August 2012 Moms

Getting It Off My Chest

On August 25, 2012 I gave birth to the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen. And I felt nothing. Everyone had told me it would be this moment where your whole life changed and the center of your universe shifted and everything became brighter. When I eventually felt something it was only fear.

I wanted my husband, and I wanted my mother to go away. I didn't want anyone to hold her because I didn't want them to hurt her. My head kept saying 'don't mess up, if you mess up she will die before your husband even gets to meet her and it will be all your fault.'

When I came back here for moral support I felt better, it seemed I wasn't the only one who didn't instantaneously bond with my newborn and that was comforting. Everyone assured me that love would grow over time. I had no problems caring for her, and I did love her. I didn't ever not love her. It was just not the way I expected it to feel.

It has changed, and evolved. I feel a fierceness, a desire to protect her. She makes me smile, she makes me laugh, but I feel like I am not loving her as a mother should.

Every time I think of going somewhere with her all I think of is worst case scenario, someone harming her, me hurting her accidentally - like dropping her, someone stealing her. So I rarely go out. Once I am out I'm fine, but when I'm inside the outside world is frightening. I want to protect her.

When we are home I feel weary. I hate myself for thinking 'oh dear god is it nap time yet' or 'will you please sit quietly and give me a few minutes to myself'. I have a bad habit of handing her off to my husband as soon as he gets in the door.

I've never felt like such a failure in my life as I do as a mom.

I'm supposed to love her endlessly and want to be around her all the time. I thought I would be like my mother and find not greater joy in the world than simply sitting and watching her play all day, but I find excuses to lay her down and walk away... to do dishes, fold laundry, feed the dogs, answer a text. Anything to get my space!

I don't ignore her though. We spend the day together. We read books, we watch Blue's Clues, we play airplane and do tummy time. She is so beautiful and brilliant and when I'm close to her my heart swells, but when I'm tired, when I step away... I feel like it fades. I feel like my mother's love only lasts within close proximity to her and I don't know whats wrong with me.

I hear second time moms talking about how the love was more instantaneous the second time, and how the love will only grow in the family not be divided and find myself thinking that maybe I could have another. Maybe if we had another baby, this time I would get it right. Maybe it would make me a better mom to Chloe.

I'm still waiting, and I hope it comes around. I love my daughter, I'm just waiting for the earth to move.

Re: Getting It Off My Chest

  • I'm so glad you are able to share your experience here and I've had many of those same feelings. It wasn't what I expected. I love DS more than anything but I'm never sure if I feel as much as I'm "supposed" to. It's exhausting, overwhelming and I am always feeling guilty that I can't wait to get to nap time some days. You're not alone!
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  • I like the honesty here. I too felt nothing when they layed ds on my chest. I loved him, but I wasn't IN love with him until like, he was 3 or 4 months old.

    Until then, I felt like I was babysitting, not like his mother.

    Eta: Everyday I look forward to nap time. Some days are just rough and he drives me up a wall. I think this is a natural feeling. At least that's what I like to tell myself..
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  • molly, you have had a rough run of things.  here's are a few things that jump out at me....

    you had to do this BY YOURSELF.  your DH was away while you were pregnant and then when you had here.  i CANNOT imagine what that was like.  i just cannot.  it takes a strength that i am not sure i possess.  i believe that when you are forced to go through tough things emotionally that the mind can decide to protect itself by shutting down emotionally.  no one has a bigger reason or excuse to do this than military spouses.  you guys have to deal with so much.  do you think maybe that could be a part of it?

    also, even now with him home, he's still gone for a ton of time.  doesn't he work something like 12 hour days for weeks at a time?  dude.  my DH doesn't work near that time and still when he comes home i give DD to him.  this motherhood is tough stuff.  there is no shame in wanting and needing a break.

    what does childcare cost in your area?  could you try to get a part time job, maybe 10-20hours/week.  even if the cost of the job only covered your daycare expense and you netting nothing financially, i think it would be good for you to try and see if that makes you feel better.  you are something beyond being chloes mom.  it sounds like maybe you've lost a little of that.

    have you talked to a doctor about these things?  perhaps taking something for anxiety would help.

    have you talked to your DH about these things?  you should.

    finally, from everything i see you post here and on FB to me, it sounds like you expect way too much of yourself.  try to cut yourself some slack.  nothing about this is magical.  you don't need to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect crocheter, the perfect anything.  you are YOU and that is enough.

    thinking about you dear.

