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Worried about bonding with baby

post #1 of 8
Thread Starter 

Anyone here who can shed light on what I'm feeling?


I'm having my second - a girl, which I really wanted. But it's been hard for me to get excited about actually having her and meeting her. 


My first is almost 5 and I'm so in love with him. Although I really want a family with several kids (I'd like 3 but my partner will take some convincing), it feels like I'm not that excited about actually having this baby, or looking forward to what she will be like. In a way it just doesn't feel real to me yet and I DON'T feel ready to be so close to having a new baby!! And in a way, I'm familiar with all the hard parts of having a baby from the first time, so it feels TOO real and not romantic or idealized in the least! :)


It just feels like our family is so perfect as it is - why mess with it? 


I know I want this baby, and I don't regret getting pregnant, I put lots of thought into it and it was very wanted...but I just don't feel that excited about her as an individual yet or bonded with her or affectionate toward her. The novelty of having my first baby, hoping and dreaming about it, was so different. 


I should say that I went through a very similar thing before my son was born - specifically, I really was worried that I wouldn't love him. Obviously that DIDN'T happen. :) I remember asking my friends who already had kids about it and them not seeming to really get why I would be thinking of that. I was really worried about it. Then he came out and of course I was like the most bonded parent you could ever picture - but it was a scary feeling to have beforehand.


I KNOW I will love this baby and that the oxytocin rush after birth will make all of this overthinking obsolete and I'll never look back. But I would love to hear if any of you are feeling this way, or if you felt this way with a previous birth. 


I do worry that if I don't feel ready to be her mom, I'll have trouble progressing in labor because of that mental barrier to moving forward. 

post #2 of 8
I completely get what you are saying. I felt that way about each one. The hormones work! It is hard to be excited about them as an individual bc it takes weeks (months?) for them to display personality. You don't know what/who you are getting, and that is a strange thought. My kids and hubby are excited enough to make up for my lack of enthusiasm. All i can see is the hard work i will have for months and the inturruption of my happy, easy life. But I will get over it, and i know i will bond and be a good momma bear.
post #3 of 8

I think I get it, yeah.... with my first I was so excited about "baby!" and then kind of shocked that while I felt compelled to care for this little being, I didn't immediately feel the "love her more than anyone in the world" kind of thing like I expected. In fact, I remember a day when she was about 6-7 weeks old and someone asked me "don't you love her so much?" and I said something like, "well, honestly, not really any more than I love anyone else..." And this kind and older mother said to me, "The love will come, it will grow. It takes time." And she was right. Perhaps for some it is instant and automatic, and for others, it's like falling in love with anyone else.... you have to get to know them, and as vtamanda said, you don't know who they are yet, who this little bundle of being is going to be...


This pregnancy feels different for sure. Yes, our little family is wonderful as is, and even though this baby was very much wanted, I've certainly had moments of wondering "What was I thinking? Everything was just fine! Now it's all going to change and I don't know what it's going to be like..." In fact, that was pretty much my first thought on learning I was pregnant... not "Yay!" But "Yikes!!!" I thought I wanted it.... we do want it... I know on some level it's going to be wonderful and this child is going to be loved and become part of our family just like our daughter.... but it's scary.


Knowing exactly how much work it will be is definitely also on my mind. I feel so much more tired now, like there's already so much laundry and I can hardly get the dishes done and plan the next meal, and how am I possibly going to take care of my family and go back to work in 6 weeks again?? I'm also acutely aware that I had a pretty "easy" baby with my first in terms of feeding, sleeping, etc., and there's no guarantee that this one will be the same.


Personally I don't feel like any of this will inhibit my labor, just because I feel so fundamentally that birth "just happens"... and I'm along for the ride... whether ready or not, I'm not going to stand in the way, that's just me. Perhaps because I spend so much time around our animals, who certainly don't know or obsess over due dates or signs of early labor, they just have their babies!


