Motherhood is so much more than just a label. From carrying the baby for 3 trimesters in the womb to going through the laborious birthing process to developing a bond with the baby and raising them up with all might. Truly, a mother-child relationship is unlike any other bond in the world.
While all of this does sound blissful, it also creates a lot of pressure on the new mothers to instantly fit in into this great role of the ultimate caregiver. There are some who do it effortlessly, falling in love with their little bundle of joy. And there are many who struggle to adjust to this major change in their life.
And from there on, starts the feelings of guilt, inadequacy, and the shame question – “Is something wrong with me? Am I a bad mother”.
Suddenly a lifelong dream starts to feel like a nightmare.
Did you know, 20 percent of women suffer from postpartum depression and have trouble connecting with their babies but choose to remain silent (1).
So if you are one of them, know it’s completely alright to sometimes not feel, that does not mean the love is not there. Love is deeper than just feelings and emotions. Not being able to feel doesn’t mean love doesn’t exist. Without love, you can’t even create art or even a good pancake. With love and love only, could you create a whole human being, so have faith, and know that you aren’t alone.
Why am I having trouble bonding with the baby?
Imagine being in labor for 8-10 hours, delivering a baby, carrying a tired body and mind, hormones going haywire and someone hands you a red-pink tiny tod who no matter what you do, seems to cry.
Yes, that is what motherhood looks like in the first few hours. So, do not be so harsh on yourself. Do not beat yourself up, just like every pregnancy, every journey of bonding is unique. And what the new mothers need to know is that sometimes it can take about 4-8 weeks for them to develop any kind of secure attachment with the baby.
Cornell University anthropologist Dr. Meredith Small explains, “Bonding is not instantaneous, but a process — a relationship that grows from being together over time.” (2)
What factors make it hard for new parents to bond with their babies?
Some of the factors that can make it difficult for the parents to bond with their newborn are:
- A long and difficult birthing process
- Past history of depression or anxiety
- Not enough support from friends and family
- Lack of a solid parent figure
- Any other stressful situation (money, relationship, health) currently prevailing in their life
And if, even after 12-15 weeks there are feelings of detachment and anxiety, making it difficult for you to connect with the child, don’t panic and share your concerns with a professional.
You Might Also Like
Use positive self talk to increase your staying power
As the demand for fit and healthy lifestyle is growing, people are looking for the latest ideas and effortless ways to live a healthy lifestyle. One such fitness mantra that helps people to live a calm and stress-free life is Self-Talk…
How to bond with the baby?
Here are a few simple and fun techniques that families can try throughout the day (and sleepless nights) to help build a lifelong attachment with their beautiful baby –
1. Your voice is your first identity
Do you know a baby can hear you even when they are in the womb? So talk to your baby, sing to them, smile at them, tell them all about your day, your struggles, your happiness (this holds for the fathers as well). They may not understand you but they will surely start responding to your voice and another bonus – you get to have the cutest little confidant in the world.
2. Skin to skin is the magic key
Skin to skin is clearly one of the most talked-about ways of bonding with baby. And clearly so – holding your child in a loving embrace against your skin releases the oxytocin hormone which is also known as the love hormone. It also helps in regulating the baby’s breathing, heart rate and helps you associate this feel-good feeling with the baby. This is one of the reasons breastfeeding is encouraged especially for mothers who had a C-section or premature delivery and weren’t able to spend enough time holding the infant.
3. Massage away the blues
Another sure-shot way of baby bonding is massaging the infant. Not only does it improves blood circulation and strengthens the soft baby bones but it also helps them learn your touch. Look deep into their eyes as they giggle and squirm under your touch, and you will find your heart oozing happiness and love.
4. Choose the baby over chores
While the congratulatory messages from loved ones will keep pouring in, the house will keep getting messier, the pile of clothes will keep getting bigger – you will never get this time again with the baby. Cuddle them, kiss them, dance with them, and make them smile as you smile with them. And slowly you will experience a postpartum bliss.
5. Don’t fuss too much
Believe it or not, babies are super tuned in to their surroundings. So when you stress – whether it is about them not hitting the milestones, the slow-developing bond with the baby, the housework, or a crying fit – it is only going to get worse. Don’t forget to take a break when you feel overwhelmed. Breathe through the anxiety and ask for help. Remember it takes a village to raise a baby.
Keeping a journal and writing down your thoughts will help you deal with your feelings without them snowballing into anxiety. Record all your postpartum feelings and a few years down; revisit these precious memories with your child and sweet little family.
Be assured, there is no right or wrong way of bonding with the baby. Just like every other parent, you are doing your best. Just take one moment at a time, put less pressure on yourself, be honest about your feelings, and eventually, you and your baby will be emotionally tied for life.