When Bonding Isn’t Immediate: Feeling Like You Don’t Love Your Baby Enough

Monday I read this post from Lexy at Mammywoo about not bonding with your child right away when you have postpartum depression and just loved it. LOVED. IT. I’m thrilled she granted me permission to reprint it here for all of you, as I KNOW you will relate.  So many mothers feel they will never experience that bonding, that postpartum depression has ruined it forever, and that’s just not true.

‘A woman with a child rediscovers the world. All is changed – politics, loyalties, needs. For now, all is judged by the life of the child … and all of the children’ ~ Pam Brown

Yes thanks Pam.

Anybody who has ever had a bump the size of Albania bulging from under their t-shirt will be able to attest to the fact that when you are visibly pregnant you seemingly, and against your will, become public property.

If you don’t believe me, I absolutely recommend you take a small dog, or perhaps a bean bag, and shove it up your jumper and head to the shops to test the theory.(Maybe not a small dog, the whimpering and squirming may put you off your stride.)

Having a rather large bulge just above your nether regions (and I don’t mean a hiatus hernia) must just give the impression that you are simply desperate for everybody to come over and touch it, and/or offer you unwanted and mostly unwarranted advice.

Out of nowhere you go from not showing and having a romantic little secret, to showing and having every man and his dog run their hands/paws over your growing uterus while offering you words of wisdom and tiny pearls of poo. (I call them pearls of poo, because a lot of the advice I heard off strangers while pregnant really wasn’t advice at all, it was poo. Pearl sized poo.)

Don’t reach up or the baby will be strangled on the chord … (Really, Aunty Pat?)
 Try not to eat so much … (Rip, Sarah.)
There is no such thing as a due date … (Huh? I think you will find there is old woman!)
Don’t call the baby a stupid name … (We like Radiator Leak Doyle, what business it is of yours?) 
You are huge, are you having twins? … (SLAP!)

The list is endless, but the one which I heard, interestingly enough, from people who both knew me well and were mothers themselves (so I felt I should listen and believe them) was:

“Motherhood will change you.”

“What?” I would stutter, “Why does everybody keep saying this to me? Do you think I need to change? You don’t think I’ll be a good mum as I am now? How will it change me?” was usually my nervous, insecure, blimp-like and panicked reply.

“Mwahahahahahaha,” they would cackle as they threw their heads back with evil glee, “You will see! You will see!” And with that they would sweep their flowing black capes from out behind them, with all their children clinging on for dear life, and disappear into the night like terrifying visions of the ghost of Christmas Future.

In fact I heard this phrase so often, combined with its partner in crime “You will feel a love so overwhelming you won’t remember life before him,”that leading up to my due date (that didn’t exist) I actually became rather worried that as soon as I had given birth, my memory of life pre-pleb (as we had nicknamed the bump) would be completely wiped out and I would wake up as an entirely different person. Bette Midler maybe, but with a bigger nose.

Lifting my half-numb legs an hour post-birthup on to the bed that was to be my home for the next seven days, and with the little ferret parked in a plastic basting tray next to me all wrapped up and looking like a cute prune, I began to worry that other than being a little bit teary, absolutely knackered and in a huge amount of agony, I still felt like me. I was officially a mother now, so wasn’t I supposed to feel like a changed person?

Now, don’t get me wrong. I had just had a baby, so of course I was over the moon, overwhelmed and overweight, but other than the obvious changes to my anatomy, including far too many stitches and a drain, I had to be honest that I didn’t feel any different, and upon further examination, I could still remember my life before birth too. What was wrong with me? Wasn’t I supposed to have forgotten my entire life leading up to this moment?

“Would you like some tea and toast?,” the floating head of a midwife appeared from behind my curtain and kindly asked me in a soft, sleepy voice.

“No, but could I please have a strong black coffee, a bag of square crisps and a pillow?” was my reply.

Definitely still me then.

Maybe I will feel different in the morning, I thought to myself after spending an hour-and-a-half trying to have a wee. Maybe you have to sleep on it.

We hadn’t been home for long before I was feeling intensly sleep deprived and hugely grumpy. Visitors came and went and for a while I wondered if The Irish One had started a guest house without telling me. I just wanted to shower, to sleep and then sleep some more.

(Wouldn’t it make more sense if the visitors came at leastamonth after you are home? Because seriously, the last thing you want when you are having to walk like John Wayne and every second step makes you screech like a banshee is a coach load of distant relatives traipsing through your house and man-handling the goods, you know?)

The Irish One was constantly professing to me his love for Newborn Woo. He was a doting daddy and it pissed me off. (I can’t explain this. It just did.)

“I know,” I would mumble, irritated, from underneath the duvet (the guests had got bored of me whacking my breasts out while they were trying to drink a brew and eat us out of house and home, and had finally buggered off). “I know, yes,” I would repeat as he droned on about knowing the meaning of true love. “I love him too, but don’t tell me he is awake again, is he? He isn’t is he?” I would panic, terrified the next round of nipple torture was about to start.

