficult.  I'm still in school, but it's not really something I enjoy, it's just a means to an end.  I do take some "recreational classes" as well to offset the stress, but even those, I have to commit to. 

 

I am attempting to night ween, and that's not going so well.  I knew it would be hard, but I didn't think it would take so long.  We've been at it for about a month and a half now and he still freaks out and screams for 30 mins to an hour each time he wakes up at night.  I make sure to feed him right before bed, so I know he's not hungry, and I give him water when he wakes up so I know he's not thirsty.  He just refuses to sleep without the comfort of the breast.  If I have DH "bounce" him to sleep, he throws himself backward and tries to break his head.  I read some Dr. whatever's method (it was recommended here on MDC) and it was completely useless.  Basically, I had already done what he said to do, but according to him, DS should be sleeping through the night by now, and um...  no.

 

He may be having problems with food, but I have been having so much trouble finding things he'll eat that I don't want to start taking anything out of his diet.  I know it'll be better in the long run, it's just frustrating.

 

so anyway...  I guess I'll give that a try, and I'll try to find more time for ME stuff and...  see how it goes.

 

thanks again.

post #6 of 21

My daughter went through that crazy all-night latching desire too, it was insane!  It ended spontaneously, though.  She isn't night-weaned and I see the lack of sleep building on me over all this time.

 

You are still in school?  What are you majoring in?  It must be so hard to be doing this AND being a student!  You are strong just to get through the semester (which will be over next week, right?), that is a major accomplishment.

 

 

post #7 of 21
Thread Starter 

You are exactly why I post here...  I need this kind of encouragement.  I feel like I should be able to do so much more, I should have time for my crafts and sewing and my friends and going out with DH and (heaven forbid) house cleaning, but when I tell other people what I'm doing it seems like I'm actually doing quite a lot.

 

Anyway, I'm majoring in Microelectronics, but at the moment I'm just going for a cert in solar voltaic manufacturing.  It sounds a lot worse than it really is, it's pretty easy stuff, and there's no math requirement.  But once I have that I'm pretty much guaranteed a job...  not that I'll be able to pull 12 hour shifts on no sleep.  That's why I'm trying to work all of this stuff out now.

post #8 of 21

Quote:

Originally Posted by notAClue View Post

Anyway, I'm majoring in Microelectronics, but at the moment I'm just going for a cert in solar voltaic manufacturing.  It sounds a lot worse than it really is, it's pretty easy stuff, and there's no math requirement.  But once I have that I'm pretty much guaranteed a job...  not that I'll be able to pull 12 hour shifts on no sleep.  That's why I'm trying to work all of this stuff out now.

 

Can I just say, easy though it may be for you, that is intense!  I'm impressed.  No wonder you are feeling somewhat disconnected right now, with what you are working on.  Just imagine your son being able to tell his friends that his mom works in solar voltaic manufacturing instead of saying "well, she just kind of cleans the house and cooks".  I have 2 degrees in painting (I know, I know...) and I'm working in my field, which is more than I think I deserve sometimes.  When I feel hopeless and bogged down (I am very weak on housework and it's bad for my relationship with my partner) I think about a similar scenario, where my kid could tell her friends that her mother is either an artist or a housekeeper.  Which is better for both of us?  Anyway, good luck with the end of the semester, lady...

 

Daisy

 

ps.  I read a good book lately that you might like: "A Life's Work" by Rachel Cusk.  It is a memoir of a woman's first year or so as a mother, but a very strange one that reflects on her loss of self and issues connecting with her baby.  I could really relate to most of it, and it's well written.  Not that you probably have time to read a memoir right this second!

 

post #9 of 21

Make sure you're in college learning what you WANT to learn. I made the mistake of being in college just for the sake of continuing education. But I wound up getting burnt out two years in. Are you interested in Microelectronics? Do you love Microelectronics? Or are you just majoring in it for the job that comes after? I know jobs are hard to come by, but enjoying your career is important, too. Especially if you're struggling with your emotions towards your son.

post #10 of 21

I couldn't read this and not post.  First of all (((((HUGS))))  I  know the feeling.  I am so sorry that you are going through this.  I agree with the pp's.  You need to find a support.  Even if it is somebody you can just txt when you are feeling doubtful.  And of course the ladies on here are fabulous thumb.gif  It took me a long time to figure out how to connect.  It doesn't just happen for some, and that is ok.  it feels like SH$T, but it will change.  One day you will look into his eyes and fall in love.  Parenting is HARD.  It can be a vicious cycle, trying to ween is an added stress too.  Make a safe spot for little man, and ZONE out with a good book.  It's ok if he goes crazy and makes a mess, if he is safe, you can have that moment of mind numbing nothing.  That helped me a ton!!!!!  My first would cry and cry and cry..... I could not handle that!!!!  I would put her in a safe place and go and read.  Some people may judge, but it was what I needed so that I didn't look at her with anger.  and if a time comes where you have the urge to just play with him, STOP what you are doing and play.  It may sound silly but little things can be huge.

