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I started Hypnobabies this week. The 30 minute guided meditations are making me increasingly aware of how I am failing to connect with this baby. The cd’s ask you to think about your baby, connect with your baby, imagine holding your baby and so on. Hard as I try, I just can’t connect like this and am really struggling to shake the feeling of failure.

I did not make this baby. I did not put this baby inside of me. I did not administer the medications that kept the baby thriving for the first 12 weeks. On ultrasound this baby does not resemble me in the least – it looks like my husband. This baby has hair (I did not). This baby has my husband’s legs, his nose, his face shape, his mouth. This baby was paid for by someone else (my in-laws who now jokingly refer to themselves as the “investors”). This baby was made by someone else with parts of me that were extracted in a painful, invasive way.

This baby just does not feel like mine and the cd’s are making it blatantly obvious that something inside of me is broken.

I don’t know if this is a normal feeling with an IVF pregnancy. No one has talked about feelings like these so I’ve been stuffing them away for a while now, trying to pretend like I get it and I’m ready for it. But I don’t and I’m not.

Today I’m exhausted, overwhelmed, questioning everything and, quite frankly, don’t know where to turn. My therapist has left the practice leaving me with another woman who does not understand the pain of infertility or loss. My husband is too consumed with work. I’m too embarrassed to bring this up with Dr. Shannon (who the hell feels this way anyways?) My parents will either give me the standard “you chose this path and now have to deal with the consequences” response or, worse, will blow it off as “just being hormonal.” Trust me, after years of PCOS and hormone imbalances I know what feeling hormonal is and this, this is not it.

I’m going out on a limb posting this, and I’ll be turning on comment moderation to spare myself the embarrassment of harsh words. Has anyone pregnant after IVF struggled with this sort of disconnect in the third trimester? What can I do to make it go away? I want to feel connected. I want to visualize myself holding my baby. I want to be a good mother and am so afraid these feelings are the first sign of parenting failure.



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  1. May 2, 2013

    You spent so much of yourself making this baby. Your emotional and physical sacrifices have been for this baby. You are going to be an absolutely amazing mother. You are carrying this child and giving it life. I can’t imagine a more important role in its creation than that! Hang in there, Belle. Lots of love ❤

  2. Amy #
    May 2, 2013

    I have cried every time I’ve attempted prenatal yoga because I feel so disconnected. I’m pretty sure it is for the reason you’re talking about. I’m 28 weeks along in an IVF pregnancy after PCOS (so far my path has been easier than it sounds like yours has) so I don’t think anymore that it’s the fear that something will happen to him like it was in the beginning. I’m trying hard to let other people’s, like my husband’s, enthusiasm and connection bridge one for me and I’m hanging onto the fact that I am delighted when I feel movement. But when it is just me and my thoughts I have a hard time.
    So, I don’t really have any insight that will help you but delurked to say that I hear ya.

  3. May 2, 2013

    Oh Belle…if I could reach out and hug you I would! *squeeze*. I never went through IVF, so I can’t relate on that standpoint…but I do have to say that there are moments I have of intense disconnect from the baby, too. It’s an overwhelming feeling to think about the fact that there is an actual human being in there, and it half belongs to me genetically, and soon she will be out and crying and needing me, and I worry that I will most likely stare blankly at her, emotionless. I’m also having huge fears that I will be unable to produce milk, and thus also totally unable to bond with breastfeeding. Also, I am completely in synch with you on the ultrasound pics. Mine looks like a SPITTING IMAGE of my husband, it’s freaky (eyes, nose, cheek bones, lips, shape of brow, chin…). I honestly can’t see any of me in her, and I’m even noticing that her movements are quick, feisty, and jumpy–much like her Dad. From what I hear (not like this makes it any easier!) babies are genetically programmed to look much more like the fathers when they are first born (millions of years ago, it was as close to a DNA test as you could get, and it ensured the survival of the baby). I wish I could say more to help….only want to reassure you that you are not alone in feeling this way.

  4. Bethany #
    May 2, 2013

    Belle, I had a bit of this my entire pregnancy…. but the moment I held my baby girl in my arms every fear about being disconnected went away, and a peaceful “finally” feeling came over me. Finally everything I have worked so hard for has come together in this perfect little being. While the disconnect can be a little unnerving, I think it is completely natural with everything we go through.