“If you feel like that about him waking up to see you,” he said pointedly, removing his (ginger) head from inside the moses basket, “Maybe it is time to stop breast feeding! He isn’t taking enough anyway and you don’t seem to have any coming out, so what harm can it do? Let’s give him a bloody bottle.”

“Shut up!!,” I raged back. “How dare you!” The pressure I felt to succeed at everything was immense. I resented his insinuation that I was failing. As it was, I am not sure that The Irish One even knows what the word insinuate means, never mind having had the energy or inclination, at that time, to follow it through! He was just worried about me, but I was too scared to see it.

Did I feel different when the decision to stop breastfeeding was made? Nope. Stopping breastfeeding just confirmed my failure status. I had gone from probable failure to failure absolut with one sweep of a plastic teat. (The lanosil is still in the fridge as a constant reminder of what could have been. I can’t be arsed to take it out. It’s next to the jam that has been there since 2002. Some jobs I just never get round to.)

I was officially a crap mum, who could remember her past, and (shock horror!) even missed the easygoing way it used to be! I would have killed for an hour in front of the telly uninterrupted! I also wasn’t sure I was any different at all — other than my inability to hold my bladder when I sneezed, or stop eating mayo by the ton, motherhood hadn’t changed me at all! And yes I loved my son but (are you ready for this?) it wasn’t overwhelming! (MONSTER!!!)

I loved him because he was mine, sure. I loved him because he was gorgeous and I loved him because he was cute and sweet and tiny. I loved him because he was my son and I had to love him, didn’t I?

I felt like I had to love him because if I didn’t who else would?

This is extremely hard for me to admit, and I have tears rolling down my face as I write this. Not because I still feel the same, but because nobody told me this could happen, so I thought I wasn’t normal. I beat myself up, and I broke my own heart. I became convinced I didn’t love him enough and there was something wrong with me.

Every new mother I spoke to would go on and on and on and on about how much they loved their child, and how easy it was, and how natural it felt to them, and how they had whipped up some mange tout while expressing breast milk in to a pre-warmed bottle, while cooking a roast for their husband and then pleasuring him while changing a nappy. The pressure for ‘motherhood to change me’ and for my love for him to be ‘overwhelming’ was too much. It hadn’t happened overnight. So I was officially a horrible, nasty, selfish freak of a person.

The health visitor arrived 8 years later, after many calls from the Irish One reminding her I still existed, to examine ‘A.J’, as she infuriatingly kept calling him, and to check on me. She obviously had a thing about abbreviating and changing names as she surprised me by calling me ‘Mum’ while examining my son. I was caught off guard and somehow ended up blabbing that I had stopped breastfeeding because of the pain. She shook her head in disappointment and said ‘That’s a shame Mum.’

Who me? Don’t call me mum! That doesn’t sound right. It doesn’t fit with me yet. I don’t feel like a mother or a mum. I can’t even breastfeed right, can I? I am not his mum. I am just the person who cleans up poo, spends 40 minutes of every hour chasing an elusive burp and who will never again drink a hot cup of tea.

My name is Lexy. Not ‘Mum!’

“Do you feel depressed?,” she asked in response, using a totally inappropriate sing-songy voice.

“Me?,”I asked, while wiping sick off my filthy t-shirt with yesterdays knickers. “No! Not at all! I can’t believe he is here! He is amazing! Isn’t he beautiful? I love him so much. I think my heart may fall out. It is just overwhelming!,”I cooed while staring at him in pretend awe.

She left happy enough, after clearly ignoring all the signs of postpartum depression, and the next time I saw her was seven months later, when she was knocking on my door because my doctor was concerned I may be a potential suicide risk.

Addison had been very poorly for a good while, and I was exhausted from fighting with doctor after doctor to get them to listen. I wasn’t suicidal. I was just knackered and pissy, but nevertheless she left happy that day too. She hustled in and hustled out. She didn’t want to help. One day I will write her a letter and tell her to get a job as a clown. She would be much better suited to a role with barely any responsibility, and her lipstick was always all over her face anyway, so it would make for an easy transition.

Addison is my son, and nothing will happen to him on my watch, I would profess to the Irish One during the endless days in hospital, all the while mistaking love for duty.

It was three months on from Allergy-Gate (as I now call it) when Addison was ten months old and still had a grisly bottom that I finally snapped.

“I bet you can’t remember life before him can you?,” my aunty Kathleen gushed at a family gathering. “He is just simply gorgeous isn’t he? Isn’t it an overwhelming love? Motherhood just changes you completely don’t you think?”

At the time, in fairness, Addison had just shat up his back for the third time in a three-hour period and I wasn’t in the mood for a gushing, drunk relative, no matter how well placed her intentions were.

“Actually Aunty Kathleen,” I said bluntly, “Yes, I do remember life before him; it was only ten months ago for Christ’s sake!! I had a baby, not a lobotomy!! I remember life before him, very well in fact! I used to get some sleep! And while we are on the subject, yes he is cute, and yes I do love him, but is it overwhelming? The only thing which is overwhelming to me currently is the need for a lie in!”

She stood glass in hand, staring at me, like a rabbit caught in headlights. (She has big teeth.)