It will change, you are a great mom!!!!!!

post #11 of 21

I know this may seem out of place, and I really can't relate, since I'm not a mom, but I can relate to a feeling of disconnectedness.  I am a writer, and I work in an accounts receivable position for a railroad.  It is not what I love doing, but it is a good job for now, so good that people are pretty crazy to leave it.  Our economy has made it necessary to do what is necessary to provide a future, regardless of whether or not it is what we love.  I have a hard time being motivated to complete my job tasks, and I often find myself behind and forced to catch up, which is a strain.  I am so stressed by my job (it takes a toll when it is not a natural field for you.  Your body works harder) and other life events that my adrenals have pretty much burned out, which leaves me with very little motivation to do house work, connect with others around me (though thankfully I still connect better with my husband than anyone else), and even write, which is tragic to me.  You are probably feeling sapped from not having time to use your creativity.  That, I'm guessing, is what sings to your soul, what lifts you up and makes you feel strong and worthwhile.  So whatever you do, even if you must wait until you get a job in the field you are studying for, make time to write, even if it is only for fifteen minutes a day.  If fifteen minutes seems impossible, start with five.

 

I'm not sure this is a postpartum thing, but stress can create havok on your body, messing with your hormones.  If the lowered estrogen or progesterone is a problem, you can always talk to your doctor or holistic practitioner about that.  I know I suffered from ovarian cyst pain for years.  Finally my mother got me some progesterone cream from Vitamin Cottage and I used some.  I've never had pain or anything since, so I know that just being off a little can make big problems for your body.  The way we feel affects those around us, so your son may be reacting to you.  I'd look into a few things beyond of course.  I've heard of holistic paths that work wonders when nothing is thought to work, so maybe take some time to Google.  Also, what about joining a play group or something like that? 

 

I'm not sure if you are spiritual, but if you are, pray about this.  If you aren't spiritual, think about it anyway.  God can fill up emptiness like nothing else.  Just saying that is making me remember that I've been lax in really having alone time with God.  Maybe that will help me, too.  One thing that is really important to remember is that love is an action, not just a feeling.  So guess what?  If you are caring for your child, feeding him, seeing to his basic needs and trying to find help to meet whatever other needs that seem to be a problem, you are loving him.  If you didn't love him, you probably would have walked out.  If you weren't loving him, he probably wouldn't be so attached to you. 

 

 

post #12 of 21

I can tell you being a breastfeeding mom and a student is not easy. I did it with my son, who I just stopped breast feeding, and my 3 year old.

 

I decided to stop breast feeding b/c it was becomming too demanding and stressful for me to do - even tho in the beginning I absolutely refused to stop b/c I wanted to breast feed until atleast he was 12mos.

My son wasnt sleeping at night, he was up ever hour on the hour, and I found myself getting angry!

Even after I stopped, the formula he was on wasnt working well and his sleeping was even worse.

 

I would advise you to definitely take some time for your self so you can relax and focus on you, even if it's only for like an hour a day. I know how busy you must be with a baby and school b/c I'm doing it too!

 

Also, keep in mind, there is nothing wrong with you and you are doing nothing wrong! Just like you said.... you care for your son, he's healthy, you breast feed him still, you play with him, and he has everything he needs, and even if you dont think it, he can feel your love even if you cant. Every baby goes through phases where their sleep get disturbed b/c they become picky easters, you just need to try and feed him diferent thing a little at a time while feeding him the things he likes.

 

An overwhelmed body and mind can bring depression, you just need to try and relax, remind your self about what an amazing job you're doing, focus on the positive and be happy for your healthy baby boy who loves you.

post #13 of 21

I have five children and have found that 15 months till about 2 1/2 can be a very challenging time. The child is not a 'baby" but not quite a toddler yet. 

It may be "normal" for you to feel the child is grumpy, others feel this way too. Many children this age do not sleep thru the night. You are not alone.

Sometimes sleeping just takes time, try not to let what other people say or tell you about how their children sleep bother you. You never really know what

goes on in other peoples homes. Not a lot of sleeping goes on here, except for the older kids who don't like to wake up in the morning. Please know that you are not alone.

My youngest who is almost 3 just starting sleeping for long stretches. 

post #14 of 21

firstly, i'm so sorry you feel (or don't feel) this way and i hope you feel better!