  5. karaleen #
    May 2, 2013

    Oh Belle: I know I called you out earlier in your pregnancy about not finding the joy…..I only did that because I had been there and I missed some of the joy…but I really can relate to this. I was excited and I loved feeling the baby move and I did see myself caring for him….but I was also still very guarded…up until the end. Excitement and trepidation can co-exist. And then…he was born…and I kind of felt nothing. I was waiting to feel that overwhelming love everyone says you have for your child….and although I did love him…..I didn’t feel overwhelmed by it…I was overwhelmed by fear and the weight of the responsibility for having a child. I enjoyed holding him and all the things that are great about newborns…but he was a stranger to me. He looked NOTHING like me….and nursing was hard, and he seemed to prefer my husband. It took a good 8-10 weeks for that overwhelming, passionate mommy love to hit me. Afterall….I needed to get to know this person….and everyday as we interacted and I cared for him and we stared into each other’s eyes…we fell in love. The more I talked to my girlfriends about this…the more I found it is more common than you think…especially with the first. With my 2nd baby….I had all the same fears again while pregnant because she was not of our genes. We adopted an embyro…..I had a hard time because I had no idea what she would look like or if I could bond with a non-genetic child…..but….the day she was born….it took maybe 2 hours and I was overwhelmed. I felt it!!!! But I think it was because I had already learned from my relationship with my son that it would come. I was more confident and and open and had done it before and just had a different perspective. I think what you are feeling is normal…and even more normal and understandable as an infertile. Please don;t beat yourself up (and yes….please still try to find the joy in this experience….there is still a lot to be had….even among all the unknowns).
    Hugs to you….

  6. Mo #
    May 2, 2013

    hon – your honesty is refreshing.
    I can’t speak to IVF disconnect – but I’m thinking this may have to do with anxiety regarding birth? I’ve never been through a third trimester so I can only guess.
    But I just wanted to chime in and say that it’s very brave of you to be so open and honest. You’ll get through this.

  7. May 2, 2013

    I did not get my baby via IVF and I felt very disconnected from my baby all the way until the end…and even a few weeks after he was born. That “i fell in love the moment i saw him!” didn’t happen. But I love the shit out of him now and that’s all that matters! Give yourself a break, you WILL connect with baby sometime after he’s born regardless of how you feel now. Use the hypnobabies to relax and take a nap ( that’s what i did with them!) but don’t keep using them if they’re just gonna make you feel bad about yourself because that’s definitely not the feelings you want to invoke during labor! Good luck Belle, you’ll make it through this and still love your baby regardless of how you feel now =)

  8. May 2, 2013

    Do you know what belle, you are normal. I did not have these feelings, but I know lots of ladies did. Some even feel that way after the baby is born. It does not matter, whether it is once the baby comes or weeks later, you will fall in love with your baby in time. that much is guaranteed.

  9. May 2, 2013

    Also, you are probably protecting yourself. You’ve suffered enough heartbreak and loss, it is hard to get attached when you are always worrying that the worst is yet to come.

    • Shinara #
      May 4, 2013

      I had this feeling in the first 3 months, too. But then my husband told me to snap out of it and to think positive about the little babe. He said that we all die at one time or another, whether it’s at 95, 56, 38, 14, or before birth. The main thing is to love that little person as much as possible and for as long as we have the honor to love him or her. Just like we love our mothers and fathers, and our brothers and sisters, and our husbands (who we chose to bring into our lives, just like you chose to bring your little chicken into your life). When my mom died, it broke my heart, but that doesn’t mean I regretted loving her. I still love her and think of her daily after all these years. You loved your first little one and your heart broke, and yet your heart kept beating. Same with me. The heart kept beating and loving. Belle, your little one looks like the love of your life, LOVE HIM/HER!

      • jak #
        May 6, 2013

        where is the “like” button on this thing?!

  10. May 2, 2013

    I can’t speak about the 3rd trimester, but am raising both hands for everything else. Honestly, after all we’ve been through just to get to this point, I think what you’re feeling is normal. We disconnect as a way to protect ourselves from the fear and the possibility of loss. We disconnect to make it through this transition. It’s a form of survival. And there is nothing wrong with you because if it.

    Even though someone else joined sperm and egg for you and the professor, it does not mean you two did not play a huge role into bringing Chicken into existence. Who endured those painful injections? Drove herself for a transfer with no one else in attendance? Drive a dewar containing her embryos to a new clinic? Does a far better job than yours truly about keeping herself fit so she can handle all the chaos that comes with a newborn? Just as no one else joins sperm and egg, yet gets to claim they “made” their child(ren), you have done more to ensure a healthy pregnancy. That’s more than most humans ever get.

    So, breathe. And take baby steps. Slowly it will come. And one day very soon, you’ll be holding you child and seeing all the parts that are you in them (and it won’t be limited to physical resemblance).

    Sending love

  11. ckatz201 #
    May 2, 2013

    I spent my entire pregnancy terrified of my babies dying. I was unable to get beyond that, and since I had never really spent any real time with a baby, could not visualize myself holding them. All of my ultrasounds showed little more than blobs so I didnt connect to them physically. I couldnt even imagine the birth, didn’t care about the experience like you do, just wanted them out and alive. It didnt get past that.

    However, there was one thing I could connect to. I could visualize the minute my first baby would enter the world and the second I would hear her cry. That moment was it for me. After that, everything sort of fell off into a void. That first moment felt doable, it was all I wanted, the rest would come later. Slowly slowly. I think part of it is mother nature being smart. One step at a time, before I could not imagine holding my baby. Later, I could not imagine them smiling up at me or laughing. Now, I can imagine them rolling over (they arent yet) but no way can I imagine them as little girls, walking. Or even crawling. It’s just too much,I think my head would explode.

    You love that baby. If something were to happen (god forbid) you would mourn the chicken like nothing else in the world. Because you love him/her. Don’t play the “bad mother” game. Don’t let hypnobabies do that to you. Screw them. You are an awesome mom.

