Posted by: Anonymous | 2009-04-26

new baby and confused

Hello Doc,
My baby is now 4 months old. He is so cute. Sleeps through and not really troublesome. But i`m not sure i love him. He is my second baby as my first baby was born on 31 weeks weeks in 2007 and died 6 days later. My son was born on 36 weeks after an emergency c-section and he spend a week in Neonatal ICU for respiratory distress and an APGAR of 6/10 and 6/10. I only saw him 24hours later. It was bad as he was in the same ICU as where his brother died. I was not able to breastfeed as he didn`t want to latch on day 3. I care for him very much and would do everything possible to defend and protect him, but I don`t know if it is enough. In the beginning he didn`t want to let me touch him and screamed.Only my mother was able to console him. I`m currently on Serlife 100mg as the medical aid doesn`t want to pay for Zoloft. My mother feel it is time for me to stop thinking about the baby that died and go on with my life, but i only try to hold on to his memories as that is all I have of him. Do you think I need more medication or what do you suggest. Oh and to clarify i`m a single mom by choice.
Thank you

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Our expert says:
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Various factors have been making it harder than usual for you to bond entirely with your baby, so far. Parents often experience difficulties after the death of the previous baby --- it's as though without thinking about it strategically, one is hesitant to let oneself fully love this child for fear of losing him, as you lost the first child. Obviously this is an emotional and not at all a logical. rational point of view --- this child neeeds you and loves you as much as any child can, and it's not his fault that his older sib died. And then, children who start off fragile and in ICU are hader to bond with, anyway, as one is literelly separated for the crucial early days, and even then scared to hold him, and aware of his fragility. Having not been handled in his earliest dys () except perhaps for needles and procedures ) he would be harder to handle at first.
Serlife and Zoloft should be equally effective ; and they help Depression, not natural sadness or grief. For that, you need experienced counselling, which would be adviseable. You may have chosen to be a single mom, but that doesn't make it any easier to cope with the loss of the first child, near-loss of the second, and so on, without the added support a spouse might have provided. All the more work, emotional and otherwise, to have to do on your own.
And then you raise another very important point. I have often found that parents have difficulty resolving their grief for a lost child, most especially one lost in the earliest weeks, because of the very concern you mention --- when one loses an infant, you have very little left to cling to --- you have lost a virtual child, who was barely here, and who is in some ways experienced as more perfect than any other child, as he was a dream-child, everything you hoped for, with no time for reality to modify the dream. And I find parents who have lost an infant find it hard to let go, for fear that by letting go of the grief, they will have absolutely nothing left of the infant. It is important not to build him a memorial constructed entirely of grief --- he deserves so much more than that. When you let go of the grief, you can remember him with joy, remember all the hopes he represented, and the gooness he brought to you even in such a brief time. You will have more, not less, to remember him by. And by transferring the love you nhad saved up for him, to his brother, you not only give this child all he truly deserves, but let him become a living memorial to his older brother, by thriving within your love.
Finally, check out whether there is, within reach of you, a branch of the excellent organization The Compassionate Friends, which brings together people who have lost a child, at whatever age, to be able to share their experiences and support each other.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Lilly | 2009-04-27

i have heard that a baby who is born after the loss of a sibling carries the soul of the sibling lost. i cannot imagine what you are experiencing but do remember that there is a new life you brought into the world and he needs you. you cannot live in the past. you will only experience pain - you cannot walk forward looking back. he is here and you are here. start your journey together one day at a time. honour your lost child but dont make your second one pay the price - a price that is too expensive for anyone to have to pay. i am thinking of you. x

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