“And as for motherhood changing me?,” I raged in her face, “the only thing different about me, is I am four stone heavier and my nails are constantly caked in crap!!” And with that I flounced out of the room in search of the changing bag. (And a big glass of wine.)

It felt such a relief to finally be honest! Although, thinking about it now, I should probably ring my Aunty Kathleen at some point and apologize.

My first Mother’s Day was possibly the darkest and most painful day I have experienced since having Addison.

“Don’t give me that sodding card!,” I screamed at the Irish One, holding my beautiful boy. “I am not a mother!!! I am just a babysitter!!! This is nothing to do with postnatal depression!! This is because I am a freak!! I don’t love my son enough!! I can remember what happened before he was born!! I don’t feel changed!!! I am still Lexy!! I am not a mum!! I am a letdown!! A failure!! I hate you, I hate myself and I hate Mother’s Day!!! Just piss off and leave me alone!!”

It was awful for everybody involved.

And then something began to happen, much like the phoenix rising from the ashes I slowly began to enjoy waking up at the crack of dawn and seeing my son’s face. Instead of it being a chore, I began to enjoy the moments we spent laughing and watching him grow.

Instead of waiting for the light to switch on at the end of the tunnel, I began to run towards it. It happened naturally. My self-hatred slowly began to thaw and in its place something else arrived.


Last night, exactly four hours before we were due to leave for the airport on a holiday we have been looking forward to for months, Addison was sick. He was clinging on to me for dear life and burying his head in to my shoulder.

“We are going nowhere,” I told the Irish One instinctively. “There is no way I am putting my son through this journey when he is feeling this poorly. I am absolutely gutted, but he comes first.”

Strangely, and without even properly thinking about what I was doing, I put my feelings of disappointment over a missed trip to one side and got on with the job of cleaning him up and consoling him. He was broken, and it was my job to fix him, just like I had done all those times before.

And then, even stranger still, while walking in to the doctor’s office this morning thinking about how I should have been landing in Spain and hugging my dad, I pulled my son to me, inhaled the smell of his head and was hit by a bolt of lightning. (Not literally, but if you had seen my hair you may have thought this was the case.)

The only thing that mattered was Addison. I loved him more than life itself. The love I felt was … dare I say it? … overwhelming.

“Are you his mum?,” the locum asked while feeling his tummy for swelling.

“Yes,” I grinned back proudly, while kissing his forehead (Addison’s, not the locum’s). “Yes. I bloody well am.” And against my will I puffed my shoulders out.

My boy is beautiful! And he is all mine!

I walked back to the car, dancing on air, clutching my son’ssmall head to my bursting heart.

As it turned out, motherhood did change me. It made me a better person. It just took me a while longer to feel and recognize those feelings of attachment. Yes, I can still be a grumpy moose, but I am making progress.

I loved my son, I did. I just didn’t bond the instant I saw him. I loved him, but it wasn’t overwhelming from the first instant we met.

I see now, this doesn’t make me a freak. This is just my journey. Everybody is different.

It took me ayear to see what it is all about. It took me a year to recognize something I knew all along.

I forgive myself for that. (Except, based on the fact that I did always love him, I did always care for him and I did always ensure he was happy, safe and fed, I am not sure there is actually anything to forgive myself for … )

If I was to see a pregnant woman in the street now, I would be unlikely to approach her and jump in to motherhood 101, but if she struck up a conversation with me, my advice would probably be:

“Don’t pressure yourself into feeling anything more than you do in the moment. Everything you feel, at every step of the way, is unique to you and no matter what happens, the bonding will grow and emotionally, so will you. Everything will turn out alright … oh, and good luck … and join Twitter.”

“When you are a mother you are never really alone in your thoughts. A mother always has to think twice, once for herself and once for her child.” ~ Sophia Loren.

Now that I can finally agree with.

About Katherine Stone

is the founder of Postpartum Progress. She has been named a WebMD Health Hero, one of the fiercest women in America by More magazine, and one of the top 20 Social Media Moms by Working Mother magazine. She is a survivor of postpartum OCD.

Tell Us What You Think


  1. What beautiful advice! I wish the lady at the super market would have said that to me instead of rubbing my belly and pretending to cry like a baby. Awkward.

  2. Sopetcher@gma says:

    Thank you, thankful for your last paragraph. I needed to hear that I can give myself time to feel what I feel and trust that the bond will come I'm it's own time. Thank you.

  3. Sopetcher@gma says:

    Thank you, thankful for your last paragraph. I needed to hear that I can give myself time to feel what I feel and trust that the bond will come I’m it’s own time. Thank you.

  4. Darn iPhone. Double commented…email address posted…awesome. If it's possible to remove the email address it posted with my comment, that would be awesome. I stand by my comment, though:
    Thank you, thankful for your last paragraph. I needed to hear that I can give myself time to feel what I feel and trust that the bond will come I'm it's own time. Thank you.

