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Question
Posted by: Gail | 2006/03/31

lack of maternal instincts

For some reason I really wanted to have a child when I got to 30 but as soon as I found out I was pregnant I realized I had made a huge mistake. I thought about having an abortion many times but couldn’t go through with it as I thought it would ruin my marriage. I also thought it was not the right thing to have an abortion as I initially decided I wanted a child so must be responsible for the consequences of my actions. I am coping ok now that I have had the baby and he will soon be a year but I still sometime regret having a child. Will it be this way all my life? Regretting having a child? There are some happy moments but on the whole I am not enjoying the motherhood experience much. I am tired of all the bottle washing, nappy changing etc. I know that I must deal with my decision to have a child and do the best I can but it worries me that I don’t feel as much affection or maternal instincts as other people seem to. I don’t think it will help to see a shrink and it is too expensive. I doubt there is any medication they can give to make me feel differently. Fortunately he goes to crèche full day while I am at work which is just as well as I couldn’t handle having him at home all day. I am soon going to be starting another job where I work less hours and it worries me that people keep saying how nice it will be for me to spend more time with my son when the truth is I simply can’t cope with spending more time with him. The weekends when he is at home all day are hard enough for me. I really miss the days when I was child free and there is no one I can tell how I feel as they will just judge me and think I am a horrible person for not wanting to be a mother. I am sure there are other people out there who feel the same as me but are just to afraid to say anything as society expects us to love every moment of being a mother. I am doing the best I can to take care of my son as I don’t want him to feel unloved. I am not a cold person but I just don’t feel very maternal.

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Our expert says:
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You need to see a good local counsellor, Gail. You can work through these issues which are troubling you --- and there may also be an element of PostNatal Depression ( which, despite the name, can also be seen earlier in the pregnancy ). You seem to be giving up on the possibility that a shrink, counsellor or meds could help, before ebven trying that possibility. Excellent responses from other readers, here, too

The information provided does not constitute a diagnosis of your condition. You should consult a medical practitioner or other appropriate health care professional for a physical exmanication, diagnosis and formal advice. Health24 and the expert accept no responsibility or liability for any damage or personal harm you may suffer resulting from making use of this content.

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Our users say:
Posted by: Mother Hen | 2006/03/31

Oh, also wanted to add that you should read Sam Cowens book - Waiting for Christopher. I thoroughly enjoyed it. Had me bobbing my head like one of those little dogs you see in the back window of people's cars. She's pretty spot-on about pregnancy, changes in lifestyle, etc.

After reading the book, I would say it's accurate to say that there are a lot of woman that would never admit to not being maternal and loving every moment of puke, poop and disappointment, but you can't go back...

Reply to Mother Hen
Posted by: Mother Hen | 2006/03/31

Hi Gail
I don't often respond to messages on this site, but I do enjoy reading about all the goings-on, but your message certainly had me racing for the keyboard.
I just wanted to say, I feel exactly the same way as you do, and have so for the last four years and 3 months, but I say to myself every day - I learn to love my son every day. Some days are good, some are bad and through it all, I keep asking myself if I made the right decision to have him. Deep down, I can say yes, and that I don't regret a single day. I must be the most un-maternal kind of mom, but it's great.
Take each day as it comes, shout, rant and rave. It does make you feel better and you can laugh about it all when you get into bed at night, especially after a hectic day. Oh, and I'm a single mom, with no help from "dad".

Reply to Mother Hen
Posted by: Yello | 2006/03/31

Hello
How much time do you spend playing with him and not just looking after him? Have you thought of the talents and information you have to teach him. It seems you are so focussed by what you have lost you are not seeing what you have gained. He is a new person and you have to build up a relationship with him, you have the unique opportunity of getting someone to like you and love you for the rest of your life, just because he is your son. Yes the first year is tough, but believe me if you put in the effort to get to know the little individual you have created you will have a lifelong friend.

Reply to Yello
Posted by: Chelle | 2006/03/31

Motherhood is serious business. It's not easy for many women out there, and you are right, many women are too afraid to say anything. It's an injustice to other women that women don't talk about this often enough. We're expected to just have all these abilities and it's tough. There is no ways I want to do the bottle and nappy changing thing again. I never enjoyed it either, but it didn't mean that I never loved my children.

Make sure you take time out for yourself regularly, so that you feel more rested when you're with your son. I think at the moment you might be feeling some kind resentment because you're tired, and overworked, and it's hard to be extremely affectionate and maternal, when your own needs aren't being met.



Reply to Chelle
Posted by: Sad | 2006/03/31

Having a child is a HUGE adjustment & there were days in the first year that I also wondered if I'd done the wrong thing by having my Son. I missed sleeping in on weekends, being able to just party the night away without worrying about how much sleep I'm going to get etc.....
But, it DOES get better & as your child get older, it definately gets easier & they start communicating their needs better. I would say the first year & a half is probably the hardest & then it starts getting easier.

Do yourself a favour & watch "Little Miracles" on the reality channel on DSTV. Every time I watch it, I am SO grateful that my Son is in perfect health & doesn't have heart problems etc. I find myself more grateful every day that I have my little boy in my life - it truly is a blessing!

Reply to Sad
Posted by: SP™ | 2006/03/31

I am happy to see that i am not alone. I love my son to bits but there are days when i just feel if i didnt have him i'd be far financially and career wise. And based on that, i keep telling myself i will never ever have any more kids, one is enough.

i dont know if we are normal or we are just ungrateful bytches that dont appreciate what gawd gave us.

Reply to SP™

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