Not wanting to hold the baby after birth? - Mothering Forums
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#1 of 6 Old 03-24-2013, 05:22 PM - Thread Starter
 
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My birth story is posted in the birth story section. It wasn't really traumatic in itself. What was traumatic was that I was terrified of motherhood and depressed before I ever started giving birth. Once my daughter was born, I had no interest whatsoever in holding her or seeing her or anything. It seemed crazy that anyone would be excited, and all I wanted was for everyone (including the baby) to leave me alone from the second she was out. 

 

What I eventually learned is that my lack of motherly feeling was connected in part to my own experiences as a baby/young child. Thankfully, something in me wanted to act like a mother should act, and my husband and doula modeled for me and instructed me on how to interact with my newborn. I'd also done a lot of reading beforehand and was determined to be an "attachment parent." I felt so guilty about my attitude and resentments, though. I really didn't understand beforehand how having not been an attached child could affect me in motherhood. Thanks to the help and strong skills of my husband, my daughter and I have a beautiful, attached relationship now.

 

Was just wondering if anyone else had this sort of experience. How has your experience changed you? I'm expecting my second and am excited to have a chance to have a newborn time that is at least a little positive and loving and not full of dark emotions and confusion. (Or, if those same things come up, to handle them on a different level, with more awareness and outside support if needed.) If you had more than one baby, did you experience rejecting the baby more than once?

 

Thanks for any feedback, and I hope if anyone else reading this is going through this now: know it is not a reflection of your goodness or worth as a person.



Mama to a bilingual (Arabic/English) and cuddly 3 year old, and planning another peaceful homebirth in June.
 

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#2 of 6 Old 03-26-2013, 07:11 AM
 
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This happened after my first birth due to trauma/shock. I have since had 2 healing births and no issues with wanting to hold baby.


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#3 of 6 Old 03-26-2013, 08:16 AM
 
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Having a baby is hard work, and the physical strain, the hormone rush, etc., may leave us feeling less then 100% affectionate right then.  Humans are emotionally resilient, and that first moment is not our only chance to bond.  No one single moment represents our entire parenting relationship.  I'm suspicious of attempts to connect a lack of instant love and adoration for the baby immediately after labor to a mother's emotional history, and even more suspicious of attempts to argue that a mother's immediate emotions in that moment are harmful to the baby. I worry that drawing these connections is likely to make new mothers blame themselves for things outside their control, and to feel worse at what is already an emotionally vulnerable time.  As a woman who has sometimes had to parent while physically incapacitated (due to cancer treatment) I'm especially wary of the idea that the only way to express affection and attachment for a child, even an infant, is through physical contact.

 

After my first was born, I had no real immediate desire to hold him - I was exhausted from a long labor, I was running a fever, and I was hemorrhaging.  I didn't have a lot of interest in holding my second right away either.  Emergency c-section, I was pretty out of it, and had lost a lot of blood, and she needed to be in the NICU.

 

I love my kids, and I think my relationships with them have benefited from my ability to come to those relationships without preconceived notions of what love and attachment between us will look like.  Each child is different, and each mother is different.  Even more:  each day is different.  What matters is building a relationship in which you can meet your needs and care for your child, and in which your child feels safe and loved.

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#4 of 6 Old 03-26-2013, 09:30 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Thanks for sharing your experiences on this!

 

I agree one moment is not going to irreversibly ruin a relationship, and that physical touch is not the only important thing. For me, I might not have been clear, I didn't really want to hold my baby not just for the first minutes, but in general at first. (I did it anyway, because I knew I should, but it brought me no joy.) I think it was in part due to exhaustion and also due to depression made worse by postpartum factors. I agree for many people their history may not be a big factor, but for me it was. So maybe this post belongs more in the PPD category. But I was just wondering how common it is right after birth.
 

MeepyCat said: "I love my kids, and I think my relationships with them have benefited from my ability to come to those relationships without preconceived notions of what love and attachment between us will look like.  Each child is different, and each mother is different.  Even more:  each day is different.  What matters is building a relationship in which you can meet your needs and care for your child, and in which your child feels safe and loved."
 

How beautiful.



Mama to a bilingual (Arabic/English) and cuddly 3 year old, and planning another peaceful homebirth in June.
 

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#5 of 6 Old 04-07-2013, 02:10 AM
 
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I suspect this feeling is very common, and people just have different recovery times.  

 

Quote:

Originally Posted by MeepyCat View Post

Having a baby is hard work, and the physical strain, the hormone rush, etc., may leave us feeling less then 100% affectionate right then.

....

I'm suspicious of attempts to connect a lack of instant love and adoration for the baby immediately after labor to a mother's emotional history, and even more suspicious of attempts to argue that a mother's immediate emotions in that moment are harmful to the baby.

^ditto

 

 I would note, I felt the "leave me alone" feelings at both of my births.   I was very lovingly raised as a child, & I have always loved holding babies.  I think the feelings I had were more a reflection on how I handle stress / pain / change, than how I perceive motherhood / my daughters / myself.   It took weeks for me to fully emotionally loop back after each (granted, somewhat unusually stressful in their own way) birth.  

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#6 of 6 Old 05-31-2013, 11:58 AM
 
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I had a non attached mother and am now following attachment parenting, which means giving myself permission to feel this strongly about my son, and it is what saved my relationship with him. i am very careful with our bond. since his birth i have grown ever more resentful of and distant from my own mother, who also had a non attached relationship with her own mother, who gave up her first child for adoption as a teenager. now i am pregnant with a daughter of my own, and this makes me very nervous. can i show her the love and not disconnect?  I think so but there is always worry. thank god we are aware.

 

 

I congratulate you on having broken the cycle, I'm and patting myself on the back as well:-)

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