  5. I honestly believe that more women feel like this than are letting on.
    I sat in tears when i finally hit publish, scared stiff that people would come back and say 'you witch!' but nobody did. (yet)
    I told this story and took this chance because i think if i had heard this at the time i would have felt less of an irritated freak of nature who didnt love her son enough, which in turn made me hate myself.
    I had to break that cycle somehow and it has taken a long time and i am still trying to.
    I am still in the throes of recovery and only this morning i felt like running away. some days are better than others.
    I love my son and every day it grows a little more.
    thank you for reading, us women sticking together is always a huge help.
    i hope things get brighter for you soon, will be thinking of you x
    This site is brilliant xx

    • My baby is 9 months. I don’t feel close to her. I feel dread at every turn. I just want her to walk. I failed at breastfeeding. I can’t get up with her at night. I sleep so heavily hub has to care for her. I’ve had lower abdominal pain since her birth. Lifting her feels like being gutted. I sweat profusely while holding her. Skin to skin? No thank you! I felt the same with my oldest. I guess I’m a momster. I’m a slave to two people. What are the joys?

      • Your not a monster, as a mom we could be so tired that you get overwhelm and if we don’t fix it on time it could be like that for months or years. We need to take time for ourselfs, to rest and relax.Its becoming easier and more natural as time goes. I am still fighting my battle, day at a time.

  6. Oh I am so so SO proud of you for this post. It is brilliant. Don't ever be ashamed of this. I too had a terrible time with bonding. I don't think anything hurts worse than that feeling of not loving your child the way everyone else does.
    It gets better. I promise you that.
    Again so proud of you for posting this.

  7. I cant believe that it all gets ok. I have a 9 day old and i feel like m gnna stay this way forever !

  8. I had the easiest birth with no complications, breastfed no problem for months, everything went my way, as was permanently reiterated to me. In that case, why on earth am I having this overwhelming feeling I am unable to share with anyone: I’m not sure I love her.

    I almost feel like she isn’t mine, as if I’ve forgotten that I gave birth to her and that I am simply looking after her for someone else. She looks so much like my partner that I convince myself she is his and I have adopted her. I thought this would be how life would go from now on: pretend gushes and smiles about how amazing she is and how lucky I am, when deep down inside all I want is my old carefree life.

    And then I read this article and found hope. Hope that this is temporary and one day I will feel what I spent 9 months dreaming about: overwhelming, life-changing love.

    Thank you.

    • Mia, the fascinating thing about postpartum depression and anxiety is that it isn’t logical. You could be the best, healthiest, most well adjusted person. You could have the best partner and tons of family support. You could have an easy pregnancy, a quick easy delivery and a healthy happy baby. And you can STILL get postpartum depression. It doesn’t discriminate. So know that these feelings you’ve been having may in fact be part of an illness like postnatal depression, something that is fully treatable. It’s not your fault. And it can get better. ~ K

  9. Thank you for this. I felt absolutely horrible when I even SEARCHED for such a thought. I can’t talk to anyone in my family about this, nor my friends with kids, ANYONE. After reading your post and a few others associated with it, I feel like I still have hope. I have a daughter whom I have lived since the first time I saw her, but I have always felt like I’m missing that moment. That…*gasp*….moment if that makes sense.
    Your post is such an inspiration……thank you for breaking the mold on, well, everything I guess.

  10. A fantastic post! This perfectly encapsulates everything I (incorrectly) expected and then experienced. Three months into recovery I am finally beginning to fall in love with my son. THANK YOU.

  11. Thank you! Thank you thank you THANK YOU!! You have given me hope.. God bless you!!

  12. Thankyou for this post! I have a 5 month old baby boy & am really struggling with how I feel over bonding/lack of it & feel so awful for feeling this way. I cant understand why I dont feel bonded or an overwhelming love for him, we wanted a baby so badly & went through IVF to have him so to feel like I do is devastating. I also failed at breastfeeding & sent myself on a massive guilt trip for a while over that & after a traumatic delivery & being unwell afterwards I seemed to take forever to feel ‘normal’ again. This post has given me hope that one day I will have those overwhelming feelings for my baby – thankyou xx

  13. Katharine says:

    Thank you. My daughter – even typing that feels weird – is 6 months old, but it was only today that these thoughts crystalised for me. I’m going to share this with my (amazing, supportive, adoring, incredible) husband – your (brilliant) article brought so much of what I’ve been thinking into the kind of focus that has been eluding me so far. Thank you.

  14. Thank you for sharing this amazing story. I had my baby 13 days ago and I think I have PPD. I’ve been crying everyday and question my love for her. I thought I was ready for this and planned this out for a long time, but now that she is here, all I feel is regret and resentment towards her and my husband. I feel like a terrible person and I don’t deserve to be anyone’s mother. I wish this feeling will pass. I want to feel that bond but it seems to not exist.