    And as a follow up, I dont remember holding either of my girls for the first time. I was too drugged and in pain from my c section. But let me tell you my memory of the moment I heard baby A first cry is as clear as nothing has been for me in my life. I remember the moment itself but even more, I remember the euphoria rush over me in an enormous torrent.

    If you arent able to connect to the moment of holding chicken, choose a moment that you think you can connect to and focus on that.

  12. May 2, 2013

    I have not struggled with IF and I am by no means an expert so you can obviously take my advice or leave it….
    I think you’re over-thinking things… this IS your baby no matter how he/she came to be (I say that gently and with empathy). Also, IF may or may not have anything to do with how you’re feeling. This could be early onset PPD. I think it’s important for you to keep a check on these feelings and discuss with your doctors/therapist. That said, these feelings could be (and hopefully will be) completely erased once you give birth and see/hold your baby for the first time. Being pregnant is (esp. for your first child) is SO abstract. Yes, you grow a big belly and feel movement but it CAN be hard to bond IF or no IF! I think if these meditations are stressing you out, and it sounds like they are, then find something else that can relax you. You are NOT a bad person or mother if you don’t feel completely connected or can’t envision holding your child right now. That’s not an easy thing to do at this stage of the game.

  13. heatherwallen #
    May 2, 2013

    Belle, I am struggling with this too – I’m the same week along as you and this is my fourth IVF cycle and only donor egg IVF. We can talk on email if you want – I think you have my email if you want to connect (you emailed me re looking for a stroller on Craigslist). Hugs, Heather

  14. May 2, 2013

    I think your feeling are totally normal. Sometimes I feel disconnected out of fear that I will lose a fifth baby. But know this….. You literally put blood, sweat, and tears into having his baby. It is YOUR tiny little miracle, and without you the baby wouldn’t exist!

  15. May 2, 2013

    I think it’s normal. Infertility is wrapped up in loss. Loss of spontaneity. Loss of innocence. There is a cultural script of how baby making is supposed to play out that we don’t get to experience and that sucks. My gut still tenses when I hear someone talk about how easily they got pregnant. First try! Surprise! On top of all of that, you suffered a tangible loss, last year. I think the heart can only take so much. You’ve been through so much. It doesn’t make you a failure. It makes you a survivor. Anyway. I don’t doubt for a second you love chicken and will be the best mother you can be.

  16. May 2, 2013

    I felt the same way for reasons I don’t want to talk about, and for reasons I cant explain. i did not eat as healthy as i did in my first pregnancy either which i now feel terrible about. I think a lot of woman can feel the same way whether they are IVF pregnancies or not, but we all have our own reasons. Now I think to myself, if only I had known this sweet girl was inside me I would have done some things differently.
    like talking or singing to her more or forcing myself to choke down things like broccoli even though they made me gag. I also think to myself, is it my fault somehow that Vera was born a pound smaller than her sister was? Is she going to develop autism because I ate more dairy this pregnancy than I did in my last? The list goes on. I think meditation may help us to be more connected during pregnancy, I think it helped me a little but I’m not sure, that’s strange huh. I just didn’t “get it” until I Saw her and got to know her after her birth. You have a lot of other stuff going on in your life like I had, so maybe the distraction of life just makes it harder to connect as well. Don’t worry about this too much, you are not alone, and we love our babies in spite of what our minds are saying to us, our babies know that.

  17. May 2, 2013

    I think you’re being to hard on yourself with “connecting with baby” and also maybe a little off base about the baby not looking like you. There’s really no way to know what your baby looks like until it comes out! Plus, the baby may look nothing like you, but s/he may be a clone of your personality. I really haven’t really spent a lot of time considering whether or not I’m “connected” with our babies because even though I don’t have conversations with them, imagine what they look like, or whatever other voodoo is recommended – there’s no way that we haven’t formed a connection because I’m the only person that gets to feel every single time the babies move. No one else shares that with him/her except for you. Even if you don’t talk to him/her, the baby always hears your voice when you use it. I really believe that the bond is there even if you can’t hold a conversation or imagine holding the baby yet. I hope you can find a way to focus less on “connecting” and just “be pregnant”. I’m sure once the baby arrives you’ll find yourself, madly, deeply, uncontrollably in love with the tiny one you helped create. (And while they were made in a lab/paid by others, there is no doubt that you helped create that tiny one because you’re the one that went through IVF, without you, there’d be no little one).

    • May 3, 2013

      My son had my husbands nose at 13 weeks. Every ultrasound after that, the techs said, “he’s a clone of his daddy.”. And he was. And he still is.

      we had an ultrasound at 22 weeks with this baby and the tech said, without seeing our son, that, “this one looks like Mom!”

      Yes, sometimes you can easily tell by 3d ultrasound who they look like!

      • Shinara #
        May 4, 2013

        Oh, oh, my babe looks like the alien.

