Many of us think that the moment we meet our baby, we’ll feel a gush of love running through us and it will feel like falling in love. This is reinforced everywhere, including in social media, advertisements, and even well-meaning remarks from people in our lives who want us to feel excited about what’s to come.
For some people this may be true, but for many women this is just not the case. First time mothers in particular may struggle to feel connected to their newborns. They may feel numb or even repulsed by their baby. One biological explanation for this is that our bodies want to protect us from getting too attached to a baby who might not have survived in the harsh and dangerous environments we inhabited thousands of years ago.
Difficult deliveries may also contribute to this feeling of disconnection. Hard deliveries may be associated with a baby who cries more or has more challenges, which exacerbates the stresses and may make it harder to feel connected.
Often, many of these feelings and concerns around feeling connected to your baby resolve within the first six months. If you are concerned that these feelings are preventing you from taking care of your baby, reach out to your doctor or other professional support or through our “Emergency Resources” page right away.
Things that may help:
Try to keep in mind that these feelings are normal and common. While this doesn’t necessarily make it easier, it’s important to keep in mind that you are not alone.
Try not to fight or feel bad about having these feelings. This baby is new to you and your world, and you have a lifetime to develop your bond. Take your time.
You can try practicing soothing rhythm breathing (which you can find in Accessing Your Soothing System in your app) when you’re holding your baby. Breathe in your baby’s scent, if that gives you a sense of closeness. Don’t worry if it doesn’t.
Something to remember for any challenge you're facing during this time is that it's very difficult to take care of another person if you are not feeling taken care of yourself. No one does any new mom task perfectly, so we can just keep working towards accepting what we can and cannot do.
If you are able to, try to reach out to your support network to see if anyone else can hold the baby while you take a bit of time for yourself every day. It may not look perfect, but taking care of yourself may help you feel closer to your baby.