    • First Time Mommy says:

      Sad mom, I don’t know how you are doing now, but i had my baby just over 6 weeks ago and have been googling over and over to find something like this article. I’m so relieved I found this, it has been sooo relieving for me to know I have not been alone with this! And you aren’t alone either! I have felt a LOT of anger towards my husband and have felt annoyed/resentment towards my daughter too! I could talk to my mom, sister, and husband about the postpartum ocd I was experiencing, along with the intrusive thoughts I had battled with during most of my pregnancy and after the birth of my baby (horrific, unthinkable thoughts I had NEVER experienced before, about ME harming my own child!), but I HAVE NOT been able to tell anyone except a postpartum therapist, about the total lack of unconditional love I have not experienced for my daughter. For awhile I kept thinking I would like to just die and have someone else raise her, someone who would love her like she deserves, and I thought adoption was a great idea. I have also been feeling sad whenever I think of my baby’s birth, replaying my feelings I had in my head and trying to convince myself I felt something I’m not sure I felt (the incredible love a mom is supposed to feel when she meets her baby for the first time). If you are still beating yourself up, then there is no need. The therapist I talked to said this (not immediately loving your baby) is a lot more common than we know, but no one talks about it bc there is so much shame involved. I got on antidepressants and they have helped a ton. Thank you for this amazing article, it reflects so much of what I have been battling with ever since my baby’s birth. I have felt so guilty for not feeling an immediate, overwhelming bond yet. It is getting better, the more time I spend with my baby, but I still hate visiting fb and reading of new mothers experiencing the kind of love for their child I have yet to feel. This said, it is so refreshing and relieving for me to read that I am not alone! Thanks again!!

  15. Glad I googled and found this. I’ve been so rotten sad about not “loving” my baby who I prayed for for so very long. I hate myself every day over it and I’m in so much pain from trying to nurse (so much trauma to my breasts, so many infections) that I resent her almost every day. How can I resent my beautiful little girl?! Thanks for helping me feel like I’m not alone. It gives me hope that even if it takes a year, I will feel better.

  16. Philippa Clarke says:

    Apart from being far better written than I could dream of coming up with, this is me.

    Our daughter just turned one and I still just don’t get it. This piece gives me hope that one day I will and I’m not some psychotic freak.

    I cannot thank you enough, you’ve done an amazing thing sharing this, you may never know how important it is.

  17. Hi again mommies. I commented on this blog shortly after I had my daughter. It was one of the darkest times of my life, but thankfully I found this blog which gave me hope. It took me about 3 months to get to that point of feeling like my normal self again and it was around that time when I started to fall madly in love with my daughter. She is 8 months now and although I no longer question my love for her, I can’t help but continue to feel a little bit of sadness inside. I can’t explain it, but I just know that it’s not normal. Perhaps it could be some sort of lingering PPD, but who knows. For now, I will feed off of that love that I feel for my daughter and pray that I will get over that indescribable feeling of sadness that continues to sit inside of me.

  18. Meghan burford says:

    Thank you.

  19. Thank you. I googled “I don’t feel like my baby is mine” and this helped so much.

  20. Hello my baby girl Scarlett is almost nine months now and in the beginning it felt like hell on earth. Bad thoughts, wanted to give her away. I was terrified !! I immediately yoldmmy mom and dad. I would cry everyday and night, was in able to eat or drink. My father brought me to the doctors and they put me on Prozac and anxiety medication. It has saved my life. Literally. I still battle with thoughts of PPD coming back, and I was diagnosed with a premenstrual disorder recently. So I learned that getting your period is a trigger for PPD. All in all I feel a whole life better but still have my struggles day to day. It’s a great feeling to be able to come on here and read what other people are going through. Its always nice yo have positive reinforcement.

  21. I am so happy to have stumbled on to this story, my baby is 7 weeks old and she was born 7 weeks early so as soon as she was born I got to hold her for 2 minutes before she was whisked away to NICU for 16 days. It was hard to bond with her while she was in hospital and now she has been home for 5 weeks and I too feel as though I am her babysitter! I wish I knew how to love her like she deserves, at the moment I just focus on sterilising, feeding, changing and burping with no emotion. You have given me hope that this will get better. Thank you:-)

  22. This is just what I needed at a time when I felt most alone.. I am surrounded by friends with toddlers who gush about that “instant connection” and “overwhelming love” and have been feeling like a total fraud when I nod in agreement. My 4 month old daughter is a lovely little thing but I still can’t believe I am her mum. My husband has taken to fatherhood like a fish to water and I feel super guilty that sometimes I forget she’s in her cot while watching an episode of Suits, only to remember that she’s there when it’s over. Even writing that makes me feel terrible but you have given me hope 🙂 thank you thank you thank you

    • Heather King says:

      You are so not alone, mama! It’s going to be okay. If you keep feeling disconnected or if you start to feel depressed, talk to people you can trust. You can get help and get back to feeling better. It will get better with time, too. Having a baby is a huge change. It’s okay that your brain (and body) need a break from that sometimes.

  23. Oh my god, thank you. I can relate with absolutely everything you said and i feel like a little bit less of a failure knowing I’m not alone and things will get better. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  24. I’ll be 12weeks along this Thursday and I hate being pregnant. Went through a terrible break up before finding out I was pregnant. Instead of feeling as though I’m eating to sustain life inside of me, I feel like I’m depressed eating and sleeping. I feel pregnant but I hate being pregnant. I have the support of my family but not the support of the person in which I needed it from at the time. He made mistakes and acted selfishly and I had to do what was best for me at the time. I stopped loving myself and with the extent of how bad he relationship really was, I fear I have no love to give to my baby. I know that even feeling this way, my baby feels what I feel. I hoping as the weeks go along, I’ll find that love for myself that I once had and the courage to extend that love not only to my baby but to the one’s that have truly had my back, my family.
    I have a hard time loving, believing, trusting in anything because of the father of my child.
    Thank you for sharing your story and allowing women as myself to know, just as with any relationship, it takes time to form a bond.

