I can't bond with my baby

Agony Aunt's picture


Dear Patricia Marie

I'm sorry to bother you, but I just don't know what to do, and I am embarrassed to talk to my husband or friends.  Six weeks ago I gave birth to my son. My husband and I have been trying for so long for me to become pregnant, and I had almost given up hope, and then suddenly my pregnancy test came out positive.  We were over the moon, decorated the nursery, went out and bought all the nursery furniture, buggy, car seat, clothes and so on, and waited with eager anticipation for the day to come when I could hold my child in my arms.  We had a few minor worries with the scans, and I did put on quite a lot of weight during pregnancy, but we were quite literally counting the days until he arrived.

But now he is here I just can't bond with him.  He cries all the time, I am getting no sleep, my body looks saggy and flabby, and I actually feel I am beginning to hate him, which I know is a dreadful way to feel, and I could never explain that to anyone who knows me. And I am just so tired, keep bursting into tears for no reason, and can't cope with the fact I can't do anything as he is so demanding. I know it is taboo to say so, but I wish he had never been born. I don't want him anymore. I hate myself for thinking this way. I have family and friends I could turn to, but worry they will think me a failure.  Please don't reply if you are going to judge me.  I don't know where else to turn.  If I tell the midwife, she will probably have him taken away from me and then everyone will hate me.  Help me, please.

Patricia says....

Do not apologise for seeking the help of which you are very much in need. Indeed, I am extremely saddened by your letter, and hope that I can enable you to see why you may be feeling the way you do. Commonly known as the 'baby blues', most women can feel very emotional after experiencing childbirth and becoming a parent, particularly when having to cope with new demands on both their time and attention, as well as getting little sleep. However, this wouldn't normally last for more than a few weeks. Nevertheless, Post Natal Depression (PND), which I believe is what you are suffering from, is when there are intense feelings of unhappiness, lasting for weeks or months, and a difficult struggle to bond with the baby. Whilst this must be extremely upsetting for you, please remember, you are not alone. In fact, around 1 in 10 new mothers suffer from this, and it is certainly nothing to be ashamed of. PND is an illness that requires treatment, and I urge you to seek professional assistance as soon as possible. Your GP, will not judge or criticise, but want to help you and discuss a treatment plan for your recovery. You could be offered some counselling sessions alongside some medication, to support this overwhelming condition you are suffering from. Your health visitor is there to support you too and could offer solutions to assist your crying baby. 

There are ways you can help yourself, such as taking baby for walks in the fresh air, which is an enjoyable form of exercise and should lighten your mood. Ensure you sleep when you can, eat healthily, and also, do try to open up to your family and friends. After all, a problem shared, really is a problem halved. Bear in mind too, that every new mum has issues around their post-baby body, so please stop being so hard on yourself. In time you can get back into shape, but for now your priority is getting the appropriate help so you can start to embrace motherhood. Once you begin to feel a little better, I recommend you join one of the many mother and baby classes available, where you won't feel so isolated, as you would be able to share any fears or anxieties with other new mums who are experiencing similar - and your little one would have great fun making friends too. I feel by receiving the help and support you deserve will make a huge difference to the way you are feeling. Hopefully you will soon begin to see yourself not as a failure, but be proud to have created a beautiful baby son who you will go on to very much enjoy and cherish forever. 

Patricia Marie, our Agony Aunt, wants to hear your problems, dilemmas, and quarrels. Just email them to patricia.marie@lady.co.uk