     

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  • Aaww Love, you are a wonderful beautiful mommy. All of this stuff takes practice. Dont be so hard on yourself and please go talk to someone. Are you suspecting PPA or PPD? Try to "not do everything perfect." Take some pressure off yourself. Your LO will be fine. She needs a happy momma more than any other developmental play you can offer.

    You will get through this. Just know that there are people just like you that made it through!

    Huge, squishy, grandma hugs!

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  • image hooslisa:

    molly, you have had a rough run of things.  here's are a few things that jump out at me....

    you had to do this BY YOURSELF.  your DH was away while you were pregnant and then when you had here.  i CANNOT imagine what that was like.  i just cannot.  it takes a strength that i am not sure i possess.  i believe that when you are forced to go through tough things emotionally that the mind can decide to protect itself by shutting down emotionally.  no one has a bigger reason or excuse to do this than military spouses.  you guys have to deal with so much.  do you think maybe that could be a part of it?

    also, even now with him home, he's still gone for a ton of time.  doesn't he work something like 12 hour days for weeks at a time?  dude.  my DH doesn't work near that time and still when he comes home i give DD to him.  this motherhood is tough stuff.  there is no shame in wanting and needing a break.

    what does childcare cost in your area?  could you try to get a part time job, maybe 10-20hours/week.  even if the cost of the job only covered your daycare expense and you netting nothing financially, i think it would be good for you to try and see if that makes you feel better.  you are something beyond being chloes mom.  it sounds like maybe you've lost a little of that.

    have you talked to a doctor about these things?  perhaps taking something for anxiety would help.

    have you talked to your DH about these things?  you should.

    finally, from everything i see you post here and on FB to me, it sounds like you expect way too much of yourself.  try to cut yourself some slack.  nothing about this is magical.  you don't need to be the perfect wife, the perfect mother, the perfect crocheter, the perfect anything.  you are YOU and that is enough.

    thinking about you dear.

     

    Thank you, I really appreciate your support. And I appreciate all of you who say you feel/felt the same because it makes me feel like less of a robot.

    I've never actually seen a doctor other than my OB since I got married... you don't really get 'a doctor' on base, you see who is available so I've just never gone. I'm not allowed to go see my OB again until next year anyway not that this is technically for me to talk about with my OB even though it relates to pregnancy.

    I've talked to DH about it and he understands, but hes passive about things so he doesn't really push to talk about things more than I offer or feel one way or another about it. He tells me I'm a good mom and moves on.

    Unfortunately childcare here is ridiculous. $500 a month on base or pretty much anywhere. The only jobs are part time at $7.25 an hour. At my best working during holiday season in retail I was making $450... they were trying to promote me.... but that wouldn't work either. DH and I would both end up working nights and we would have to hire a nanny... I couldn't afford it. There are no jobs here, which is unfortunate. I've looked for an online job, anything really to improve my self worth but I' kind of stuck.

  • I used to be on anti-depressants before, after I got married I ditched them. They helped me and I felt better but after a while I began to resent them because I felt like I had to medicate myself to be a better me which made me hate myself more. That and I'm terrible at remembering medication and that can cause awful mood swings and I'd be afraid I'd do something scary around DD.

    I'm thinking maybe if I get a jogging stroller and try exercising with Chloe more that maybe the endorphins will make me happier and doing something like that might feel more bonding? Anyone have experience with things like that?

    I've started co sleeping in the morning after the first bottle and as she falls asleep at night then I move her to her bed. We've been using the moby more... anything anyone tells me is good for bonding I've tried.

    Hell my boobs still leak a bit and I've considered trying to figure out how to get my milk supply back to see if nursing would do anything! But then I remember it did the exact opposite when I tried it so it's probably better not to mess with that.

  • I'm new around here so my words might not mean as much, but from almost every post I have ever seen from you, the love for your daughter shows so clearly. People experience love in so many different ways and just because it isn't the way you expected it to be, that doesn't mean that it is wrong or that you are a bad mom for feeling that way.  I can relate to so many things that you wrote about and hearing it from someone else lifts a weight off of my chest as well.

