In 2010 I had a very easy pregnancy and relatively easy, normal birth. No drugs, no intervention and skin to skin contact the moment she came out, breastfeeding within a few minutes. I remember when she finally came out and thinking thank god that’s over. Then I
turned around and there was my daughter! I think I actually swore! It wasn’t over, it was just beginning.
I was in hospital for about 5 days due to excessive tearing and during that time my daughter and husband stayed in the room with me. My husband and I did shifts sleeping and taking our daughter for a walk through the ward. During this hospital stay that I started feeling depressed. I just wanted to go home and sleep in my own bed and have my own food and stuff around me! Once we got home I couldn’t stop smiling, I was so happy to be home. Unfortunately it didn’t last very long.
Every night from about 4pm onwards I sat on the couch and cried. I knew I should feel overwhelming love for this little person in my arms but it just didn’t happen. I probably didn’t really love her as such for about 6 months. That sounds awful and in hindsight I think I had slight post natal depression that went undiagnosed because the washing was done, food was cooked and the house was clean so no one suspected I was struggling internally. I remember sitting on the lounge crying and I told my husband if she was a cat she would go back to the pound (we had 3 cats and none of them was ever this much work!!)!
I wanted the best for this little baby but I didn’t want her with me and there were many days (most of them probably) where I would have paid someone to take her away. My mother in law came over for a few nights and fed my daughter formula while I slept a few full nights. I was just so sleep deprived I couldn’t think straight.
What helped me a lot was getting out of the house everyday. Making appointments with people around 10am which meant I had to get up and get dressed because I said I would be somewhere. Whether it was coffee with a friend, a Dr’s appointment or baby singing in the local library, it was just great to get some fresh air and sunshine.
I found that once she started communicating with me I began to bond more with her. Her first smile at 2 months, giggling at 3 months, first foods at 4 months all helped me connect with my little girl. I now have a wonderful relationship with my 3 year old. She is cheeky, funny and so smart and I wouldn’t know what to do with myself if she wasn’t around.
Relationships take time. We bond with friends and partners over months and years. Why should this be any different? You are taking your time to get to know a new little person that has turned your life upside down. You shouldn’t feel guilty or blame yourself for your feelings.
I want new mums to know that not everybody feels that instant love for their baby and that it is ok! I guarantee you it will come with time.