Some of you may not have read my previous post on this, if you haven’t then it’s probably best you do so you understand the context of this. What I’m about to write will probably garner me some hatred, but I need to get it out, and maybe it’ll help someone else in the same situation to know they aren’t the only one. I cannot be the only one.
Quick summary, my daughter was born 10 weeks early by emergency caesarean which was done under general anaesthetic. As a consequence I didn’t see her until more than 24 hours after she’d been born, and I couldn’t hold her until she was 3 days old. She then stayed in special care until she was 6 weeks, during which time I had immense trouble bonding with her, most of the time it didn’t feel like she was even mine – after all I hadn’t seen her birth. She’s home now, and it’s harder than I ever imagined.
She came home on March 3rd, and the sense of relief was overwhelming, she was home, she was ours and we could finally start being parents. In those early days she was a dream, a real easy baby. She slept loads and barely cried, unlike her brother who was a hard baby. She’s not like that any more though.
We think she has a milk allergy or lactose intolerance. My son has lactose intolerance, and I did as a baby. We had to fight tooth and nail to get him any help as the doctor’s refused to believe it was anything but reflux/colic. So it was 6 months of screaming and vomiting until we got fed up of waiting for doctors and changed him to soya formula. So I’ve done the sleepless night pacing with an upset baby. I’ve spent days unable to do anything but hold and rock. It was hard, so hard, and I have records of me being pushed to the point of breaking. What I do know is that my overwhelming feeling back then was that I had to soothe and comfort my baby, I wanted to protect him with every fibre of my being. It physically hurt to hear him upset.
My daughter though? Not so much.
I want to feel like that with her, I want to long to protect her. Mostly though I just want to scream at her, I want to get her away from me when she’s screaming. I want nothing to do with her. At 3am when she’s been screaming for hours and I’m tired I even entertain visions of throwing her across the room.
I shouldn’t need to point this out, but I will NEVER harm her. I will harm myself before I harm her. Because I know these feelings are wrong and horrific. And that’s what makes it worse is that these visions and desires repulse me, but they are there in my head, against my will. Against nature it seems.
Everything about my motherhood this time round feels unnatural, and it’s breaking me.
When I had my son I was convinced I’d be an awful mother, lacking in patience, and without a maternal instinct. I was scared and dreading it. My confidence in myself was also rock bottom, I’d had my world shut down by disability and then I lost my own mother 3 weeks before he was born. I thought being a mother would destroy me. But then he arrived and suddenly I found that I enjoyed it more than anything else I’d ever done, and what’s more I was good at it. With my son I know I’m a good mother, and I’m not normally very good at seeing strengths in myself. I love being a mother to him, it’s natural and wonderful – even when he’s being a grouchy naughty toddler!
With my daughter though I feel like the worst mother, I don’t enjoy feeding her or cuddling her, her screams cut through me like a knife. I’m so scared she’s aware of this and it affects her.
When I was born I was also an emergency c-section under general, though I didn’t go into special care. Both my dad and my aunt have told me that my own mother struggled to bond with me, and the other day I remembered a conversation with my mum where she told me that I was never affectionate as a child. I’d avoid cuddles, whereas my brother was affectionate and very cuddly. She didn’t tell me this in a mean way, it was in a discussion about how different two children can be, even with the same upbringing. I never really thought about it before, but now I wonder if this was because of the early disconnect at my birth?
It’s a hard thought, but also reassuring as my and mum were incredibly close as I got older. There’s a big gaping hole in my life now that she’s gone. So maybe this will affect my relationship with my daughter at first, but hopefully it will improve with time.
Right now though, I am struggling and I hate myself for hating her.
I wish more than anything her birth had been different, and the bonding process had been more like the one with my son.
This is no way to live.