Are you ashamed to say you don’t like your child? Does it cause you to feel like a failure? In this month’s issue of Redbook Magazine, one mother wrote a provocative article about her experience with motherhood. From the moment her little girl was born, she said she didn’t feel that connection. As her daughter got older, she didn’t hit the typical milestones and the wedge grew deeper. She went on to have another daughter and experienced an immediate bond. She eventually sought medical help and found out her daughter had a growth hormone problem. After her child was on medication, she says she began to feel connected to her and her daughter became more “normal”.
This is a part of motherhood no one wants to talk about. As with breastfeeding, we are led to believe when the baby comes out, all is perfect. When the fact of the matter really is, there is a learning curve for both baby and mama. It isn’t always rainbows, glitter, and unicorns. Ya know what? It’s o.k! Yes, I said, that feeling (or lack there of) is o.k! Even better, you aren’t the only one! If you have never known someone who shares your frustrating experience, now you have. Our second little one was very sick when she was born and spent some time in the NICU. After she came home, that first year was full of crying (both of us), projectile vomiting, and many doctor visits. We never really bonded because I was so exhausted caring for this little baby that I couldn’t muster any affectionate feelings. When she grew into toddlerhood, I had to put forth great effort to have those affectionate feelings. I thought it very sad that I had to put forth effort to enjoy my child. I’m supposed to be her mommy, for goodness sake. As time went on, I had to put forth less and less effort. Now, the bond is the same as with my other 3.
Even to say we love our child but don’t always like them seems taboo. Isn’t this true though? Your precious little toddler is extra quiet. You go to investigate. Upon turning the corner you see your favorite lipstick smoothered all over the wall, your toddler’s face, and ground into the carpet. At this moment, while you will always love your precious cherub, I would venture to say you don’t like them much at that moment. Perhaps your child has a habit that just gets under your skin. It’s o.k, just think about your own parents and what drove them nuts.
We place such high expectations of motherhood. When the expectations aren’t met, we feel like we somehow failed. Recently my hubby and I have had conversations about the pressures placed upon us. I have a confession, my kids don’t bath every single day and we don’t read them bedtime stories while they are nestled in bed. Instead of focusing on what society expects of you, stop and go within. Think about your values and what you want to pass on to your children. Don’t focus so much on being the perfect mommy, instead focus on teaching your children the values you want them to possess. If you mess up, that’s quite o.k. Apologize and move on. After all, we are human BEINGS, not human DOERS. If you are struggling, don’t be afraid to reach out, there is always someone who knows how you feel.