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  1. #1
    Join Date
    May 2015

    Bonding with baby

    I wanted to start this thread for people to share their stories because I feel like there's an expectation that mothers will bond with their baby straight away, during pregnancy even... and I suspect that that's sometimes, but by no means always, the case... and that the feeling that we "should" have a stronger bond is just yet another source of stress and pressure that we don't need.

    When did you really feel you bonded with baby? What helped or hindered forming that bond?

    For me, I'd imagined that I'd feel a strong bond with my first bub during pregnancy... but during pregnancy baby just didn't feel real yet. Even with ultrasound scans. Kicks helped a bit, but...
    TW - loss
    Then kicks just became a huge source of stress as I stopped feeling as many or as strongly as I had at 22-ish weeks. It turned out baby was head-sparing IUGR, and I think I was SCARED to form too close a bond in case I lost her... especially having seen my sister go through a stillbirth with her first at 28 weeks... I was scared to truly hope.

    So then I thought that "when I get to meet her" there'd be an instant bond. But when I got to meet her, I was absolutely exhausted and in shock from over 3 hours of pushing that wasn't getting there ending in her being yanked out with a ventouse, no pain relief... and this alien like little blob covered in meconium was chucked on my chest/tummy, but I was lying on a bed in stirrups being stitched up and the cord was a bit short and I couldn't even get a proper look at her.

    Even once her and I were cleaned up, the next day... she was just beautiful and I loved her oh-so-much but... I was so tired, and toileting and showering was so new and scary, and despite all the antenatal classes this new thing was so foreign to me. She wouldn't latch properly. I was trying to learn how to latch her, how to hand express colostrum, how to flipping get her to sleep, how to get those tiny little arms and legs through sleeves and trousers, with the pressure that she was too little and they might giver her formula, and with meds and trying to still deal with stitches in my nether-regions!

    It wasn't a fairy tale. I missed work!. I hated feeling so replaceable and out of the loop. The lack of adult work conversations. The lack of sleep. The mountains of laundry. The endless cycle of trying to wake her for feeds, trying to breastfeed, pumping, sterilizing, trying to get her to go back to sleep. But our bond is something that's grown and grown over time, with every smile and laugh, watching her grow and change, seeing her interests, cuddles, her funny expressions. Relaxing has helped a lot - ignoring the laundry, and just being with my baby. Researching safe co-sleeping to cope with constant night wake ups. What was it like for you - instant bonding, or taking some time?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Jul 2012
    United States
    I'm not sure if I can comment on this, as I am only 12 weeks along, but this definitely spoke a lot to me as I read along. My thoughts are sort of all over the place but I'll try to be as clear as I can.

    I'll start by saying that I'm really, truly thankful for this little one. Many of you guys know my was a long, hard road to get to this point. However, it pains my heart to say that I just don't feel any bond or connection with this baby. At least not right now.

    I don't know if it is the trauma of losing two babies previously, the trauma of infertility, the fact that my numbers didn't rise the way they should've on their own, or that we are having a lot of financial concerns (have to quit my job) but I didn't expect to feel this way. I thought I'd be over the moon excited, and I am to an extent, but it's like there is a wall there that I can't break down. I think "the baby" is more of a concept right now rather than a reality, even though I got to see the little one a few weeks ago.

    I do hope it gets better. We should be finding out the result of the genetic testing soon, so hopefully some good news there will help me ease up and enjoy this pregnancy more. Also, maybe finding out the gender and calling the baby by name may help. I really don't know.

    Thank you, though, for sharing your experience and your feelings. While things like PPD and mom struggles, for lack of a better term, are getting more of a voice these days, it does seem like there is an expectation of how things should look. When that doesn't happen, you feel like a failure. It's hard.

    Elim Nathaniel James due Feb 2020 <3

    "Beauty begins the moment you decide to be yourself"~ Coco Chanel

  3. #3
    Such a good topic. Sorry this is long. To start, I did have that instantaneous, almost magical bond with my daughter in pregnancy. I felt so in love immediately after she was born. So I thought that's just what happened.

    Enter second pregnancy. After months of debating, we finally decided to try. We conceived on the first attempt and I think we were both in shock about it. The pregnancy didn't seem real. I was so busy with my toddler I barely stopped to think about the pregnancy, except to feel a little resentful that exhaustion and nausea was stopping me from being at my parenting best.

    Then we found out he was a boy. I had a bit of gender disappointment, but I had more disappointment on behalf of my daughter who had so badly wanted a sister. (She took it well and loved him immediately and asks for a sister sometimes but also says we shouldn't return him to the baby store because he is so cute -- so if anyone is reading this with a disappointed sibling, it can go well despite a rocky start!)

    We had more pregnancy complications / worries this time around. Cyst on baby's brain (was nothing), placenta previa that corrected itself, baby was a giant so I had to get a belated glucose test, stress about whether or not to be induced. It was just a lot more stress than with my first. We had no name until he was born, and honestly despite months of debating and initial confidence I'm not 100% convinced we made the right choice.

    I had an absolutely amazing birth experience compared to my first, and despite his size, no complications. But it ended up being the first night I had ever spent away from my daughter -- so there were all sorts of feelings associated with that.