  18. Amy #
    May 2, 2013

    I didn’t do IVF, so perhaps this is speaking out of turn, but I did have similar feelings with my successful pregnancy after my miscarriages – maybe your loss is influencing these feelings, too? As a defense/protective mechanism for your heart? Just a thought – and I think if it is indeed the case, that it’s a perfectly normal reaction and way to feel at this stage. The added implications of IVF could certainly exacerbate it, or vice versa. Chicken and egg (oh crap, terrible puns!), hard to tell which is the major player in all that.

    I would recommend that if Hypnobabies is making you feel badly about how you feel or don’t feel about the Chicken at this point, don’t do it. Find another way. I didn’t have a specific labor “method;” instead I just tried to focus on my movements and breathing and pretended it was just a super intense yoga class (neither my brain nor my body was fooled by this, but it did work, one contraction at a time). I just want to hug you and tell you that there is NOTHING WRONG with your connection to your baby. It is there. It may be hidden for now. You may not be able to feel it as intensely as you think you should, or imagine all the things you’re being asked to imagine – I was the same way. But that is no failing of yours. You’re going to be a wonderful mother, and no stupid labor method (nothing against hypnobabyists, I would consider trying it if there is a next time, ever) should be causing you worry. It reminds me of when I tried the guided meditation thing (Belleruth Naperstek, never did Circle & Bloom) after my last miscarriage. I could see how the tone and imagery was supposed to be soothing, but it just made me cry. So fuck it. I quit using it, and tried to find other things that worked better. I just hate to see you worried that you’re somehow failing or insufficient in some maternal way. You are the perfect mother for your baby!

  19. May 2, 2013

    You know, Belle, I don’t think I ever really visualized myself holding my little guy. I mean, sure in the dream lala world I’d be a happy mom with baby blah blah blah, but I don’t think it was ever really a concrete image or idea with me. Even once labor happened and I delivered the guy, it was hard to step out and look at myself from the outside seeing myself with an actual baby right there in my arms. Heck, even now (8 months on) it is still weird to find myself a mom and that this little guy I get to play with is mine. Although, it is setting in more and more.
    Don’t stress, Belle. You’ve got so much other stuff going on that it’s no wonder you’re having a hard time with some things. I think you and the Mr will be just fine when the baby gets here. If the CDs stress you, don’t listen to them! I never did hypnobaby cds.

  20. Mel #
    May 2, 2013

    I can’t offer any advice since I have not carried a baby past the first trimester but while I am still in the IF trenches I can relate. In looking toward my next FET I cannot picture myself having a successful pregnancy or holding my future baby? I think it has to do with being jaded and also being scared/anxious from our past experiences with failure. But you are succeeding, chicken is healthy and thriving and bonding with you even though you may not feel it yet. this chicken has 50% of your chromosomes so while he/she may not look like you yet (may be too early to say he/she looks just like professor :). ) this chicken is 100% yours. Plus you may may feel detached now but The bonding will happen be patient with yourself is my only advice.

  21. May 2, 2013

    I can’t speak to the IVF part of the equation, but I do think that IF in general can create a disconnect for us. For me personally, I think that I’ve kept some emotional distance just out of fear of losing this baby. And there’s also a part of me that still doesn’t feel as if any of this is real. I’ve wanted this for so long and lost all hope in the waiting that I just really can’t wrap my mind around the fact that there is a real little person growing inside of me. What you’re feeling really doesn’t seem all that unusual to me. Not sure if that helps you feel any better or not, but I have no doubt that you’re going to be a fantastic mother to your little chicken.

  22. May 2, 2013

    I am not pregnant with IVF (or at all) but I can totally picture myself feeling the same way. As much as we want to be mommies, the initial idea was to have sex for fun, get pregnant easily and carry that first pregnancy to term. Having to suffer through treatment AND a miscarriage has broken some of those dreams, so it’s normal in my mind to have a harder time connecting with your baby and coming to terms with how he or she was conceived. Don’t be to hard on your self. You’ll be an amazing mommy! Xox

  23. May 2, 2013

    OK… I am going to say what a lot of people may not say. This isn’t unique to just IVF pregnancies. I think IVF can make it more intense, but not connecting with the baby happens to a lot of people.

    My friend and I were just talking about the IVF process and knowing the baby was made outside of us, in a lab, etc. and how freaky that is – if you let yourself think about it. I think you should think about it and work through it, but I say that in hindsight. I never thought about it when pregnant with Matthew because it was strange and uncomfortable. I think it’s great that you’ve identified that as an issue for you that you’re working on.

    I connected with both of my babies, but this second one has been a slower and harder process. I don’t know why. What I do know is that it’s not a parenting failure at all and is actually more normal than many people like to acknowledge.

    Hang in there. I think you’re more connected than you really think!

  24. May 2, 2013

    I hope you are a fan of tough love because I feel your fear is unwarranted and am going to be not too mushy with what am saying.

    How can you say that you have no feelings for your baby when a few weeks ago you were crying that your NY plans were up in the air and not sure how you would cope with the baby and packing/ moving etc etc ? You’ve been poking your back with those damned PIO needles and remember the time when you had the SCH? You freaked out crazy and did all what the Dr. asked you to do to keep chicken safe. You did all that for the chicken and not to be pregnant. You want and love chicken so much. Its ok if you cannot imagine holding the chicken as the audio says, damn the audio then. Do not question your ability or your love as a mother for the chicken. What will happen for sure is that when that tiny life is in your arms all your hidden feelings will swamp you and you will be as connected to the chicken as you can ever be. Its a bond forever.