    • Heather King says:

      Nicole, you are going to get back to that confidence. I believe that. It may take some time and counseling, but you will get there. Keep reaching out for help. We all need help. I’m so glad you have supportive family. Keep focusing on that. It’s a gift. You and your baby are going to be okay and you will get through the hard things and to the other side, together. You are not doing anything wrong, you are hurting and it makes sense that you would be hurting. I’m sending you peace.

  25. I’m 19 I’m Married To A Marine && Just Had My First Baby One Month Ago…He’s Beautiful && I Do Love Him…But I Have Been Struggling With The Whole “Mom” Thing…I Lie To Everyone Saying I’m Fine But In Reality I’m Not…I Might As Well Have Wrote This Because This Is Me. Every Word && Feeling Is Me…This Post Has Given Me Hope That I Will Grow To Feel More Like A Mom && Quit Doubting Myself…Thank You.!

  26. Hi, I literally gave birth 4 days ago. My baby boy arrived 3 weeks early so what I thought was shock at his early arrival is actually a lack of a bond. I haven’t had this feeling of bonding at all and I’m having issues breast feeding so seeing that I’m not alone in this process and that it just takes time is very very helpful. God bless you and I can’t wait to update you on when the bonding moment occurs!!! Thanks again, xoxoxoxo!!!!

  27. I’m speachless. I’ve been to the doctor countless times. I’ve been put on useless medications that make me feel horrible. I’ve talked to loved ones who tell me to “buck up and perservere” ever since my baby was born I’ve loved her so much. I never want people to think I don’t love her. I’ve just felt so disconnected I sit and cry because I have felt like she loves daddy more and she doesn’t need mommy. I have a sleep disorder that makes it very hard, not impossible, but very hard to wake up so my husband has woken up with her during nights. That has caused us many fights and I have been called a bad mom for it. I wasn’t able to get her to latch on for breastfeeding because of thrush so I have been pumping for four months straight. It’s really hard and at times I feel like giving up but then when we take her to her doctors and they say how healthy and strong she is it makes it all worth it. I thank who ever wrote this article because it let’s me know I’m not a bad mom 🙁 it just takes some women longer than others to get in the hang of things.

  28. It wasn’t until my just talking toddler grabbed me by the face with both her little hands and had me look into her eyes and said “Mommy you’re da bestest eber!”
    That was the moment it all fell into place.
    The interaction we have as she gets older has helped me bond in ways that staring at her little baby self never did.
    Everyone is Different – Don’t loose Hope!

  29. I struggle with these exact feelings. My daughter is 7 weeks old, and was on time, and in the NICU for her entire stay, plus 2 extra days. I wasn’t able to get that bond, and I was afraid of that as soon as they told me she would be going to the NICU right after my Csection. The nursery gave me no control or say over my child, and to this day, I still feel like I am babysitting; that someone will show up any minute to take her home, and I’ll be left empty handed. (I was empty handed when I first came home without her). I do what I’m supposed to as far as taking care of her, but when I breastfeed I feel this overwhelming agitation and dread.

    It feels like I just go with the flow, and I just do as I’m supposed to day in and out. I didn’t feel this way with my first; I felt that overwhelming sense of love. But not this time. I feel silly about seeking help, because I wonder if it is just normal, everyone looks at me like I have 3 heads when I talk about how I feel, even my other half.. I wouldn’t even know where to start, but this article gives me a little hope I guess. Except for the whole, 10+ months later thing. :/

  30. UrijahsMommy says:

    Thank you for that! Perfect sum up of how I’m feeling now. My sons 1yr and 4 mo and I still haven’t had that feeling of overwhelming love. But I’m soo glad hearing about yours. Congratulations

  31. Thank you for writing this.

  32. I am so glad I found this post. I thought I was a monster and almost signed custody away. I couldnt respond to my son or even function. It was the worst and darkest time of my life. Thank God my mother recognized post partum depression. I have to take meds which required me to quit breastfeeding after 5 months. My son is now 15 months and some dayd I struggle. This article helped me see my journey is unique and I am not a monster. I wish they would educate pregnant women more about this evil known as post partum depression. It cost me the newborn days of my sons life. It still bothers me.. one day at a time

    • I am so happy to find this post, but I guess the one thing I am not finding an answer to is HOW does it change or WHAT if it doesn’t change? I adopted my son so I have always wondered if my lack of bond was due to that. He is almost a year and I am still not bonded. My friends and family adore him and all I feel is envy for what they feel towards him. And he is such a good baby. I worked so hard and went through torture to adopt a baby. I love kids more than anyone I know and I feel more strongly towards some of them than I do my own child. They come to me dressed and fed and they don’t wake me at 5am and I don’t have to chase them with a tissue when they have a cold. Being the parent is sooooo different. I’m assuming the next step is therapy because I don’t know how this just changes on its own.

