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Action on Postpartum Psychosis
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My daughter hates me

So I saw my therapist today and admitted (and I know this sounds awful) but if I could turn back the clock and not have had Ella then I would do it in a heartbeat. I feel utter rejection from her, she absolutely hates me. People keep telling me a child of her age doesn't know how to hate but she really does know, and she hates me. I can't comfort her, when she is upset I try to cuddle her but it makes her more upset. If I hold her she cries and tries to get away from me, yet she will happily sit on my step mum's lap for ages. She wants holding all the time but when I try she kicks out and goes stiff and screams so I can't even pick her up.

I feel so rejected by her, I only get to see her for one day per week and when I do see her or FaceTime her there's no joy to see me, no smiles and no excitement. She also hates my house, and will just stand and cry for hours and she doesn't do that anywhere else.

I feel so awful about it that I end up pushing her away, and want nothing to do with her. My contact is supervised by my dad and I find myself escaping upstairs when she needs anything as I can't face doing it, I can't face the screaming.

I've been having regular therapy with Ella to help me bond with her but my mental health has been so poor lately my therapist asked to see me alone for a few weeks and now I feel the bond has been severed again and I don't know how to get it back. Ella is 20 months now and I have memories from 18 months so I'm super aware she might start remembering how much she hates me and how poor our relationship is. I don't want her to grow up having this terrible relationship with me but I don't know how to bond with a baby that screams every time she's near me.

Has anyone else had trouble bonding with their babies? I've been told it's normal after pp to have low confidence around your baby and it's been 8 months since my last full relapse so I'm thinking I should be recovered and bonded by now. What did you do to help you bond? Will it just come in time or will she grow up hating me?

Sorry for the essay, it's been playing on my mind a lot xx

6 Replies

Hi sorry to here this.

I struggle to bond with my daughter after PP.

I am sore in time your relationship will get better.

I found swimming really helped me to bond with my daughter booked a weekly class at our local swimming pool. that way I went regularly and stuck to the sessions.

My daughter also enjoy walking so I will take her for a walk And this also made me feel better.

Baking is also grate fun, my daughter loves helping me lick out the ball.

Just give it time it won't always be like this keep making effort as it will be worth it in the end.

One day you Will be able to explain things to her.

Take care xxx


Just keep trying and don't give up. My son used to push me away when he was little and screamed at me. I just persevered and kept cuddling him and telling him that I loved him. My kids have both told me they hate me at times but we had to work though it together and work out why they hated me. A lot of it came down to them feeling unloved and rejected. Both my kids suffered because of my mental health and I had to explain to them as they got older that mummy is ill and I didn't mean to hurt them and I am really sorry. This made a big difference to my relationship with my children. They are the most loving kids any mother could wish for. I would suggest taking a bath with your daughter, play with her in the bath. This helped me enormously with bonding with my children when they were small. Baking with your daughter . Kids love baking especially when they get to stir the mixture and lick the spoon! Doing art and craft activities with her. You could draw a picture together or could help with sticking. You could cut up an old magazine and do a collage. There's lots of ideas on the internet. You could go swimming with her or go to a local toddler group or children's centre. Childrens centres are good as they can give you good advice on parenting, bonding, child development and many other things. They are there to support you as a parent and usually have lots of ideas to help you with whatever issues you are facing with your child.

Your confidence will improve with time. The best thing to do is not to take her rejection of you personally. Try to see it from your child's perspective and try and understand what she is feeling. It is hard for her too. She hasn't yet got the vocabulary to explain what she is feeling. Children of her age don't always understand their feelings either.

Another thing I would suggest is find a book on child development either from the library or from a book store. It will help you understand your daughter better. It might help you understand her stage of development and give you practical suggestions on what activities to do with your daughter that will help her to develop and in turn will aid your bonding. It will give you a sense of achievement and boost your confidence when you see her achieving a milestone in her development and you know you had a big part to play in it.