    You are not hormonal, you are afraid of what tomorrow holds. Its normal to be afraid, its good to be afraid.

  25. Denise #
    May 2, 2013

    Can I first offer that, yes, it is normal to feel like a failure, a fraud, all that. Not everyone feels that, but many do.
    2nd, can I suggest to ditch the hypno-birthing or babies CDs? Like, immediately?
    I am a fan of NOT self-flagellating as much as possible and you don’t need to do things that make you feel bad.
    Please repeat this like a mantra: ‘I do NOT need to do things that make me feel bad.’
    Over and over.
    And finally, please know that when your baby is here, you are going to feel so many times that you are unsure, that you’re a fraud, that you’re a failure.
    A part of becoming a new parent (and, I argue, worse for moms) is often that you don’t know what to do.
    That’s why babies being born little and without an adult brain is great- you’re going to learn TOGETHER. It’s not all on you.
    (I berated myself for not doing breastfeeding perfectly. I really learned though, that not only was I new at it, so was my baby. My language changed- I said ‘it took us three weeks to learn how to do it’, where I used to say ‘I couldn’t figure it out for 3 weeks.’)
    Life is learning. Life’s the journey, not the destination…

  26. Amy #
    May 2, 2013

    I haven’t experienced ivf, but I do know loss. I relate to your emotions, & it sucks, I’m sorry. But, do not fret!! Being pregnant is not the same as having a baby on the outside. It will be easier & harder, it will be wonderful, exhausting & full of intoxicating love. You will be a happy, amazing, joy-filled, cranky, over-worked & under-bathed mommy just like the rest of us. Eat something delicious, & tell yourself it will get better.

    • Amy #
      May 2, 2013

      Oh! & hypnobabies *really* stressed me out-I eventually just had to stop.

  27. jak #
    May 2, 2013

    first – take a deep breath and slow down. as stuart smalley would tell you, “belle, that’s just stinkin’ thinkin’!”.

    there was a time when i thought i was going to need donor eggs. my current baby is something like one of nine fertilized eggs out of 3 rounds that actually made it. so DE was a very real consideration. and i couldnt get over the fact that it wouldnt be me. that my body was busted. that i would just be carrying someone else’s and my husband’s baby. all kinds of hurtful self-hating crap was going through my head. but my husband said, “what are you thinking?! there is NO WAY that a baby, even conceived with DE would survive if it wasnt for your body nurturing it. your body providing the building blocks of that baby’s flesh and blood. DNA gets altered and changed through life, and epigenetics are no joke – your DNA is not the end of who you are. you will have built that baby. it would be yours.”

    belle, chicken is constructed with building blocks that come from your body. AND chicken is even your DNA, regardless of whether it looks like professor husband or not. your blood runs through it’s veins. you alone have been nurturing it for 32 weeks now. chicken is part of you. attached to you. and you alone are responsible for seeing him or her into the world. you can embrace that now:)

    please write if you need to vent any more. you know how to reach me by email. hang in there. you are critical to chicken more than ANYONE ELSE!! hugs!!!!

  28. May 2, 2013

    I read somewhere that the kind of parent who worries about being a bad parent and seeks out help is the kind of person who will be an excellent parent. I think those feelings are absolutely normal, and I’m sorry you feel that way.

  29. May 2, 2013

    I think I was disconnected with my babies in utero (at least in the way you describe) and I was disconnected with them after they were born and even now (8 months in!) sometimes I struggle to connect, especially to Banana who I feel looks like my husband and not like me (although it is definitely getting better). You are not abnormal. I don’t know how to imagine holding an abstract concept of a new human being. Also, in utero, I was convinced that Banana looked like me and Apple looked like my husband but it is soooooo the opposite.

    By the way “who now jokingly refer to themselves as the “investors”” is really really icky to me. I can’t really articulate why but it is hitting a nerve deep down in a visceral way.

  30. Arbrefleur #
    May 2, 2013

    First off, there is no way in hell you will be “a parenting failure.” You’re going to be an amazing mom and I’ll bet the money for my next IVF round that EVERYONE in the blog-o-sphere (if not the world 🙂 ) will agree with me!!! Secondly, I do not have a blog, but I’ve been in this community going on 3 years now and I feel the same way you do! I’m not trying to diminish your pain or anxiety in the slightest and everyone’s pain is different, but I just wanted to say that I can actually relate. I’m a couple weeks away from entering the 3rd trimester with my IVF baby and I have weird deep feelings about not being fully healed. Or healed at all. By being finally pregnant. Even after 4 years of terrible struggle to get here. I still cannot picture my baby in my arms or anything like that. I have bizarre anxiety from the money (mine came from in-laws too!) and I have serious trauma from all the years of procedures and surgeries. I haven’t talked about this much, but as usual your honesty is bringing me out of the woodwork. I don’t have any answers, but I do hope we can both just be kind to ourselves and take each day as it comes and get there. Wherever or whatever “there” is – I hope we get there!

