Has anyone else experienced difficulty bonding emotionally with their baby after PPP?

Hi,

I wondered if anyone else has had difficulty experiencing close bonding emotions with their little ones following PPP? I've struggled with this since my little boy was born nearly a year aho and I'm not sure whether it is due to the condition or side effects of the medication I am on (aripriprazole antipsychotic and mirtazapine anti-depressant). If anyone has can they recommend anything that has been useful to improve things for them? Thanks

6 Replies

oldestnewest
  • Hi bluestarlady thanks for posting and well done for asking such an important question.

    I definitely found that it took over a year to feel confident in my bond with my first baby 8 years ago. It was hard when she would go to my husband for comfort instead of me. I worried quite a lot about our bond in that first year.

    Firstly I wanted to say it will come and your bond will definitely get more and more strong in time. Our eldest is 8 now and she is such a joy to be around, and tells me that she loves me all the time. It's like we never 'lost' that year.

    Secondly the practical stuff. I found things where I could hold my baby and be close to her physically really helpful. We did swimming but other mums have mentioned baby massage or baby yoga as being really helpful.

    If you are bottle feeding you can still cuddle baby really close, using feed times to chat to baby or sing nursery rhymes, whatever feels comfy to you. Cuddle up close when you read a story or look at picture books together. All of these things can help that physical feeling of attachment to grow.

    I also wondered if talking to someone about your feelings and worries could help? Some Children's Centres offer free counselling or you could chat to your health visitor.

    You have done so well to get through this first year after PP. Take good care of yourself and make time for you as well as time with baby. Hope this helps to reassure you that your bond can and will recover.

    Naomi

  • Hi

    Thanks for posting this. It's a really good question and really pertinent I think. This was definitely something I struggled with. I was lucky in that I was in a MBU for the first 3 months and the staff there really helped me to bond with my baby etc.

    I had a really good start and once I was out of the worst of the psychosis (after a week or so) I felt very bonded and close to my baby. but after about 6 weeks I went into quite a deep depression. I felt disconnected from everything and numb, and therefore felt disconnected from my baby too. I spent the majority of the first year (and perhaps a half as well) just feeling like I wasn't a good mum, that my baby preferred my partner, that my partner was better with him, could make him giggle when I was just a zombie and not able to really relate to him etc. I also felt overwhelmed by the responsibility. So yes, I would say I had problems bonding.

    Having said that I never felt that I didn't love him or anything, I always felt very bonded in that way, but I still couldn't enjoy the time with him, or have those 'rushes' of love in the first few months that mum's sometimes talk about. I know that some mum's with pnd and pp do struggle with feeling loving towards their babies as well, I think this is normal from the condition from just hearing people's stories.

    As my son got older it just got easier and easier. He is 2 1/2 now. As he got older it was easier to relate to him, and he was just really affectionate towards me, and shows me he loves me every day - and I can say hand on heart PP hasn't affected my relationship with him at all.

    What helped the bond? It's a difficult question. I think advice below is true - having cuddles, baby massage, things that help bring you physically close. I guess with young babies it is all about touch anyway. I would read books, go out and let him experience the world and would enjoy watching him looking around, talk about what was around.

    I am sorry to hear you are struggling with this, I am sure you will continue to get better, and the bond will grow.

  • Hello bluestarlady,

    I hope this helps; I felt overwhelmingly anxious for a long time after my baby was born. Even after being discharged from the MBU and months down the line. I was worried about everything, which affected my relationship with my little one. I was constantly worrying about scenarios that I thought were normal and that I couldn't imagine myself in (e.g. baking cakes with my little one ... I was so worried about the future) ... that I wouldn't be able to relax into motherhood ... the emotional side of it. But gradually the anxiety has lifted. I felt inadequate measuring myself against other mothers. But I had good friends who constantly reminded me how well I was doing. I was able to do baby massage, and also passed on my love of books .... Friends now say I have an amazing rapport with my son. Physical touch is so important, and developing a "language" of reassurance can work both for mother and baby/child. Little signs like a special handhold can help to build that trust. Every day you can build up ... I hope the bond continues to grow surely.

  • Thanks virginia and sunnyandwild for sharing your experiences and tips.

    Bluestarlady hope it helps to know you are definitely not alone in struggling with the emotional side of bonding. You mentioned your medication as well - are you finding you have a lot of side effects like tiredness? I remember I could sleep for England at first on my antipsychotic medication.

    I wondered if our Recovery Guide would be helpful for you. It has lots of tips from mums about things to help with bonding at different ages as well as managing medication and relapse planning. Here's the link app-network.org/wp-content/...

    All the best

    Naomi

  • Hi Naomi, many thanks for the link. I am not as tired as I used to be but am finding the ups and downs of recovery hard to deal with. My little one is ill at the moment which makes things doubly hard with broken sleep. Thanks for your support- it is really appreciated. Sarah

  • Hi bluestarlady

    Yes, the ups and downs of recovery can be so hard to accept! I remember trying to see my recovery as a mountain climb with some steep ascents where I would feel like 'the old me' and then shorter descents where I felt I was slipping but the overall progress was to the summit.

    Thinking of you lots

    Naomi

You may also like...