Not Enjoying Your Baby? What You Can Do
For months you looked forward to the arrival of your baby. You imagined the happiness and fulfillment and the wonderful moments with them. However, since the birth of your child, you feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and disconnected, which leads to worry and guilt. If this is your case and every day you ask yourself why you’re not enjoying your baby, we’re going to help you understand what’s happening to you.
First of all, you need to understand that you’re not alone in your feelings and that thousands of mothers discover that, after the arrival of their children, their realities aren’t what they imagined.
In some cases, this is temporary and easy to fix, but in others, it can be a major problem. Therefore, you necessary to identify the origin of the discomfort and act in time in order to be able to connect with your little one and establish a healthy bond.
“I’m not enjoying my baby”
Below, we’ll tell you some of the main causes that can prevent you from enjoying your baby. Keep in mind that, in most cases, there’s no single origin and that several of these factors come together to give rise to your overwhelming feelings.
This is one of the most serious aspects to consider, as it can cause serious difficulties in connecting with and enjoying your baby.
This condition is more frequent than you think and is suffered by between 8 to 25% of mothers in the world.
It’s characterized by deep feelings of fear, irritability, and sadness, which are accompanied by excessive crying, isolation, guilt, and sleep or appetite disturbances.
This is a critical situation for puerperal women and requires professional treatment to preserve the health and well-being of the mother, child, and their bond.
Outside the pathological plane, expectations are the most frequent causes of difficulties when it comes to enjoying your baby. Especially when it comes to new mothers.
Perhaps before having your baby you idealized motherhood or didn’t receive clear information about it. And now that you have to face the frequent crying, constant awakenings, and the enormous responsibilities that taking care of a child entails you can feel frustrated, overwhelmed, and cheated.
This is something much more common than you think, only that few mothers dare to express it for fear of being judged. Therefore, the unreal image of motherhood is perpetuated from generation to generation.
Saturation due to excess responsibilities
It’s undeniable that caring for a baby during its first months or years is a full-time job and can be exhausting. Especially if the woman also has to take care of the home, hold down a job, and do it all without help.
If you feel stressed, overwhelmed, and unable to fulfill all your obligations, it’s difficult for you to enjoy your child.
Women who have a personality that’s prone to anxiety tend to have greater difficulties adjusting to motherhood and enjoying it as a satisfying experience. And this is because worry invades every second of your life.
These mothers fear for the well-being of their child, for their own performance as mothers, and they need to exercise tight control over every aspect of life. And the excessive demand places them in a constant state of alert, which leaves no room for enjoyment.
The anxiety to overcome stages
Lastly, you may just need time to adjust to your new situation. The identity of a mother doesn’t emerge from one day to the next. Rather, it’s something that’s built progressively. In addition, it implies an adaptation on several levels, some that’s unthinkable before experiencing it.
If your baby’s only a few weeks or months old, you may still be in this process and haven’t yet fully tuned into your new role. Give yourself time!
What you can do if you’re not enjoying your baby?
In view of the above reasons, there are some steps you can take to reverse this situation:
- Adjust your expectations: Babies usually cry, wake up, and want to be constantly in your arms. It’s also natural (and logical) for you to feel exhausted or overwhelmed and even not know how to act at times. Try to lower your demands!
- Delegate and ask for help when necessary because you don’t have to handle everything alone. You can share the tasks with your partner, go to your family and friends, or hire professionals to help you. This doesn’t make you less valuable or a worse mother. Keep in mind that by reducing your load you’ll be more able to enjoy your child.
- Learn to manage anxiety and stress: There are simple relaxation techniques that can help you if you practice them regularly. In addition, the act of modifying certain thoughts and trying to relativize the problems can be very positive. Letting go of control is difficult, but we all make mistakes, and we must allow this to happen.
- Work on positive emotions, because well-being doesn’t come out of nowhere. To build it, make an effort to get involved in those tasks and activities that make you feel good: Go for a walk with your baby, sign up for a mommy course, or spend time playing with your little one. Getting into the habit of being thankful each day can also make a difference.
- Take care of yourself, as the first thing your baby needs is for you to be healthy and happy. Take a few minutes a day to take a bath and to enjoy your hobbies or your friendships.
Prioritizing your self-care is one of the best decisions to make during motherhood.
If you’re not enjoying your baby, you can ask for help
Finally, remember that there are professionals trained to teach you how to go through this stage in the best possible way.
Perinatal psychologists specialize in accompanying women in your situation and can help you solve some of your difficulties. Similarly, being part of a support group for mothers can be very beneficial.
In any case, take action in time, because both you and your baby deserve to enjoy this moment and lay the foundations of the important bond that will be formed between you.
All cited sources were thoroughly reviewed by our team to ensure their quality, reliability, currency, and validity. The bibliography of this article was considered reliable and of academic or scientific accuracy.
- Álvarez, A., Ponce, E. R., & Irigoyen, A. (2008). Frecuencia de depresión posparto en pacientes de dos clínicas de medicina familiar en México. Archivos en Medicina Familiar, 10(4), 133-136.
- Finlayson, K. et al. (2020). What matters to women in the postnatal period: a metasynthesis of qualitative studies. PLoS ONE, 15(4): e0231415.