  31. Kathy #
    May 2, 2013

    Not to worry, you will be fine. Reality set in for me when I went into labour. It was like I got on a roller coaster at the fair and it was going up and I was scared and wanted to get off….except i couldn’t. Then after, they put your baby in your arms. You look and think, wow. The emotions are all over the place. You grow into being a mother, it will come. I’m not a infertile woman, just a mom.

  32. May 2, 2013

    I felt disconnected the entire pregnancy (despite natural miraculous origins), and I decided it was just part of the deal and I shouldn’t fret. Hypnobabies is one way but not the only way. Lamaze doesn’t tell you to connect and visualize and babies still get born healthy. I just decided that the disconnect was there and that it wasn’t worth the energy to worry about it. It felt to me like all the “your baby won’t love you if you don’t do some specific set of things in the first hour of life” nonsense. My older kid barely saw me in her first 24 hours and she likes me just fine and occasionally reports she loves me (being 5, I figure its rarity is part of her age). She nursed well enough and didn’t get to try for 4 hours after birth (at least). So I say it isn’t necessary to feel connected yet. I felt very connected once there was a baby in my arms, and that was cool and I would have liked to have that sooner, but I didn’t, and it’s nothing to worry about in my opinion.

  33. Lydia #
    May 2, 2013

    Oh my…I have not experienced this, but I think I can say that this is not a sign you won’t be a good mother! No no no. I think there are lots of women who feel disconnected with the baby during pregnancy. I mean, it’s so hard to bond with something that is hidden from view. Maybe hypnobabies isn’t the right method for you, if you can’t jive with what their saying. That doesn’t make you a failure, it just means something else might resonate better.

    One last piece of advice: talk to your husband about your fears. Even if he is busy, he doesn’t want you to fret about this stuff on your own.

    Good luck.

  34. May 2, 2013

    We call my daughter Ryan jnr because there is nothing of me in her at all. You might not have done all those things but without you the baby would not be at all. You’ve provided a home, nutrition, love, your voice already calms the baby, the only way the baby comes out is through you! I am the most important person in Molly’s life and likewise she’s mine. Try not to look to deeply as to how she got here but more how she stays here.

    • May 3, 2013

      Oh, Chon! This is the nicest thing I’ve read in a long time!!!

  35. May 2, 2013

    LOTS of thoughts on this, but not sure how to write it all out coherently. As background, my kiddo was an IUI not IVF kid, but she was made with frozen sperm injected into me while her Dad was working 1,000 miles away, paid for by money gifted to us from my parents, and I did all of the shots myself while my husband was working in a different state. So different from you, but similar in a way (though not nearly as intrusive on my body as IVF, of course). Also, my kiddo came out a mini-me of her Father. It bothered me for a bit, but now it kind of cracks me up.

    At any rate, I also used HB, and I loved it. That being said, there were definitely tracks that made me think “seriously?!” — because I did NOT feel that “connection” really either. I think this is totally normal. Some people feel a connection when they see the picture of their embryo…some where they feel the first kick…some when they hold them for the first time…and some maybe a year later when the kid can say “MAMA!” and give kisses. There’s nothing right or wrong with ANY of those scenarios.

    My point – don’t feel like a failure AT ALL for feeling like this. Love is a fluid thing that will grow over time for your child, and one day you’ll be looking at him/her and realize that you have fallen head over heels and it’s amazing. If that doesn’t happen while you’re still gestating the kid, it’s okay!

  36. stupidstork #
    May 2, 2013

    Okay so I’m not pregnant but as an IVFer I don’t think annnnything your feeling is weird or anything to be ashamed about. HONESTLY. (And I’m a judgmental asshat). I think pregnancy as it is, much less with IVF, is such a new, strange feeling when someone’s pregnant for the first time. I think particularly for IF you have such a concrete, long term relationship with the idea of pregnancy that when it actually comes, it’s going to feel a little disconnected, weird and surreal.

    I know this is probably wildly unhelpful but try not to stress out about feeling slightly disconnected… There’s NO possible way that you’re not eventually going to feel connected to it, it will happen. You’re doing AWESOMELY.

  37. Prairie #
    May 2, 2013

    When pregnant after rpl & if I also found the touchy-feely emphasis on connecting with fetus to be difficult. I noticed it most in prenatal yoga classes, when we were promoted to put one hand on belly & one on our heart to connect to baby. I didn’t. I think being emerged in the ali blogosphere & knowing a few people irl who experienced late term loss & stillbirth meant I knew pregnancy didn’t equal take home baby. It was tough. I do not think you’re alone in this.

    I am hugely bonded to my 10-month old son. I dont feel like our relationship has suffered because I didn’t truly connect when my hand was on my pregnant belly.