Time is a great healer and things will get better 😊 I hope I have made sense and have helped in some small way. Sorry about the essay, hard to write a shorter version!


I am so sorry to hear this, but I totally understand. Your daughter doesn't hate you. I had the same reaction from my baby as well because she was being taken care of by her sister-in-law. The issue is just the person that she spending the most time with is the person she has bonded with and knows how to get comforted by. It is not you, I repeat it is not you. Once you're able to be the person who spends the most time with her she will bond with you. I totally understand how you're feeling because I went through it also, but your baby does not hate you, even though I know it feels that way. She will bond with the person whom she spending the most time with. When that person becomes you, she will bond with you. She doesn't hate you, she's just doing normal behavior for her age, which is to be comforted by the person she spends time with the most and to be wary of people she doesn't spend time with. if you're only seeing her once a week, she barely knows who you are. Focus all your energy on your recovery so that you can become the person she spends the most time with. Once that happens she will bond with you again. I had the exact same fears. I thought my baby hated me. But that wasn't true. Everything changed when I became her primary caregiver again. always remember what's going on is she's just going to bond with the person that she is with the most It's nothing personal, it's just normal behavior. Hang in there. Focus on recovering as quickly as you can so that you guys can be back together again.


Thank you so much for your replies, it means a lot. Sadly my contact has to be supervised so I don't get to do much with her as there's always someone else around. And I have a 3 year old son too so he's always after my attention when I get to see him, so it's not easy.

I feel like I just want to push her away so it doesn't hurt as much. She's quite happy with her Dad, my dad and my step mum it's just me that she hates. I feel like if someone took her away I wouldn't be that fussed because I don't know how to deal with her anymore. Whatever I do she just screams and never laughs with me or even babble with me. I dread Fridays because I have to spend the day with her pretending that everything is fine and not showing how hurt I am by her rejection. I wish it could just be me and my son, because at least I know he loves me and will give me a kiss and a cuddle.

I went swimming with her at the weekend (supervised) and she kicked me constantly and hit me and wanted to be held by my dad. It felt rubbish, I feel like a total failure as a mum and my therapist said she views me as a stranger and a frightening one at that. I tried so hard during my time in the mother and baby unit to bond with her but it feels like a lifetime ago that we had a bond and now I feel like she is to blame for everything and I wish I hadn't had her. Which makes me feel awful for saying but it's the truth.

I'll try baking with her and see if that helps but I doubt it will, I feel like we're never going to be bonded and this is it forever xx


Hi Kats88,

Just wanted to leave you a reply as I have been in a similar situation. My son is 11 and has lived with his father since he was three and I only have supervised visitation due to very poorly managed bipolar disorder. It is much better now but those early days were terrible as he seemed so withdrawn and so much closer to his father than I was. I'm sure he was just traumatized by our separation and a year later things had improved. I noticed that he prefers spending time at his grandmother's house with me than to spend time with me at my own house. So I arrange to spend time with him there. I try to do activities that his father doesn't do, like cooking and playing guitar, so he has some special time with me. I want to encourage you that this will get better with time.


You have an uphill battle when you have a step mother and your dad who seem to be blocking you out. Young children can pick up vibes or comments about their parents - and if there is conflict with avoidance because of the difficult surroundings in their home -

there are all sorts of problems. It is going to take you time to rebuild your relationship so you have to be smiling and pleasant, even when you feel like crumbling. We have a similar experience with our grand daughter when we go away on holiday or to visit other family up north. It takes weeks to rebond - then we go off again. If you have the chance to meet in different surroundings such as in the park feeding the ducks - or at a ball play area - park with swings - with a picnic it might take the tension out of the situation.

I can't see why you can't ask step granny and granpa to visit at your home eventually.

It's a question of relationships with parents and kids - when you get these on an even keel

it will help you bond with the existing family. We all look back and say I wish things were different but to survive you have to adapt.


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