I Didn’t Bond With My Baby Right After Giving Birth

That’s not an easy thing to say. It filled me with so much sadness and shame at the time. Made me feel like I failed her from her first seconds of life here on earth. Mom guilt right from the start.

When they handed her to me I felt love, but I didn’t feel the all consuming in love feeling I had felt with my son. She felt so foreign to me after holding her brother for the past two years.

My pregnancy with her had been riddled with negativity. She was unplanned and the news of my pregnancy came at a time of unemployment for my husband. We lived in a tiny one bedroom apartment. There was major discord happening with my in laws. I had hyperemesis gravidarum and had been hospitalized early in pregnancy.

Even with all of the negativity I was so excited for her. She was so loved, and wanted, but she felt so foreign to me. That’s the only way I knew to describe it.

My husband would leave the hospital to be with our son, and he left to give her and I time together. He knew that I was struggling. He knew we needed time to just be alone together. Every moment someone wasn’t visiting I had her in a diaper on my bare chest. I was in tears most of the time just praying that her and I would magically stop being strangers.

She would not breastfeed. Would not. I tried everything, and there were no physical reasons why she shouldn’t be able to. I felt like such a failure, and also so rejected.

My mom had been gone for a little over a year and I wanted so badly to be able to call her. Moms have an answer for everything and I was so mad at her for not being there. I was so mad at her for dying, I was so mad at her cancer.

I loved this child. I didn’t love her brother more than her, but it was just all different than the first time.

I kept trying to breastfeed her. She kept saying no in only the way a baby can.

About a week after she came home she woke up in the wee hours. I sat on the couch with her and she immediately calmed down in my arms, like she always did. I fixed her a bottle of pumped milk and started to feed her. She refused the bottle. So we sat there and just stared at each other, and then I sobbed. I sobbed for the pregnancy I wish I had with her. I sobbed for my mom who I wanted there so badly. I sobbed for the week that had just passed of me just going through the motions of being a mom. And then I sobbed for the overwhelming love that flooded my body for the little girl staring back at me.

It took me my whole pregnancy and a week after birth to realize that I was never not in love with her. That all consuming love was there the whole time. My pregnancy was not negative. Circumstances were negative, people were negative, but this girl was a gift. She was the light at the end of a dark time.

This is a hard subject to write about. I never would have understood it until it happened to me. After researching it I learned I was not alone. If you’re reading this and experiencing the same thing please know you are not alone.

Here are some links to articles I found helpful:



Photo by Jennifer Mehling Photography

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