  38. May 2, 2013

    Delurking just to send a bit of reassurance that these feelings (or lack thereof) are not indicitive of whether you’ll bond with baby once s/he is here. I had a really hard time connecting with my last pregnancy and I couldn’t be more head-over-heels in love with this baby. You are gonna be just fine, and are perfectly normal, i promise. ((()))

  39. perkswildflower #
    May 2, 2013

    Belle, I feel like deep down you don’t believe this is going to be your happy ending. Maybe you won’t fully believe it until you have that baby in your arms, and that’s okay. That doesn’t mean you’ve failed as a parent and doesn’t in any way represent how things are going to end up between you and your child. This is what you’ve wanted for so long that you’re afraid. If you don’t connect with the baby now, you protect yourself from the potential hurt if something happens.

    You can do this. Don’t beat yourself up.

  40. Catie #
    May 2, 2013

    Oh Belle! I know that this will not help you feel better but here it goes… What you are feeling is perfectly normal for any mother but especially one that has already been through the hell that is infertility. The fact that you are taking the time to think about and worry over not feeling connected is proof that you are going to be the best mommy ever!! If you didn’t already love for baby very, very much you wouldn’t even notice that you feel like you don’t (does that make sense?) I think you may just be guarding your heart a little, its hard to think everything will be “ok” when it wasn’t for so long and thats ok too. Have faith in yourself and your little one (who is happily and healthily growing big and strong in there!) I know it sounds cliche but once you see your little one live and in person you will absolutely start to fall (slowly, trust me bonding isn’t “instant” for everyone and that is normal too) in love with him or her.

  41. May 2, 2013

    This is interesting, I’m wondering if you’ll get any other replies about this! I’m starting the IVF journey, I never thought of this as a possibility. And hypnobabies I’ve never heard of – hope it works!

  42. May 2, 2013

    Although I can not relate to your experiance with the loss or now successful IVF, I can, in a similar way, relate to your feelings of disconnection. I can’t say for the same reasons, but I can say that even though the child growing inside me was conceived the old fashioned way, I have not been able to imagine, what is soon to be my son, in that actuality. I can’t picture him looking like me or that he’s mine and he’s real. I can’t imagine holding him and having it feel natural or like we are mother and son. I can’t picture myself as a mother. After 34 weeks of having the opportunity to wrap my head around it and become prepared and accustomed to my impending motherhood, I still have trouble even talking about him as a him or as our child, after all, he is already, even if he’s not in our arms yet, right? I don’t know if it’s my overly realist personality that doesn’t allow me to see any further than what’s directly in front of me or that what I know to be true and real, or my awkward and uncomfortable feeling around children, but I have serious doubts about how my motherly “instinct” will surface. It sounds like, to me, that you have honest to goodness doubts that are valid and should be addressed with compassion and care. I don’t think your family is being remotely helpful with their negative and hurtful responses and these recordings don’t sound like a positive addition to your situation. I’m sorry you feel like your on your own. That’s not fair or healthy to feel that way. Nobody can honestly tell us we’re going to be “great moms” or to “stop worrying” since no one really knows, but what they can do is tell us that whatever happens and whatever we may need to get through it, they will be there for us. I hope, you find someone who can give you that, even if you have to specifically ask for it. Maybe if you know what you need from your family and you sit with them and have a serious and honest talk with them about what you need from them, they will be more the support team you should have beside you. Maybe they don’t know how to react? Thank you for sharing this very personal situation with us all. Take care and I’ll be thinking of you.

  43. Stacey #
    May 2, 2013

    Don’t beat yourself up. You’re in a terribly stressful situation with no one to vent to. You will bond with your baby just fine. Give yourself a break. You’re a great mom just because you care enough to worry about this! I hope you find the support you need here (and IRL).

  44. May 3, 2013

    I’m sorry that you are feeling so low, that you don’t know who to turn to, and that I don’t really have any advice to offer… but I can guarantee you, this feeling or ANY negative feeling does NOT make you a bad or failed mother. I think this is something that happens sometimes and I don’t even think it is necessarily specific to IVF pregnancies, although I can see your reasonings behind it. Hopefully deep down you know this is just an unnecessary worry (and trust me, there will be loads more of them). Third trimester is hard in general. Try to nourish yourself with whatever helps you feel okay, just look after yourself and that will in turn look after the baby. I hope that doesn’t sound really condescending or dismissive, it’s just a thought that helped me get through my last trimester.

  45. May 3, 2013

    Ah Belle, don’t overthink this. You’re just trying to protect yourself. And don’t freak out if you don’t melt at the first sight of the chicken either. I didn’t feel entirely connected with gumby, mainly because I was afraid to be, in case we lost him. And even the first few days, you catch sight of yourself in the mirror with the baby and go “WTF?”. You’re tired, you’ve just done this huge job, and one part of you goes “ah get this thing off me and let me sleep”. I thought he looked like a creepy alien during night feeds for about three weeks!

    Bonding is often slow, and gradual. That whole “I’m so in love with my baby” school of thought kind of make me want to puke. And I am, but I wasn’t. And I still have my moments. Acknowledge how you feel, like you’re doing, and go “wow! This wasn’t what I expected. Isn’t that interesting?” And don’t judge yourself.