      • In addition, I feel like the worst mother ever as I am a stay at home mom and have full time help because I don’t want to deal with him. That’s can’t be normal!! 🙁

        • Stop focusing on what should be occurring. Recognize motherhood is different for every one. It is unique.Bonding takes time and also may take other help. Therapy would be a great place to start. Emotional issues ( dont see that word and think something negative) can interfer with bonding. I know personally I have to take medicine every morning and forever I felt broken and like a terrible momma. But you know what ? – my brain is chemically off and needs that pill. Im glad I have it.Remember we arent broken and we are good enough. Do whatever you must ( healthy coping mechanisms) on your journey to opening yourself up and loving your baby Please dont spend precious time living in shame,guilt or self judgment. Please know I have been in your shoes. Medicine can help. Therapy can help. There are options – seek them out. Try writing out everything you feel without judgment. Let it all out. Also are you taking time to focus on you emotionally and mentally? Maybe you love your child so much you are afraid to bond because losing that child would destroy you? Therapy can help you alot. I know I had to let go of what I thought motherhood was going to be for me and accept what it is. I didnt feel that immense love most moms feel until just a few weeks ago and my son was born New Years Eve 2014. It does take time but I promise all the work of therapy will be worth it. Dont judge yourself please. I spent so much time hating myself instead of just being ok with life as it was – I mean basically being kind to myself instead a horrid cycle of self hate. I hope this comment helps you.

      • Heather King says:

        Hi Dana,

        It changes with time and help. The time and HELP have to work together though. If someone is depressed or has anxiety, they don’t just go away if they last longer than a month or two. So, sometimes it’s situational, but sometimes it’s biochemical. When it is clinical depression, it needs to be treated for recovery to happen. I hope that helps answer your question. Peace to you…

  33. I know this is a very late comment but thank you for this post. I just had my little girl, Sidney, two weeks ago and even just typing her name I feel a little pouch of affection for her but then I remember being up every two hours at night only to be pooed on in a vicious projectile way, fall asleep with her in my arms, bottle in moith and then spend another hour trying to get her to shut her damn eyes while I get so frustrated from bleeding to death while trying to remain patient that I start bawling. Motherhood is not easy. She’s gone to stay with her grandparents now while I recover physically and I’m so pleased to get a break from her. My fiancé is miserable and misses her to death while I’m pleased to just sit and get a break from keeping track of her feedings and awake/nap times. And yeah it makes me feel like a horrible mother; to think that everyone loves her more than I do. So this helped me so much; to realize I’m not alone and that, please God, it will get better. And one day, I will truly love her and not see her as just a burden.
    So thank you. So much.

  34. You could have been writing about me. 1 month old tomorrow. And I’m doing it essentially solo. This made me laugh and gave me some hope

  35. If I feel this way, does that mean I have PPD

    • Heather King says:

      It can, Heather. It’s best to talk to someone who specializes in postpartum mental health. Or another doctor that you trust. I’m sending you peace.

  36. Thank you so much for posting this. My son is almost 5 months old and I still don’t have this overwhelming feelings of love and attachment towards him. I do love him and do not neglect him in any way, and worry for him, but sometimes I wonder to myself whether what I feel is love, or I just care for him because I am obliged to as his mother. It hit me like a ton of rocks tonight when he fell asleep at his usual bedtime today with his bottle in his mouth, and I left the bedroom (which we share) to do some chores. I came back an hour later and realized I left the air conditioning on high, and when I saw him he was not covered with a blanket. When he fell asleep I didn’t even bother checking on him, and I feel so guilty about it. It doesn’t really help that he’s been sick on and off this whole month with a flu that doesnt want to go away, so I overall feel like a horrible mother and I don’t deserve him. I am suddenly feeling this way, and I am pretty certain I don’t have PPD. I was depressed a few weeks after giving birth because I was having trouble breastfeeding (low supply, so I barely breastfed for 2 weeks) but everything went back to normal after that. I guess I am feeling guilty that I am not feeling this overwhelmingly protective feeling that mothers are said to have. I don’t know if me being on the more logical side of the spectrum has anything to do with it. This post however gave me hope that one day I will have this overpowering bond and love with my son that I am naturally supoosed to have.

  37. Confusedmum says:

    Thank you so much for sharing. My baby is 1 month old and I feel so disconnected. I’ve had the worst most unusual post partum recovery that the list of the things that happened to me are so long that I rather not post.

    The reason why I’m here is because I’m so unhappy with my new life. I feel terrible saying that but that’s the truth. At some point I even questioned why I was even engaged with my partner.. I thought to myself, I should’ve just been single and not have kids. My body is ruined. I also have that feeling of “no connection” with my baby. It makes me feel horrible because my cousin also just had a baby 4 months before I did and she has this connection and bond with her baby that makes me feel like I’m a horrible mom. My sister in law is also pregnant and I’m also starting to get this feeling that people including family will judge my baby and compare them to their cousins. I am dark skin and so is my baby. Everytime I hear my family members express them selves towards what they call a “cute baby” they say “oh what a cute baby he/she is so white” I feel like a horrible mom that I care so much about what people will say about my baby. I was bullied a lot in school and with my family for being dark and I just didn’t want her to go through that. Everytime I see my baby I just see all the things wrong with her instead of being thankful that god gave me a healthy baby :,(. Everytime I’m a lone, I cry. I know I should be thankful. I have the support and help of my partner, mom and mother in law. I don’t have to work because I’m financially wealthy. I can practically have anything I ask for except happiness. Because money can’t buy happiness. There’s no doubt that post partum depression doesn’t discrimate.