    Every day you have to focus on the ways that you so fiercely love this little girl.  That is what will shape her and stay with her as she grows up, not the fact that you wanted to do chores to get a break once in awhile.  But I get it...I worry all the time about whether I am cherishing this time enough or I feel the immense pressure of being the most important person to someone else.  Being a mom is hard!  I really hope that you continue to share these feelings and find support where you can.  Don't doubt yourself.  Chloe is lucky to have you as a mom.

  • You are not alone. I, too, have felt many of these same feelings. It's indescribable and sometimes I feel like I am just going through the motions without ever feeling anything. Then there are those days when DS smiles at me or laughs and the love comes flooding in, but only for those moments. It's growing on me. I love that I have DS, but I wish I could feel the love more often than I actually do.


  • image katiejo1216:

    I'm new around here so my words might not mean as much, but from almost every post I have ever seen from you, the love for your daughter shows so clearly. People experience love in so many different ways and just because it isn't the way you expected it to be, that doesn't mean that it is wrong or that you are a bad mom for feeling that way.  I can relate to so many things that you wrote about and hearing it from someone else lifts a weight off of my chest as well.

    Every day you have to focus on the ways that you so fiercely love this little girl.  That is what will shape her and stay with her as she grows up, not the fact that you wanted to do chores to get a break once in awhile.  But I get it...I worry all the time about whether I am cherishing this time enough or I feel the immense pressure of being the most important person to someone else.  Being a mom is hard!  I really hope that you continue to share these feelings and find support where you can.  Don't doubt yourself.  Chloe is lucky to have you as a mom.

    Thank you for wording that better than I could manage! That's exactly what it feels like.

  • You're not alone.  I sort of feel the same way you did/do and I'm a STM.  I didn't bond with DS1 or DS2 when they were born.  It just grew.  I also hand DS2 off to DH as soon as hes home from work.  Its tiring being home all day with both boys, even though I love them to pieces.  We all need a break.  I don't necessarily find reasons to put DS2 down but if I have to do house chores, I take my time.  I don't rush like I used to with DS1.  I do find that the highlights of my day are when both boys are behaving and just playing around.

    My mat leave is year long.  I found that I missed DS1 a sht ton more after I went back to work last time.  For me, it was like the grass was greener on the other side.  When I'm on mat leave, I just want to be at work...or I just feel like I need a million breaks away from the boys.  When I'm at work, I just want to be home with the boys.

    I'm so sorry you feel like a failure as a mother.  TBH, I do too.  I know I'm a shitty *ss mom.  I know no one is perfect but, for me, I feel like I could do so much better.  At night is when I feel the guilt.  I think about everything thats happened that day and what I could've done differently/better.  I hope what we feel isnormal.  And I pray it passes.  

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  • image JayandEmm:
    Until then, I felt like I was babysitting, not like his mother.



    I can't get passed this sentence. This is how I felt the first couple months, and still feel this way. I still feel like I'm not cut out for this. That he deserves better.

    I feel like I need to so everything for him. I know people want to help me with Jayson, and I should just accept the help and relax... I can't. I feel like if I need help all the time, I'm not a good mom.
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  • You have summed it up perfectly. When I was on leave I couldn't wait to get back to work to just have ME time. And even now on the weekends I will think just sleep a little bit longer. My DH has been great with helping. It is good to know others feel the same way.


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  • Molly, I wish I could give you a great big hug. When I had Isla I was in such shock and I think I still am. I have a perfectionist personality, so I never feel like I'm doing anything right. I shouldn't put too much pressure on myself, but I do. I love my daughter, but I never had the overwhelming love that some people speak of. She is my world and it's strange to me that I can love her so much, but not love her...if that makes any sense.
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  • I can relate to what you're saying. I think it's the expectations in life that really get us. And that goes for marriage, birth, motherhood...everything. We build these things up in our head to be a certain way, and when things don't go as planned, it feels like a failure. But it really isn't! You do love her, you are just loving her in your own way. Don't feel bad about that. I think lot of the stuff people say you are "supposed" to feel and do is a bunch of crap anyway.  