    My sister warned me how odd she felt after the birth, and how the bonding thing was not at all instant, so I felt like I had someone in my court. Does IVF make this worse or weirder? I don’t think so, but I found I kept saying I SHOULD be 150% grateful, I’m one of the LUCKY ones, and that increases the pressure to meet your own crazy high expectations. Ivf-ers often know they’re only doing it once too, which makes it all about “doing it perfectly”. I think we sometimes hear echoes of “it’s unnatural and you shouldn’t make babies that way” criticisms, and then anything that doesn’t feel just right is blamed on the “unnatural” conception. (Hell, I’d rather our carefully considered complicated expensive commitment to some of the alternatives “crap, I had too many tequilas and slept with a random down the pub”, or “omg I have three kids what ANOTHER one?”).

    I’ve got news for you girl. You can NEVER be ready for this. And anyone that says they were are either liars or of very limited intelligence. It is hard to be ready for life when in a way you’re still mourning your loss of an uncomplicated journey to this point. And that’s ok. It’s just an emotionally complex path, so we need to tread mindfully, and without self criticism. End rant.

  46. May 3, 2013

    I don’t have any experience with IVF, but I do know that different people connect in different ways. That doesn’t mean anything is necessarily wrong. And don’t ever call it parenting failure. You went through immense amounts of pain and loss to bring this child to life. You have given more of yourself than some parents ever will. Maybe it is just your guard up? Either way ill be thinking about you and chicken.

  47. May 3, 2013

    I never went through IVF but I spent 3 years in Hell trying really hard to have this baby currently kicking the heck out of me. Im happy I finally fell pregnant even though we had just been told we would have to look into IUI, Im happy that my hubby is so over joyed and constantly telling me how much he cant wait to meet his son. Im even happy that our little miracle baby is thriving even though I have had the pregnancy from Hell..
    But I still cant believe that there really is a baby. I cant imagine what he looks like, I cant imagine holding him and all the things that come next like looking after him and raising him and teaching him to be a good and decent human being. I am being constantly asked for a list of what I need for the baby as my friends are trying to organise my baby shower and I just dont have the energy to write anything down. I am still trying to get the babys room sorted,so far we have painted the walls and Ive only done half of the mural I wanted to do,something that would have taken me 2 days at most. I havent unpacked any of his things since we moved,everything is still in packets and boxes in his closet. And I havent even bothered looking at any of the baby books I have been given by the prenatal class and friends. I feel that if I make the effort, it will all become a little “too real” and I dont feel like Im ready to deal with it all. But even though Im feeling all of this, I am not worrying too much about it as I have been told once that baby gets put into my arms, everything will fall into place. I figure once he is here, I will manage. Im not worrying if I will be a good parent because I know I will. The biggest difference between woman like us and the parents we see on the streets is that we KNOW we wanted this child. We went through horrible ordeals to have this child and no one could be more grateful and filled with love for their child than you will be when yours is in your arms and you can physically see and touch him/her. You just need to remember why you wanted a baby in the first place and be patient for the bonding experience to happen. It will and you will nev

  48. Lisa #
    May 3, 2013

    So even though I’m not pregnant (yet) I feel the same way about our road to parenthood. After 2.5 long years of struggle, I have had to “turn off” my hopes and feelings about wanting to be a mom. They are too painful to deal with so I can’t even picture or envision us becoming parents. We are doing IVF too (with a loan from my parents so similar in that way too) and my mom and sister keep telling me “but you’re going to have a baby in the end” and my reply is always, I *may* have a baby in the end. I think we get scarred on this journey, so I feel like your feelings are totally normal. You know what it’s like to be let down so you try not to get your hopes up, even when everything is going well. It sucks but it’s the way it is when you struggle as much as we all have to get to parenthood. Hopefully once your healthy baby is placed in your arms, it will all disappear! Congrats and good luck to you!

  49. May 8, 2013

    This may sound odd, but I’ve spent ages trying to find if anyone feels similar to me. I spent 4 years ttc and had iui last year – it worked first time. The 1st 20 weeks, I couldn’t relax and enjoy being pregnant at all. Now (at 40wks today)I feel connected to my bump (nicknamed Elvis) but something still feels “off”. I still have a hard time with others’ pregnancies and I still can’t believe that I’ll hold my son one day soon. Meanwhile, although I love him already, I can’t stop thinking that I cheated and am undeserving.

    I keep hoping that it’s all because of the 4 yrs heartbreak I went through. Finally reading someone else who’s journeyed further than me but hasn’t forgotten it all just because treatment worked, is a help.

    Thank you for sharing!


    • May 9, 2013

      You are absolutely not alone in your feelings! The comments on this post area true testament to this. I have high hopes that in time we’ll feel the overwhelming squishy kinda love for our littles that we desire. Until then, we can fall back on one another for support 🙂 Thanks for stopping by!

  50. May 8, 2013

    Reblogged this on Persephone: Parent and commented:
    Today I’m wearing a t-shirt that says “It started with a kiss” but, of course it didn’t. It started with tablets, needles, doctors and catheters. But I always assumed that the moment I got pregnant I’d “get over” all my TTC “problems”.

    That never happened though and I thought I was alone in that because I had yet to find blogs where someone’s TTC journey had ended in success. Until my due date of all days!

    I’m not the only person who struggles with feeling normal through a pregnancy that did not start “normally”.

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