Normalizing Not Feeling Connected To Your Baby, Right Away
I’ve always struggled with anxiety, so I think that had a major hand in it. I know one of my triggers is lack of sleep, which we all know is definitely a thing in those first months (or maybe forever? TBD 🤪) I hadn’t been around babies very much and definitely not newborns. I was very excited while pregnant, but also very very nervous about if I’d be able to handle delivery and taking care of a baby. I think my anxiety about it prevented me from focusing on the actual baby growing inside me. It was hard for me to connect to the thought that a human being was growing inside my belly, even though I could see and feel her move. I actually handled labor and delivery like a freaking champ 💪🏻 but I remember I was so startled when she finally was born and they laid her on my belly. I remember thinking, “oh! Right, this is what I was working so hard for just a minute ago”.
The first few days, weeks, and months I was so sleep deprived and post partum anxiety set in HARD. I would cry with her when she went through the witching hour. I cried the day my husband went back to work because I was so scared I wouldn’t be able to handle it alone. It was SO HARD those first few months. But then she started sleeping longer than 2 hour stretches at night. She started interacting more. She smiled for the first time. The anxiety was still high but the sleep deprivation lessened a bit. And then something clicked at about 6 weeks post partum. The connection. I loved her before that, but it was so cloudy trying to see it. I felt like I was failing as a mom because I didn’t LOVE being exhausted 24/7, because I didn’t have the patience you’re supposed to magically have as a mother, because I didn’t adore holding my baby all day every day. I had always wanted to be a mom and I was so depressed that I didn’t love it immediately.
But I knew I loved her because I would fall asleep watching her breathing in her sleep. I would have nightmares about bad things happening to her and wake up crying. I couldn’t stand to be away from her for more than an hour. It would literally tear me up to hear her cry for more than 2 minutes. I knew I loved her but idk, something just changed at 6 weeks. Right before I went back to work.
I went from being excited to go back to work, to escape for a bit, to dreading it and crying at the thought of leaving her. My first week back to work was the week of Mother’s Day. I worked my very first Mother’s Day 😢
I want to help other women know it’s ok to not feel that connection right away. That feeling of failure is so powerful and depressing, but I wasn’t failing. I was learning. I was struggling but not failing. I’ve since learned it’s usually hormonal reasons that women don’t connect right away. My hormones took me by complete surprise post partum, holy smokes. Worse than pregnancy hormones. And we can’t control our hormones. So it’s not our fault for feeling that way.
As long as you get the help you need, when you need it, if your ppd/ppa gets to be too much to handle and you’re struggling to connect with your baby. It can definitely lead to scary situations.
Written By: Lisa K for The Mommy Confessions®️