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Continuing the conversation – bonding with baby

05/03/2013

Belle

Well shoot, you guys. When I turned on comment moderation I did not expect to get 50  kind, moving and very personal comments flooding my inbox. The first handful made me such a sobbing emotional mess that I had to wait to read the rest until I was in the comfort of my own sewing room, not in my office. This morning I approved all of them and decided to combine some of my responses into a second post, because this is clearly something many of us have struggled with. Even women who conceived naturally and have not dealt with infertility and/or loss have battled some feelings of disconnect with their baby while he/she was still in utero. And many, many women admitted to not immediately bonding with their baby even after birth.

I’m relieved to learn that these feelings are “normal.” I wish it lessened my anxiety, but it does not. I tried to convey my feelings to the Professor today and all that happened was I ended up crying – again. He just does not get it and is, honestly, very poor support when I try to talk to him about any fears or concerns. I do believe that in time I’ll bond with this little human who I fought so damn hard for. I do believe that even if he/she looks and acts just like my husband that somewhere in there I’ll see a little bit of me. Until then, though, I think I’m just in for some hard days and nights.

One reader referenced all the other crap going on in my life right now and I’m absolutely certain this is not helping with bonding. Add in our uncertainty about Chicken’s placenta and cord and no wonder I am struggling to bond with my baby. No wonder childbirth education is giving me fits of heartburn. It’s damn near impossible to visualize myself as a mom right now. So I’m going to try and cut myself some slack and do what little things I can to facilitate bonding. Maybe a little sewing for baby, washing some onsies and buying some sheets for our co-sleeper. Maybe I’ll get another prenatal massage.

I’m also surprised by how many women had to stop the Hypno Babies program and turn to another birthing method. Those who know me in real life, and I guess those who have been reading me for a while, know I’m not a quitter. Instead I’ll fight to the bloody end to complete something no matter how much it hurts. This is a GREAT quality in an employee who is fighting to produce a prize-worthy feature story. This is not a great quality when it comes to things that slowly, or quickly, chip away at your sanity. I did a lot of thinking last night and feel like I owe HypnoBabies a little more time. I will trudge through the first two weeks of the program and if I still feel anxiety over it, I’ll quit. Oh, just typing that makes me want to hit delete. Quitting is so lame 🙂

I have more to write based on comments received yesterday, but I’m going to sit on it a bit. It’s a deeply personal topic and I’m not quite ready to open it up to the world. I do want to thank everyone who responded and offered support by sharing words of wisdom, past experiences or just saying that they were thinking about me. I’m constantly amazed at how damn hard pregnancy after infertility is and am eternally grateful for this community and the ability to connect with so many women who have been down this path before me.

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7 Comments

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  1. May 3, 2013

    I certainly agree that this is something many people feel pressure not to talk about. After all, the assumption is that bonding will come naturally for everyone, just as it does in a Huggies commercial. Yet the reality is, many people (not just women) struggle to bond with their child, both in utero and after birth. It’s really a shame we don’t talk more candidly about this stuff because it’s so important and usually can be resolved with some time and some different approaches.

    I’m glad to see you’re feeling better too. Communicating this stuff is scary and hard to do. Yet it can lead to such good things.

    Hang in there, lady. And I’m looking forward to all the future posts on this topic.

  2. Amanda #
    May 3, 2013

    I am a little late here to comment on the disconnect with baby bonding in utero. I totally get it. I was there not long ago: pregnant with an ivf baby who also had a type of cord defect that kept me on edge until I had him finally alive in my arms.

    I did hypnobirthing for my birth method. There is a component to bonding with that one too, but it is somewhat minimal if I recall. Anyway, the rainbow relaxation cd I used with the class (i think it is separate from what comes with the book) really helped with my anxiety about my pregnancy and it also helped me do a med free birth. I would recommend looking into hypnobirthing as an alternative. And really try to be kind to yourself. I know it is hard.

  3. May 4, 2013

    Yep. Parenting after infertility is hard. Lots of emotions you think you’re not allowed to have – but you are.

    • May 5, 2013

      I totally agree with Chon. In the beginning I struggled with the days that hormones were high and I was just feeling like a horrible mom or that I needed a few minutes to myself. And for that, I felt even more horrible. Just because getting pregnant was a struggle and I really wanted (still want) him, it doesn’t mean that there aren’t times when I am frustrated, over tired and just in a rotten mood. It doesn’t mean I don’t deserve him any less or that I don’t want him any less, it just means I am human. And a mom.

  4. Aubrey #
    May 4, 2013

    It is so hard to protect your heart when you’ve dealt with so much loss while simultaneously committing yourself to this new little person. I was fortunate enough to have no problems conceiving my first child, but I really struggled to bond after he was born. It took a lot of time. Then my husband was diagnosed and treated for cancer (in remission-yay), then came two miscarriages, several failed IUIs, and finally IVF that resulted in twins. I did not want twins and I completely freaked out. So much uncertainty (would they be early, would they have to go to the NICU, would I have bedrest), a move complete with dramatic closing and a complete lack of faith that I could manage two babies/three kids. I did not enjoy the pregnancy or anticipate the birth for even one day. My husband was very worried. When they were born, i fell in love. This time, I bonded much more quickly and am enjoying their babyhood (they are 6 months old). Either way it happens for you, it will be ok. You will get there, your own way. After so much anticipation and effort to get pregnant, the everyday life of a baby can be a let-down. Not because you dont love your kid, but because you are so accustomed to being amped up on adrenaline and worry, it is a big change in emotional energy to just “be”. It can feel odd, but its normal and ok.

    Don’t beat yourself up-I know easier said than done. If Hypnobabies makes you question yourself, try something else. It doesn’t make you a quitter, it makes you smart enough to know what works for you. Sometimes what works is not what you expect (or want). Good luck to you!

  5. May 4, 2013

    While I did feel very connected to my ‘raspberry’, I did not feel connected to him once he was born. That was hard. I thought I knew my baby the whole time and then when he finally arrived he was someone else. So I do know what you mean. I was disconnected during most of the first and second trimesters. It will work itself out, but I know in the mean time you must feel anxious. Hang in there.

  6. jak #
    May 6, 2013

    going to read comments on your last post now, but wanted to say – i couldnt get into hynobabies. that idea of someone’s voice blabbing at me, even in a relaxing tone, drove me nuts. we opted for bradely method instead. but this is based on my knowledge about my own personality. i know that i dont want to be pestered when i am focusing on relaxing and that i only want familiar people and voices around.

    the point is though, that the basis is the same whichever of the two methods you choose. and i think it would be totally doable to mix the two methods. you get yourself into a trance-like state of relaxation facilitated by practicing AHEAD OF TIME getting into that state USING YOUR PARTNERS HELP (and your doula, yay!). i [humbly] suggest getting susan mccutheon’s book on the bradley method and knowing the labor signposts and practicing the exercising techniques – ok, actually, i’m going to go creep on your registry and see if i cant find a way to amazon it to you right now!! in addition, in 2 weeks, you guys should probably start perineal massage. i thought that was bullshit until i read the cochrane review on it and for first time mums at least, the evidence shows that it works if done early enough and routinely. and this conclusion was reached by docs (read: skeptical people).

    hang in there, chickenmama!!!! i think you’re doing great!!!

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