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Posted by: Concerned mum | 2010/10/29

Post Partum Depression (cont: from post 1140)

CS, my daughter is hopefully going to be released from hospital on Sunday. She has made such an amaxing about turn, and after a stay of almost 3 weeks in the pshyciatric ward. As you can imagine, she is very anxious about coming home to face the real world.

She is now asking me a question that I really don''t know the correct answer to. She is very concerned and anxious about this, and while this may seem trivial to some people reading this forum, I''d ask that you please respect her mental state before venturing an answer. She keeps asking me: " Mom will he still know that I am his mommy"  Baby is 7 weeks old. I have taken him frequently to visit her, and while in the beginning, she only looked at baby from a distance, she asking to see baby, and is now holding, loving, cuddling, feeding and changing nappies.

I have answered her as best I can, and that is to tell her that baby lived in her for 9 months, and knows her heartbeat, and knows her smell, and that nothing has changed - he knows who mommy is, and that she has nothing to fear. Have I answered her correctly?

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Our expert says:
Expert ImageCyberShrink

Hi c.m. - thanks for the feedback, and I'm so pleased to hear that your daughter is already feeling significantly better. The issue you raise is of course one that should also be discussed with her own shrink.
TO be frank, though I understand her concern, by 7 weeks, no child actually "KNOWS" that anyone is his mother - he has no concept of mother and no entirely stable way of recognizing people except in a rather broad way. He may well be just a little fractous at first but should soon settle in espeially if she doesn't allow any brief unfamiliarity to make her unduly anxious.
Kids that age broadly recognize human faces, maybe smiles, and to tell a loving and calm voice from a nasty and angry one.
To the extent that ANY child knows his mother at that age, this child will certainly know her, and respond hapilly to her love.
And she has been able to remain in contact with him and show her love for him, and he recognizes that.
You have continued to be a marvellous grandmother ( and an excellent role-model of motherhood ), and have given her excellently acurate advice.
As Purple points out, at around that age, children, for survival's sake, are programmed to accept nurturing from anyone who will provide it, without being too fussy about who. He won't have formed any special over-riding bond with anyone else. And all the important bonding is still to come, and she will be perfectly ready for it as will her son

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Our users say:
Posted by: cybershrink | 2010/10/30

Hi c.m. - thanks for the feedback, and I'm so pleased to hear that your daughter is already feeling significantly better. The issue you raise is of course one that should also be discussed with her own shrink.
TO be frank, though I understand her concern, by 7 weeks, no child actually "KNOWS" that anyone is his mother - he has no concept of mother and no entirely stable way of recognizing people except in a rather broad way. He may well be just a little fractous at first but should soon settle in espeially if she doesn't allow any brief unfamiliarity to make her unduly anxious.
Kids that age broadly recognize human faces, maybe smiles, and to tell a loving and calm voice from a nasty and angry one.
To the extent that ANY child knows his mother at that age, this child will certainly know her, and respond hapilly to her love.
And she has been able to remain in contact with him and show her love for him, and he recognizes that.
You have continued to be a marvellous grandmother ( and an excellent role-model of motherhood ), and have given her excellently acurate advice.
As Purple points out, at around that age, children, for survival's sake, are programmed to accept nurturing from anyone who will provide it, without being too fussy about who. He won't have formed any special over-riding bond with anyone else. And all the important bonding is still to come, and she will be perfectly ready for it as will her son

Reply to cybershrink
Posted by: Concerned mum | 2010/10/29

Thank you Another Point of View. I appreciate your input. It''s really great to get it straight from someone who has walked the road.

Reply to Concerned mum
Posted by: ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW | 2010/10/29

Hi

i have not read your story in full but i can relate to the question. I have no medical or mental problems. I am a professional married women who had her first child at the age of 31. so everything seems normal however our son was born prem baby and only weighed 2.2kg. i had post natal depression and was scared to hold him. I was worried because i never felt that instant love to him that everyone talks about, although i knew i would not hurt him.

i kept asking my mom, does he know i am his mother, does he love me.

now my son is 2 years old and i love him so much i would die for him.

tell your daughter - she must just be patient and give it time, but he knows she is his mother and love grows, and when it does it is in leaps and bounds....

i hope it all works out.

Reply to ANOTHER POINT OF VIEW
Posted by: just a thought | 2010/10/29

think you are 2 wonderful, you seem to be doing all the right things your daughter is so fortunate 2 have your support.
keep us updated on progress- good luck

Reply to just a thought
Posted by: anon | 2010/10/29

Book was co-written by 3 different authors (Heidi Murkoff, Sharon Mazel, Arlene Eisenberg) from the looks of it.... I just googled for the title.

Reply to anon
Posted by: Concrened mum | 2010/10/29

Thank you for the response and the compliment. I really do try had to be a good, loving suportive mother, but it''s challenging when you have a child with broken wings! If I could have walked this road for her, I would have, just to make it easier for her, but then I''m sure any mother would lie down and die for their children. Thank you also Purple for the book. I''ve been looking or something for her to read, but haven''t found naything suitable so I''ll be at Exculsive today to try and find it. Do you perphaps know who the author is?

Reply to Concrened mum
Posted by: Purple | 2010/10/29

That is quite a worry for any mother who has been apart from her baby for whatever the reason.

At such a young age, babies just need care and aren''t actually too fussed about who it comes from. Separation anxiety only starts at around 4 months, so at this young age, baby is really quite happy to be held and fed and cuddled by whoever is doing that and hasn''t yet built up a special bond with anyone really yet, so will happilly go to your daughter and put up with her learning to care for him and they wlil build their bond together.

She might not know what she is doing at first really - but no first time parent does, and her baby really doesn''t know any better either, so they will be learning together.

The book - What to expect the first year might be quite helpful to her. I think it actually discusses separations from your baby as well as post natal depression. Its in a question and answer format and goes month by month. It kept me going in those really difficult early weeks.

Remind her that every day, things are going to get easier and their bond will grow stronger.

My mom and I are very close and she was separated from me for quite some time after I was born as it was a difficult birth and we both nearly died. It does come right with time.

Reply to Purple
Posted by: R | 2010/10/29

Also, Concerned Mum, you are a wonderful mother!
Your daughter and grandchild are so blessed to have you!

Reply to R
Posted by: R | 2010/10/29

This is not trivial at all!
She needs re-assurance on top of all this treatment she''s been through, and knowing that her baby wants her is important to her.
You have done the right thing.

Reply to R

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