I Don't Love My Baby, Is Something Wrong With Me?

3.11.2017 |

Growing a child is hard.  But raising a child, that's harder.  

There are so many things you aren't told when you become a parent for the first time.  There are so many expectations that other people will put on you as a parent, and so many expectations you place on yourself.  There are so many misconceptions about motherhood in general.  Here are a few tid-bits of encouragement I'd like to give the new mom, because well, I needed to remind myself.

"Train up a child in the way he should go; even when he is old he will not depart from it."
-Proverbs 22:6 ESV


Loving your child might not be automatic.
This concept might sound strange, especially if you are not a mom.  However, for some, it might take time to love your child.  You've never met this person you are now cradling.  You sort of feel like you know them because you grew them for 9-months or clung to their picture for some time, but you don't know them yet.  For some, learning to love this tiny creature who depends on you for life can be a lengthy process.  You personally have undergone so many changes and society quickly lets you know how second-rate you now are.  Sure it's not intentional, but you may feel yourself being forgotten now that this sweet, angelic face is now present.  Some may even resent their child for all the attention it is getting and how much life is now changing.  You might not want to hold the baby, and you know what, that's okay.  You're not the first person to not want to hold or touch your baby.  Don't send yourself into a frenzy because loving your child hasn't come naturally like you thought it would.  Don't feel guilty or shameful because everyone is telling that there is something wrong with you, there's not.  Don't panic because this journey of motherhood isn't panning out the way you envisioned.  This is normal.  I know you love your child, but you will in time genuinely express it to your child.  Be patient.

"We love because he first loved us."
-1 John 4:19 ESV

You're not suppose to know how to breastfeed.
So the boob-police have really made this fact seem nearly foreign.  I am a quick learner at everything, but breastfeeding isn't included in "everything" apparently.  I felt like I should have known how to breastfeed my son, so I felt incredibly insecure and vulnerable when that wasn't the case.  I had doctors and nurses tell me I needed to supplement because I wasn't feeding my child adequately two days after birth.  Let me tell you this, you aren't suppose to know how to breastfeed, not even if you went to a fancy class.  You've never had a delicate child in your arms depending on you for sustenance.  It's a completely bizarre and nerve-racking experience.  It's painful at first.  It's hard.  Let me repeat, this is a thing you must learn by trail and error.  You're not suppose to know how to do it.  And if it was easy for you, what planet did you come from?  You may have to have a lactation consultant position your breast and baby's head just right.  That's what I had to do.  It takes practice, but if you are set on breastfeeding, stick with it.

However, let me just throw this in.  If you don't want to breastfeed or it's too painful or creates a sense of anxiety or you are completely overwhelmed by it, who cares.  Don't do it.  There is not a rule that says you have to.   You have to do what is best for baby annnnnnnnd YOU.  And while breast milk does provide beneficial nutrients, so does formula.  If you are relaxed while feeding your child and that baby is growing, you are winning as a parent.  (Besides, I can't remember the last time a job application or college entrance exam asked if you were breast or bottle fed, so shush the breast-is-best nazis and you do you).


Newborns don't sleep through the night.
You'll experience it.  We all have.  The friend on Facebook who rants and raves that her child has finally slept through the night......and the baby is only 2 weeks old.  Cool, well, that's not normal or healthy.  Maybe they were blessed with a freak-sleeper, but since me and you weren't, let me just remind you that it's not normal for a newborn to sleep through the night.  I know kids who have slept through the night around 8 weeks, but for some it may take much longer, even a year or two.  So don't compare yourself to the friend on Facebook, she most likely wants people to think she's somehow got it all together.


Babies cry.
I was so insecure every time my first born would cry.  I felt like I wasn't doing something correct or I was somehow a bad mom.  With family in the house, I felt like every time he cried and I couldn't make him stop, they thought I was failing as a mom.  I really felt alone.  I didn't feel like I could be a good mom.  I had a mental breakdown and cried uncontrollably to one of my best friends.  But you know what, after having my second child, I realized that's just what babies do.  They cry.  Sometimes you can't get them to stop.  And that's okay.  You might be in the car, in the grocery store, or a silent library and they are screaming their lungs off, but that doesn't make you a bad parent, because babies are professional criers.  Do they have a clean diaper?  Are they fed? If yes, they might just need to cry, and if you let them cry for 10-minutes, you're not a bad parent.


Motherhood doesn't have to be lonely.
One of the biggest struggles for me, and many new moms, is the feeling of isolation.  To say this is normal is sad, but it's true.  Just google it.  It's the number one hardest thing for new moms, even for those who are plugged in several places.  Initially motherhood is in itself isolating.  You are trying to figure out what even in the heck you are doing.  You have to physically heal, and that could take a while depending on the birth experience   You don't want to expose the baby too soon after birth to people and the elements.  You stay home because you want to sleep any chance you might get.  You don't really want people around because you don't really know how to "mom" yet.  You don't really want people to visit because you aren't really sure how to tell people you'd prefer they not hold your baby.  Your hormones are raging.  Your boobs are leaking.  How can you possibliy manage to even get out of the house before 2PM?  So the early stages of motherhood are initially isolating.  But don't make motherhood lonely.  Go to Mothers of Preschoolers.  Go to lunch with a friend, even if it's inconvenient, it will recharge you.  Allow a close friend to bring you coffee or watch a movie while the baby sleeps.  Go on a walk with a neighbor and push the baby in the stroller.  Get plugged in and don't be afraid to ask for help when you need it. Say "yes" from time to time.  I am preaching to myself here, I constantly feel lonely even though I am surrounded by a team of wonder women.  Not accepting help is the number one way to dig yourself into a lonely, deep hole.  (And please don't be so prideful to say this will never happen to you, it happens and it's real).

"Where there is no guidance, a people falls; but in an abundance of counselors there is safety."
-Proverbs 11:14 ESV

Your baby is special.
Your baby might grow 12 teeth or 2 teeth in 12 months. Your baby might sleep through the night after 3 months or at 18 months.  He might speak 50 words or she might only say 5-10.  She might walk before her first birthday, or he might not walk until well after.  Your baby might be a cuddle bug or run from physical affection.  Your baby might feed himself finger foods at 7 months or might wait until he is 15 months to really eat by himself.  Your baby is your baby.  Not your friend's baby. Not your mom's baby.  Not the Instagrammer's baby.  Not the Facebook accquaintace's baby.  Your baby is unique.  Don't compare your baby's milestones to anyone else's.  Nothing is wrong with your baby, they beat to their own drum.  Listen to the song they play.


You're the greatest mom.
In case no one has told you, you're doing a great job.  You're a great mom.  You love your child in big ways.  You sacrifice your sleep.  You change diapers, clean up puke, wipe off messy mouths, do countless loads of laundry, work another job, cook dinner most nights, and still manage to take a shower.  How do you do it, really?  You are a super human.  You are the world's greatest mom.
"She looks well to the ways of her household and does not eat the bread of idleness.  Her children raise up and call her blessed. Her husband also, and he praises her."
-Proverbs 31:27-28




Do you have a mom in your life that could benefit from these reminders?  
Send her this link.  I wish I had read something like this before my first child was born.  



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