    From my own experience, getting out of the house is essential to my well being as a SAHM. I also had anxiety about taking her out. It's still there, but gets better each time I do it. I think the jogging stroller is an excellent idea. I find long walks calming for both me and LO. That being said, you better believe I hand her off as soon as DH walks in the door. It doesn't matter how much you love LO, everyone needs a break sometimes.

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  • Aw, honey.  Hugs.  I totally agree w HL that you are super strong to have handled those first months by yourself.  I cannot imagine having that sort of strength.

     For childcare, do you have any churches that do mothers mornings outs?  Even if you don't have a ton of cash, could you take Chloe like once every two weeks or so to give you a break and some downtime?

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  • You are so not alone. Becoming a mother is SO hard, so so hard. You are doing a wonderful job. Your love for her shines through even on this board.

    I don't think it would hurt to reach out to someone to talk to in regards to the fear and anxiety you are feeling.

    Hang in there and again, you are not alone Molly! I'm thinking of you.
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  • I am sorry for what you are going through, something to help possibly, is there any kind of spouse club on base? I'm not a doctor but maybe a little more social interaction with others in a safe place might help with your anxiety about going out.
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  • Thank you all for all of the support and virtual hugs! It really does help!

    The only person I trust to watch Chloe is getting out of the military (end of contract) soon and shes agreed to spend a few hours with Chloe each week so I can get some me time (that I will probably use to clean) and that will really help!

    DH is on board with the jogging stroller too so I'm looking into that.

    And we're going to be better about eating healthy so maybe that will help too!

    I'm going to try to start getting out more. I have 3 friends here so once DH's work schedule evens out more I should be able to balance my life a bit more and spend time with then.

    Thank you all so much! You make me feel better!

  • I love that your poured your heart and soul out to us! I can't imagine what it was like going solo through the pregnancy and in the beginning. I'm so fortunate to live so close to my parents and my inlaws that continue to help me while my DH is away.


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  • A lot of this resonates with me. I constantly shut down, not even from stress, and have someone else watch the baby. I think they can do a better job than I can. When I'm not with her, I crave her presence, but when I'm with her a lot of time I think "you're perfect and I love you, but isn't there someone who should know how to take care of you?"

    Chloe is one of the happiest, most beautiful babies I've ever seen. She knows she has a great mommy.
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  • I haven't read what everyone else wrote but I am so sorry you're going through this. It's very brave of you to share your feelings like this. But just know you are not alone. I didn't immediately love DD, it took some time. I often resented her for disrupting my life so much. It helped when I had some me time. That phase didn't last but I would suggest talking to someone.
    DS I didn't love immediately either. I guess for me it's that I had to get to know my kids first and see how they fit into my life. I made sure this time around to voice when I needed a time out instead of waiting to get to the breaking point. Being a sahm is freaking hard. Not trying to down play wms at all because I did that too for a while and it is so piece of cake either don't be so hard on yourself. Especially if you've done the majority of this journey on your own. I know I couldn't have done it. If your H doesn't understand or know how to help then perhaps you should talk to someone before your anxiety worsens. Good luck. And I'm glad you have the bump as an outlet. Hugs!
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  • You sound like you're doing a great job. I think more moms feel like this than you'd ever think. I can relate to a lot if it.

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  • First, I'm sorry you feel you're not a good mother because you feel these things. I've been told by people who don't have kids that I'm "brutal", but those who do have kids know exactly how I feel especially if they're honest with themselves! I don't think the love is instant, and I don't think these bars that are set by society, other women, even MEN are realistic.

    Just reading this from your post:

     "I'm supposed to love her endlessly and want to be around her all the time. I thought I would be like my mother and find not greater joy in the world than simply sitting and watching her play all day,"

    These are unrealistic thoughts in my opinion, and again, an unnecessary pressure from outside sources. There is a reason that I work, and it's because I need to fulfill myself. If I am not happy, I know I am not going to be a good mother. During the week I get about 1-2 hours with her before she goes to bed, but they are quality hours because I've had my time. If I was home all day with her, I would go crazy. I actually came back to work from maternity leave early because I needed my identity. The fact that you step away to do chores or pass off to your DH is exactly what I would do.

