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Public enemy #1 – Anxiety

In Sippy Cups, I wrote a chapter about Love At First Sight. In it, I describe my relationship with Elby as a baby. I didn’t bond with her right away and I felt so many crazy mixed emotions including guilt that I didn’t feel the way I was “supposed” to-the way I’d read and heard that it should be between mother and baby. Recently, I adapted that chapter for a play called Motherhood Unplugged and after the reading I was asked to elaborate on when I actually did fall in love with Elby. Since that conversation I’ve been thinking about this bonding thing a lot.

In the book I say that “by six months I was her bitch” but that’s not exactly true. I look back and I see that everything I was feeling was filtered through a cloud of anxiety. I hovered over her, feared whether or not I was doing everything right, perfectly, cried over breastfeeding issues, and general felt bad. Anxiety is an underrated deterrent when it comes to bonding, falling in love, relaxing or even having rational thoughts. Anxiety makes you feel that what’s going on in the moment will always be going on hour after hour, day after day, month after month – which I know now is not true. But anxiety doesn’t allow much truth to pass through.

So, with Elby being my first baby, and having nothing to go on, at six months, I think I believed I was as bonded as I was going to be. I distinctly remember Elby as a tiny baby, before 6th months sleeping on my husband’s chest looking so content – like a photograph that I should have been in but wasn’t. Somehow I was detached – too busy worrying about what I should be feeling – to busy going through all the day to day feeding, bathing, holding, rocking etc. because I knew that’s what I needed to do to care for her. And I wanted to care for her as best as I possibly could! I wanted to do everything perfectly. So perfectly that I couldn’t relax. I always suspected that I was missing out on a lot.

Vicki Iovine had a line in “Surviving the First Year of Motherhood” where she described her friend not wanting to leave the house because she was too enthralled watching her beautiful daughter’s eyelashes grow. I wanted to feel that! Why didn’t I feel that? What was wrong with me? I wondered.

When Elby was fourteen months she fell ill and had to be rushed to the ER with severe dehydration. I was awash in fear. My husband was out of town and luckily for me, my brother and sister-in-law were there for me through every minute of it. The ER visit became a night in the PICU which became two days in the hospital. Elby was fine but I ended up finally realizing through the anxiety that wouldn’t go away that I had a problem. I finally realized that I’d been feeling nonstop low level anxiety since she was born and it took her getting sick for it to reach a point that I had to get help. I went on Zoloft.

It’s almost embarrassing to tell you this because I’m worried you will think that I didn’t love my daughter before this -and I did – in a petrified, overly responsible, primal mama bear way I, loved my daughter. But I didn’t enjoy having a child. I can see that now. When the medicine kicked in the waves of bliss finally hit me. The falling madly in love, want to “eat her face”, constantly smother her with kisses, hang on her every attempt at words, marvel in everything she does, thinks, feels…that happened. And it never went away.

Now, I have these twin girls – and no amount of Zoloft can take away the magnitude of anxiety that caring for three children (two, all of a sudden, at once and one who has a chronic problem) brings with it.

Saturday I had a fairly mellow day with my family and it gave me a glimmer, a peek, at how it can be, how it will be, when the anxiety finally wanes. I know I will eventually feel madly in love with these two just as much as with Elby. Right now, the responsibility is unrelenting and I’m just being honest. I wish I was one of the mothers I read about that feels content to just sit and stare at her offspring blessing every moment on the planet with them. Me, I worry and stab my thumb nail into the soft skin of the inside of my other thumb until it bleeds. Nervous habit.

I wish more people talked about this stuff.

Posted by Stefanie Wilder Taylor on July 28, 2008 6:05 pmUncategorized108 comments  

108 Comments

  1. Cheryl Lage said,

    You’re not alone. Anxiety gets me picking at my scalp ’til it bleeds. Sexy huh?

    All the baby-bonding propaganda we read pre-birth really does a number. Couldn’t even tell you when I finally came to grips with “holy cow, we’re connected” but I’m betting it wasn’t before 6 months. Nice feelings of inadequacy and self-doubt I felt before then…and times two.