    • Heather King says:

      It’s really hard to be thankful when you have PPD symptoms, mama. Please show yourself some grace. You do not want to feel like this and you are here to be honest and get it out. That’s so good. You love your family, even if you feel this disconnect. This can change. I know it does not feel like it right now. You feel stuck and you are grieving what once was…that’s okay. It takes time. And therapy really helps. Sometimes medications. That’s up to you, but just know that you are not a bad person. It’s going to be okay…

  38. I’m so glad I read this. I’m feeling the same way and my baby is 3 months…I thought my feelings were so distant I was considering adoption. My first child I bonded with much faster…

    • Heather King says:

      kat, I hope you are receiving some help. This isn’t your fault. It is common and treatable. There is help out there. Peace to you…

  39. This was an awesome post! I needed to read it. Mine was born 3 weeks ago and I just want some sleep and an hour away from the baby. I don’t feel like a mom just a baby sitter.i have to supplement with formula, the first time I have her a bottle I cried my eyes out. Even now when ever I give her a bottle I feel like I’m failing. Thankfully I live with my in laws and they also supplemented, unlike my own family, so they are really supportive, I haven’t told me family about my troubles because they would dismiss them. But I still feel overwhelmed and tortured.

    Thank you for posting this.

  40. I almost cried reading this story. This is exactly what I have been going through with my now 9 week old. I felt terrible because everyone kept and keeps telling me that I’m supposed to love my baby from the very first instance. One of the moms that I see in our weekly gathering while I was pregnant said the love I’m going to feel as soon as I give birth is going to be overwhelming. UGHHH! Some days, or scratch that, some moments I feel more attached than other moments. Thank you for this beautiful story. It has made me feel normal and made me not feel guilty for feeling the way I feel.

  41. Thank you so much for this!!! I have a beautiful, healthy, smart (in a week) 10 month old boy! I enjoy taking pictures of him, watching him develop, giving him baths and tickling him and making him laugh…

    I’ve thought of suicide even whilst pregnant and even more now that I’m sleep deprived and lonely (I don’t have anyone over here, other than my partner)

    I too feel like I’m just his nanny.

    I can’t stand his screaming, I can’t stand his crying (all.day.long!), in the beginning, I couldn’t stand having him at my breasts, but I still breastfeed him, I can’t stand the fact he just last week started eating more (I tried BLW and failed, spoon feeding failed too), is like, I don’t tolerate any difficulty regarding him and boy is he difficult! He swallows a lot of air whilst breastfeeding and I just don’t know what to do anymore! He swallows air when crying, right before bedtime, so he wakes up often at night, because he’s full of air and needs help to fart. My skin itches, especially at night. I got scalp psoriasis due to stress, a tic in the eyelid, hair loss, back pain from all the hours I’ve spent breast feeding him and carrying him, etc., I walk with him in this swedish cold, every day, so he can sleep a nap somewhere else, other than ON me, with my nipple in his mouth… I feel so overwhelmed!

    I’m doing a lot for him, because I know I must love him and I definitely want to give him the best and this is why I feel so bad, because the one thing I’m expected to give, the basic, the most primitive of all, I’m failing miserably. So this post has had me in tears 2 days in a row, giving me hope that this, too, will pass… it just feels like an eternity 🙁

  42. Thank you for this. Your post has seriously made me acknowledge that what I’m feeling is okay, our bond will come and in the meantime it doesn’t make me a terrible mom.

    Nine days postpartum and this is exactly how i feel. I just told my husband I feel like a terrible babysitter, rather than a mom and freaked out on him when he called me “mom” one too many times. I’ve also been incredibly down missing my “old life”. Jealous of my husband being the perfect parent while i can’t even stand to hold our daughter for more than 20 minutes at a time.

    I’m bookmarking your post so I can look back on it often. Thank you for telling me what i needed to hear today; that it won’t always be like this.

  43. I feel the same, my baby is a week old today and I look at him and feel nothing. I spend the day just crying and feeling like a failure

  44. I really needed this. Thank you. I hope to feel that overwhelming love soon and not like a babysitter waiting for this kids parents to come pick him up.


  1. […] more depressed I got, the less I tried to bond. They cried so hard, for so many hours every night, I was starting to go insane. I felt like I was […]

  2. […] also read an empowering article about how a new mom overcome the blues. It’s called When Bonding Isn’t Immediate: Feeling Like You Don’t Love Your Baby Enough. It gave me a new perspective about motherhood and enabled me to take it easy on […]

  3. […] many women, they are unable to bond with their babies as a result of PPD, but that didn’t happen with me and Storm. The bond that my daughter and I […]