     The other thing is that you forget things so quickly. So maybe your mom only remembers the positive things, because I've noticed parents (even myself in only the few months I've had a kid) that you forget. I already am starting to forget how AWFUL those first part after bringing DD was.

     You are definitely not alone and hopefully posting has helped. 

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  • Ditto hooslisa 100%.  

    Be gentle with yourself.  You love and take care of your daughter.  Period.  There is no shame in being honest with yourself about your feelings, whether they be bad or good or indifferent.  In fact, simply acknowledging those feelings is a tremendous feat in and of itself, so I pat you on the back for this post Yes

    You WILL have ample amounts of love and nurturing available for as many children as you and your SO want.  Be it 1, 2, 3, or more, I can promise you that your love will expand more than enough.   

    As for your anxiety about leaving the house with Chloe, please talk to someone about that.  Your doctor, a therapist, a friend, your SO.  Anyone is fine, just don't keep it all inside you.  When anxiety is causing you to avoid normal daily activities, then it's time to reach out to someone.  

    I had very similar anxieties after DD was born, and I also kept waiting and waiting for the overwhelming outpour of puppies, rainbows, and unicorns of love.  It was mostly related to my own issues though with her birth and the trauma I endured during my c/s.  Nonetheless, the fear/anxiety eventually faded with time and therapy.  Please keep posting here if it helps, and I hope you can figure this out soon <3 

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  • I don't post often. But I wanted to say you are very brave. I imagine you ate an amazing mom and just don't know it. I know others said it but definitely reach out for help.

    This was so good of you to put into words. Exercise and diet won't hurt but maybe talking to someone will help too.

    Hugs mama. Just remember, we are all just doing the best we can.
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  • Really?  I'm surprised.  I truly am. I see such love in your pictures and in your posts.  And I see how you try so hard to be such a great mommy!  I feel like "man I wish I tried that hard!"  I think you're doing an amazing job with the circumstances that have been handed to you.  Going through pregnancy alone and almost being a single parent with Dh working 12 hour days.  Its not easy for any mom; first or second time.  So go easy on yourself. You can do everything wrong and Chloe would be none the wiser.  BUT!  You are doing SOOO good and she's lucky to have you as her mom.  I've heard from many mother's that the connection wasn't immediately there.  But give it time.  Maybe you're more of a toddler mom when there is a lot more interaction.  And that's ok!!  I repeat, you're doing such an amazing job.  I'm proud of you.  Chloe is a lucky girl.  

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  • It's hard when you're the only one home with baby all of the time. I feel the same way you do sometimes. I get frustrated when he won't give me five minutes to do the dishes or make myself a sandwich or whatever. I love nights my mom visits because she takes the reigns and I can just relax...and if she puts him to sleep, double score.

    I think it's normal to feel like you need a break when you're the main one taking care of Chloe. I don't think it means you love her any less...in fact, I KNOW you don't love her any less. You're just human and you have your own personal needs too. Everyone needs their space and alone time. It's not unusual and you're not doing anything wrong.

    You're a great mom and it may take you awhile to see that, but you are.

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  • image anbeck4:

    It's hard when you're the only one home with baby all of the time. I feel the same way you do sometimes. I get frustrated when he won't give me five minutes to do the dishes or make myself a sandwich or whatever. I love nights my mom visits because she takes the reigns and I can just relax...and if she puts him to sleep, double score.

    I think it's normal to feel like you need a break when you're the main one taking care of Chloe. I don't think it means you love her any less...in fact, I KNOW you don't love her any less. You're just human and you have your own personal needs too. Everyone needs their space and alone time. It's not unusual and you're not doing anything wrong.

    You're a great mom and it may take you awhile to see that, but you are.

    Yup, yup, and yup.  I meant to add that last night as well, but I was so tired.  Its SO normal to want your own space.  And as they get older even more, lol!  They're all up under your butt!  That's why I make such a big deal when I get ME time cause dang, can't a girl get a minute?!  Being a mom is a 24/7 job.  Its ok to want a break every now and then.  I look forward to nap time errr single day!  Then I miss him when he's asleep, lol.. Then he wakes up and I"m like "when is the next nap time??"  lol!  Its a mom's life.  Its normal.   

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