    I was (am) thoroughly sleep deprived. The first six weeks of his life he was either asleep or cranky. Found out it was due to oversupply. Fixed my milk and fixed him, but it had been hard to bond with something that was screaming at me all the time and demanding my attention away from my three year old.

    Basically, I had all sorts of guilt for having a second because of how much my relationship had to change with my first, first during pregnancy and then with a newborn. It was like I was afraid to develop a bond with him because I was afraid it would diminish my relationship with her.

    We're four months in now and I love him. I mean, I always loved him, but we are starting to close in on the "magical" bond. What's helped is that he is so happy and cruisey now, and my daughter loves him so incredibly much and has transitioned to being a big sister better than I could have imagined, and so I have been able to shed the guilt and allow myself to bond.

    Mummy to Rosalie Lyra ("Rosie") 17.01.16
    and Atticus Jon ("Kit") 27.03.19

  4. #4
    Join Date
    Apr 2015
    This is such an important thing to be open about, and I'm so thankful you ladies have been happy to share. I know so many mummas that found connecting to their baby to be difficult... it's definitely something that should be talked about more. This thread is so important - thank you! I'm always so inspired by how this community supports each other! Xx
    Now posting as @thelittlefairywren!
    ...felt the need for a fresh user...

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Feb 2019
    I don't think it happens straight away with a lot of people but I think a lot of people find that hard to admit.

    Hattie was a surprise pregnancy and I think I remained surprised and in disbelief the entire 9 months. I had a tough 24 hour labour and when she finally arrived I was so drugged up/exhausted that I could barely register what had just happened. The bond wasn't instantaneous and the next few weeks were such a struggle for me but as she's grown, the bond has strengthened and now she's the love of my life.

    I remember being asked by colleagues about the instant love feeling and I was just honest about it not happening straight away for me. I felt the reactions were concerned/sympathetic and that made me feel quite bad, like I had done something wrong. There's just such a taboo around the subject.
    Last edited by lectionn; July 26th, 2019 at 06:08 PM.
    Harriet Elizabeth Rose 'Hattie'
    Born December '18

    Ideas for #2:

    Florence Lily Charlotte 'Flo/Florrie/Flora'

    Alice. Constance. Matilda. Ophelia. Theodora. Flora. Clara.

    Edward Alexander Charles 'Eddie/Ned/Ted/Teddy'

    Arthur. Felix. Rufus. Sebastian. Theodore. Wilfred. Stanley.

  6. #6
    Join Date
    Jun 2018
    Northern Europe
    Thank you for starting this thread, I felt relieved reading your story and seeing other people have similar experiences. I know this happens to a lot of parents, but still I feel alone with this sometimes.

    With my oldest, Hjörtur, I only felt that bond after he was born, and even then it took me several weeks to get to that point. He wasn't planned at all, in fact I didn't want any children (at least not with my then husband, as I realized later). I was already 10 weeks along when I found out I was pregnant, before that time I may have had a hunch but I just didn't want to know, I guess. Towards the end of the pregnancy I got used to the idea of becoming a mother, and I was even looking forward to it, despite my anxiety and doubts. But somehow this baby didn't seem real until he was born and I was holding him in my arms. Hjörtur was a very calm baby, didn't cry a lot, never had any problems with feeding... He was a dream, but the first few weeks it just didn't sink in that this little baby boy was my child, and that we'd be connected for the rest of our lives. Despite him being so easy going, the first weeks were very difficult for me and I felt like a complete failure. But things just got better over time. I can't say there was one particular moment when it changed, it just happened.

    I'm not pregnant with my second baby, first one for SO, and I sometimes feel like he has bonded more with this baby than I have. This pregnancy was planned, I got pregnant on the second "proper" try, and I was a bit shocked how fast it was going. After my first surprise I felt over the moon for a few weeks, but now I'm 25 weeks along and things have gotten difficult. I struggled with anxiety and stress and had to stay home from work for about 7 weeks. I have terrible back pains and most of the time I have muscle aches over my entire body. I'm tired all the time. It hasn't made bonding with my child any easier.
    Mother to Hjörtur Emmanuel & Barnabas Húni

    Maximilian Óli * Matthias Hreinn * Vignir Ulysses * Nikolai Svani * Zalman Torfi
    Ondine Lilach * Lucinde Meital * Mareva Bluma * Lavinia Perle * Magdalene Dune

  7. #7
    My little babe is not here yet but tbh I don’t expect myself to have that magical ‘bonding’ moment. (It might happen, but I highly doubt it) Even through out this pregnancy I would say I don’t feel bonded to her, (don’t get me wrong I’m excited for her, and am doing everything I possibly can now to keep her safe and healthy and growing) but to me it’s feel s like she’s still just this cute little stranger growing inside me. I don’t know her, I don’t know what she looks like, whether she likes to be rocked or bounced, swaddled or free, I know nothing. I’m excited to find out but bonding for me has always taken time. I would say a lot of my hesitation comes from anxiety, from the ‘what if’s’ and don’t count your chickens before they hatch kinda mentality that I’ve developed over time

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