 

when DS was born (barely a couple of months ago) i had a similar (sort of) experience.  the stress of breastfeeding him CONSTANTLY was really wearing on my nerves.  before i got pregnant i was a lone wolf.  I went out every night, I did whatever I wanted, I ate what I wanted, and I did it all WHENEVER I wanted.  I think the biggest challenge for me is the whenever.  also, I lived alone, and having someone with me every hour of every day now... god, what stress.  anyway, the breastfeeding... I couldn't do it.  DS would never leave me alone, it's like he just ate and ate and ate, I never slept, I was always in baby zone.  Eventually it got to where I shuddered at even the thought of my son being hungry.  I know a lot of moms on this site will disagree with me, but the temporary guilt I felt for weaning my son after 2 months did not outweigh the serious resentment i was building up.  I still practice AP mostly but my son drinks formula now and yes, still thriving.  During my frustration i talked to my lactation specialist and she told me that i shouldn't feel guilty, and that my son would benefit more from me loving and bonding him than coldly waiting for him to finish with me.  I think, in my case, weaning was definitely a huge help.

also, going back to work.  I feel like I have my life back, and I can't wait to see DS when I get home! i just need a little time to be somewhere else, doing something else, with my mind on something else.

 

anyway, what i was wondering, since I didn't and it's probably why it took me so much to adjust:  did you always want to be a mom?

post #15 of 21
Quote:
Originally Posted by branditopolis View Post

firstly, i'm so sorry you feel (or don't feel) this way and i hope you feel better!

 

when DS was born (barely a couple of months ago) i had a similar (sort of) experience.  the stress of breastfeeding him CONSTANTLY was really wearing on my nerves.  before i got pregnant i was a lone wolf.  I went out every night, I did whatever I wanted, I ate what I wanted, and I did it all WHENEVER I wanted.  I think the biggest challenge for me is the whenever.  also, I lived alone, and having someone with me every hour of every day now... god, what stress.  anyway, the breastfeeding... I couldn't do it.  DS would never leave me alone, it's like he just ate and ate and ate, I never slept, I was always in baby zone.  Eventually it got to where I shuddered at even the thought of my son being hungry.  I know a lot of moms on this site will disagree with me, but the temporary guilt I felt for weaning my son after 2 months did not outweigh the serious resentment i was building up.

 

 



YOU DID WHAT WAS BEST FOR YOU AND YOUR DS!!!  Don't ever forget that!!!! You can still bond with a bottle!!!!  I am not promoting, but there are real situations where that is warrented, per say.  I'm sorry you had to make such a hard desicion, hug2.gif

post #16 of 21

To the OP- HANG IN THERE.

 

I'm sorry you're going through this, but I'm glad you posted here. I can't relate entirely, but I did struggle with pretty bad PPD with DS. He's now 7 months, and I think I've (mostly) licked the thing, but @#$(*! was it hard. For the first months of his life, I didn't feel like I really loved my son. I cooed to him, sang to him, snuggled him, rocked him, walked him around our neighborhood, washed his diapers, fed him, bathed him, took him to the doctor. I did all that while at the same time resenting my life as a mother and constantly saying to myself- WHAT HAVE I DONE.

 

I look back on those days and feel guilty. I remember when DS was a few weeks, I went to a lactation clinic. There was a room of breastfeeding mothers all getting help from an LC. A mom was there w/ an infant an a toddler. I said to a different mom with a newborn of her own, "Won't it be great when ours are that age? When they're talking and walking and we can like,interact with them? I feel like it's so hard with a newborn. They can't even smile at you yet and you're giving so much to them." She looked at me like I was a Grade-A a##hole and replied, "Well, I for one think this is a very special and tender time."

 

Yep, I thought. That's me. The worst, least loving mother in the world.

 

But you know what? Screw that. My baby had every one of his needs met. He was held, he was sung to, he was kept in clean diapers, he was fed as much as he needed, and when he cried, I responded to him. I might not have felt love, but I was still enacting love. My love wasn't living in my heart at that time, but it was living in my actions. It was in my hands and my arms and in all the work I did for him, even if it wasn't manifest in me emotionally just yet.

 

Honestly, it sounds to me like you enact love with your kiddo all the time. Even if you don't feel it inside, it's hovering around everything you do for this little person.

 

And you know what? I for one DON'T experience the newborn phase as a "very tender time." I'm not a baby person. DH? He looooves babies and they love him. But me? I like toddlers. Even the sassy ornery ones. The fact is, I'm not really a huge baby person and I never will be, so a while ago I let myself off the hook about not being into my newborn enough. Not everyone adores their child through every stage of their life. You love them, but you might not enjoy them equally at all times. 