I know the hormones can both help and also make it hard to think clearly and I hope you can feel some peace as the birth approaches, pomegranate... peace that just as before, you will fall in love with this little girl, she will be part of your family, and yes, in hindsight, you will probably wonder how you could have ever imagined otherwise!

post #4 of 8

Yes, I feel this way though my concerns aren't exactly the same as yours.  This baby was very much planned for and wanted, so I've been surprised at how ambivalent I've been feeling and sometimes downright resentful over the time and energy it takes away from what I can give to the other people and creatures in my life.  I'm worried that the resentfulness will carry over into this baby's life on the outside.


I love the newborn stage.  I know a lot of people don't, but I love giving all of myself to care for people/creatures.  The problem is this time, I can't give all of myself.  I want to give everything to DS and I'll want to give everything to this baby.  But I won't be able to and I'm worried that it will make me angry with DS and angry with the baby.  It won't be the same kind of magic of immersion.  It will be much more of a balancing act - which is not something I'm good at.


Like lilyofjudah, though, I don't think these thoughts will affect my labor.  For me, labor is a whole other world.  It will sweep me away and I'll do what I need to do. 

post #5 of 8

I think what you are feeling is completely normal.  You do not know the baby in your belly the way you know your loved ones who are out in the world.  The actual physical signs your body uses to bond with the baby will not occur until birth.

I have a real sense of love for this baby, but it is ethereal.  It literally feels dreamy and up in the sky somewhere.  The actual baby is not known.  

I also think loving more than one child comes naturally.  You just love your babies- that is how we are made.  

As for labor, I doubt you will be doing much thinking during it!  I know for me, the pain and hormones completely take over and I am not worrying about anything other than the next contraction!     

post #6 of 8

I have to say I didn't feel that way before #2 but I did after she was born. Thankfully I got over it quickly, but #2 was a real cry-er and only wanted me ALL THE TIME and breast fed constantly (complete opposite of #1 who was early who was a very, very mellow baby...actually had to wake her up to feed, etc.)


I vividly remember being in my room at one point when for what felt like the 50th time someone offered to take DD1 for the day so I could "get a break" and thinking "I wish they'd leave me with MY little girl and take this monster baby instead!!!!" And crying and feeling like "what have I done?" It didn't last long, but boy was that a low point. It was tough.


Thankfully I had lots of support and even though most of it involved taking care of DD1 who I would have rather spent the time with, everyone eventually adjusted and all is completely well 12 years later...LOL

post #7 of 8
Thoughts of the day... With my first I had a strong feeling of wanting to keep the baby inside, where it was safe and sheltered from the scary dangerous world outside. I think this actually kind of freaked my midwives out, into thinking I was having some premonition about the birth not going well or the baby not being healthy. But I think it was just an acknowledgment that this baby was pure and innocent and the world is a bad, evil place sometimes. .. I had to grieve that, somehow.

As for this baby though? Honestly, I'm kind of looking forward to it being born so someone else can take care of it and I can finally eat and poop and sleep and not have so many aches and pains! Feels kind of selfish sometimes, especially when I think back to my first. But I wasn't nearly as uncomfortable with her, and I guess a few years parenting experience has changed my worldview too...
post #8 of 8
Nice to hear everyone's perspectives and experiences. I think there are way too many pressures on women to do/feel things a certain way during pregnancy. If we feel something we should respect that and try not to feel guilty for feeling it. As far as labor, just keep telling yourself that you trust yourself and body and baby will come out beautifully.

It's my first baby and for the first 7.5-8 months I was so ill I couldn't bond; I was just trying to survive. I was worried too because I wasn't feeling that bliss or getting excited, and that led to guilt. Will I be a bad mother because of it? Sickness started to alleviate a bit and I started getting excited but still feeling detached overall. It makes complete sense that true bonding wouldn't happen until birth and later, when we start to learn who this person is. I was never angry at my baby for me being so sick. In fact, I told her a number of times that I knew it wasn't her but the hormones causing me problems. But, I just haven't had the mental or physical ability to think beyond getting myself through this pregnancy, so for me those bonding moments just can't happen until she is here.

Since you already know what having one is like, yes it will be hard but just trust in the hormones and nature's way of smoothing all of over. Love is inevitable! Thanks for posting this.
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