    Thank you for being an honest, candid voice. You’ve reassured the rest of us greatly.

    | July 28, 2008 @ 9:16 pm

  2. Jenée said,

    I know this isn’t the same thing but I felt the same way about my nephews- there was an instant bond but it took awhile to reach the magnitude of love that it’s at right now. I’m guessing the sort of people who feel that bond from the point of conception are the types who believe “You can’t help who you fall in love with” but for some of us it’s not that simple.

    I think you need to stop reading any mothering material other than your own. I honestly think you sound more rational in your technique than most people and I’m sure your children will benefit greatly from that.

    | July 28, 2008 @ 9:33 pm

  3. pixiemama said,

    I know what you mean, and I wish I didn’t. I have a terrible problem with anxiety – and two children with special needs (plus two younger children without). I talk about it on my blog, but I feel like I need to have a public face that doesn’t show my internal terror. I feel like I live under a black cloud most of the time. I take Xanax every day, and still I have a ciderblock on my chest. It’s never “when’s the other shoe going to drop” it’s more like “when the hell are the shoes going to stop dropping?”

    Thanks for putting it into words.

    | July 28, 2008 @ 9:41 pm

  4. Undomestic Diva said,

    I didn’t enjoy my firstborn for until he was less of a baby and more of a child/toddler… and then I felt guilty. But the truth is, at least for me, is that having your first child is overwhelming. And right up until you had the baby, all you hear is the good, the fun, the excitement. Then you have the child, feel physically, emotionally and mentally wrecked and you can’t possibly savor the moments. And while I can’t go back and relive those moments, I did learn from it and made sure that when my 2nd came along that I tried hard to appreciate the baby part more.

    | July 28, 2008 @ 10:16 pm

  5. Aunt Becky said,

    There are some days I wish it were all so much easier. Like today. But there are others that remind me that I’m precisely where I should be.

    Anxiety is a damn bitch, and I hate her.

    | July 28, 2008 @ 10:28 pm

  6. reneedesigns said,

    Its funny how anxiety can mess you up, well not funny ha ha. When I was working all I cared about was spending time with my daughter. But now that I am home I get anxious a lot. I worry about her, about the house, about my husband and I never get to really enjoy things the way I should.

    | July 28, 2008 @ 10:38 pm

  7. Rachel said,

    I know what you are talking about and am glad you are bringing it up. I doubt many women admit to feeling this way.

    | July 28, 2008 @ 10:40 pm

  8. Backpacking Dad said,

    I can’t relate, but I can appreciate what you’ve done here.

    I wish more people would talk about this too.

    | July 28, 2008 @ 10:40 pm

  9. mam said,

    And when you throw adoption into the mix…today just you, tomorrow, instant family with terrified 10-month old! … oh, it’s hard. I didn’t feel love at first sight either, and felt enormous guilt and shame about it. A friend calls it “blogging the bad stuff” and I agree, I wish more people did it. I’m glad you do.

    | July 28, 2008 @ 10:50 pm

  10. Kia said,

    Thank you for your honesty! It’s refreshing to hear from someone else who hasn’t loved every minute of mothering and didn’t sit around all day wondering at the beauty of her child’s eyelashes. SERIOUSLY?!! Come on

    Seriously???

    Drugs have helped me to love being a mom a bit more, too, but also I just think it’s time. If you’re dealt a difficult baby or have even an “easy” baby, it’s still hard to see the good in it when you’re constantly on call like a 24-hour hooker and your boobs are leaking and you’re not getting paid for your hard work.

    Again, honesty rocks! Yours especially. :)

    | July 28, 2008 @ 10:54 pm

  11. Black Hockey Jesus said,

    I think a big problem with speaking about this is the mistaken belief that you can’t relate to your kids from multiple perspectives.

    So the bulk of what you read on the internet and in the bookstore is overblown drivel from the “My kid is my heart” perspective. And it’s usually overdone to protect the fact that it’s not the whole story.