 

Maybe you aren't a young kid person. You might find that when your LO hits an age just a few months from now, you suddenly find the sweet spot and really start to connect in new ways. 

 

What I'm trying to say is, try to cut yourself some slack. Like the other folks here said, anyone who is doing as much as you are on as little sleep would likely feel JUST as you do. I know you want to feel that gooey warm love feeling inside, and I believe that you will find it. Because all of your actions say very loudly that your LO is, in fact, deeply loved. 

 

 

post #17 of 21

 

 

Quote:
 anyway, the breastfeeding... I couldn't do it.  DS would never leave me alone, it's like he just ate and ate and ate, I never slept, I was always in baby zone.  Eventually it got to where I shuddered at even the thought of my son being hungry.  I know a lot of moms on this site will disagree with me, but the temporary guilt I felt for weaning my son after 2 months did not outweigh the serious resentment i was building up.

 

 

Quote:
YOU DID WHAT WAS BEST FOR YOU AND YOUR DS!!!  Don't ever forget that!!!! You can still bond with a bottle!!!!  I am not promoting, but there are real situations where that is warrented, per say.  I'm sorry you had to make such a hard desicion, hug2.gif

 

Amen to that.

 

Breastfeeding is great, but it's not the end all be all of what makes a good mama. Good mamas nourish themselves (physically AND emotionally) and make sure their babes are fed. And that is exactly what you did. Good job, mama. hug2.gif

post #18 of 21

Wow, I just found this thread and I can relate because I felt exactly the same way for the first year of my son's life. I was hesitant to get help because a) I was breastfeeding and didn't want to take medication, and b) I didn't want to admit out loud that I wasn't sure whether I loved my son. I finally did talk to my doctor and started taking Zoloft when he was 11 months old. Things improved greatly after a year, either because the medication kicked in or because he developed more independence as he got older or perhaps it is because I went back to work around that time. I am able to appreciate him more after being away from him for most of the day. 

 

My son is a great kid and he loves me more than anyone else in the world and I love him too. My feelings of indifference as I was just going through the motions do not seem to have impacted his attachment to me. My only regret is that I did not get help sooner.

 

I hope things have gotten better for you since you started this thread and I recommend that you consider talking to a doctor if you haven't already.

post #19 of 21

 

Quote:
Originally Posted by NSmomtobe View Post

Wow, I just found this thread and I can relate because I felt exactly the same way for the first year of my son's life. I was hesitant to get help because a) I was breastfeeding and didn't want to take medication, and b) I didn't want to admit out loud that I wasn't sure whether I loved my son. I finally did talk to my doctor and started taking Zoloft when he was 11 months old. Things improved greatly after a year, either because the medication kicked in or because he developed more independence as he got older or perhaps it is because I went back to work around that time. I am able to appreciate him more after being away from him for most of the day. 

 

My son is a great kid and he loves me more than anyone else in the world and I love him too. My feelings of indifference as I was just going through the motions do not seem to have impacted his attachment to me. My only regret is that I did not get help sooner.

 

I hope things have gotten better for you since you started this thread and I recommend that you consider talking to a doctor if you haven't already.

 

I'm still having this problem, and I'm really glad to hear this.

post #20 of 21

I'm sorry that you are still having this problem, branditopolis. Please seek professional help if you haven't already. But yes, as long as you are consistently meeting his needs, he should be relatively well attached. He loves you, no matter how confused you might be about how you feel.

 

I noticed that the OP said her baby is grumpy all the time and she doesn't know what she is doing wrong. Most likely she is not doing anything wrong. The "grumpiness" may just be a part of her baby's temperament, which will become easier to figure out over time. Or he could be sensitive to her moods and picking up on the fact that she is not happy. Follow tips such as making time for oneself, seeking help, etc., that were mentioned here will hopefully make the mother feel better, and that may, in turn, help the baby feel better. But he loves his mother regardless of her feelings.

 

Apparently it is important to smile and make eye contact with your baby, as well as to talk to them even when they are pre-verbal. Who knew? I remember reading about those things and thinking what a horrible mother I was as my baby approached 1 year of age, but my now-2-year-old is thriving, happy, and loving, so I guess I didn't mess him up too badly. Take care of yourself emotionally and respond to your child's needs and I think everything will be okay.

New Posts  All Forums:Forum Nav:
  Return Home
  Back to Forum: Postpartum Depression
Mothering › Mothering Forums › Pregnancy and Birth › Birth and Beyond › Postpartum Depression › I don't feel like I can love my son