    Yeah I love my kids and they make my heart swell. But they are also excessively needy, irritating, anxiety producing, and plus they’re rdue and don’t do shit to help out around the house.

    I’m not so much irritated by the fact of these multiple perspectives as I am by motherfuckers who hear me talk about ONE of them and try to define me as the guy who hates his kids because they’re rude. Yeah, I do hate my kids because they’re rude but not exclusively.

    I can love and hate and appreciate and despise all at the same time because I’m not a robot.

    Sorry about the novel. This is a hot button for me.

    | July 28, 2008 @ 10:59 pm

  12. www.ovolina.com said,

    I can so empathize. I remember being anxious when I was 5 years old, worried that my mom wouldn’t come back!
    I have always struggled with it – tried a million different things – but have come to the conclusion that I must be-friend it.
    Perhaps one day, not too far in the distant future, we anxiety sufferers will be able to sit down and be happy with our old friend anxiety.

    | July 28, 2008 @ 11:06 pm

  13. Rebecca said,

    Being a mum is a tough job. Being a mum with anxiety feels murderous. I struggle with this too so I can really relate. I often feel my relationship with my first born is quite damaged by my post-partum depression and anxiety. I hope not in a lasting way, but maybe.

    | July 28, 2008 @ 11:10 pm

  14. Middle Aged woman said,

    “I wish more people talked about this stuff.”

    What a beautiful job you have done of it.

    | July 28, 2008 @ 11:17 pm

  15. Mama Ginger Tree said,

    I was typing something long into “leave a comment” and realized that Black Hockey Jesus said it better than I could. Parenthood has been full of all kinds of emotions and traps I was unprepared for.

    I often feel guilty for getting annoyed with my kids or the feeling of relief when I drop them off at camp. Unfortunately my own mother is the subject of a lot of that guilt, but that is a post in and of itself.

    Thank you for posting this. You are quickly becoming my favorite blogger for posts like this one, as well as the baby orangutan one.

    | July 28, 2008 @ 11:39 pm

  16. Mamique said,

    Thank you for sharing your story. My firstborn was 7 weeks premature and completely took me by surprise! I know it’s selfish, but I was going to have a beautifully pregnant summer and it was taken away from me.

    When she was in the NICU I only visited once a day, sometimes twice and looking back I wish I felt differently, but at the time I really didn’t see the need to be there. She was well taken care of by the nurses and I always felt like I was in their way. Plus with a baby this early I had other things to take care of besides sitting there staring at a baby, precious as she may have been.

    With both my girls I didn’t truly start ‘loving’ (whatever that means) them until their personalities became more obvious (somewhere between 9m to a year)

    I’m done beating myself up about it (for now, lol!)

    | July 28, 2008 @ 11:43 pm

  17. shannon said,

    Delurking to say – you explained very well how many of us felt. I don’t think I realized that I felt that way until years after my daughter was born. We had a rough start with colic and nursing and the other usual suspects and although I would have told people I felt “it” at the time, looking back, I don’t think I really did. But I truly believe it doesn’t make me a bad mother. And just because it took time for me to fully understand and embrace and, dare I say it, FEEL that love, doesn’t make it less real or fierce. You know? I think you do. Thanks for writing this post. I really appreciated it.

    | July 28, 2008 @ 11:59 pm

  18. merlotmom said,

    Before I had a blog, I wrote piece after piece in my journal and for writing classes about that very feeling – thinking that I was supposed to be head over heels in love with my baby when, sure I loved her enough to care for and protect her, but otherwise I resented her. She took everything from me: my sleep, my body, my fun, my life. It wasn’t until she was 7 or 8 months that I was able to enjoy her at all. And when my second came along, I got PPD pretty bad, before it became all the celebrity rage. No one talked about it, no one recognized it, I (and my husband) thought I was a having a nervous breakdown. Having my kids, their first few years, were undoubtedly the toughest years of my life. I wish it were different. But it wasn’t. I’m glad you’re talking about it here. And, indeed, it won’t last forever. It WILL get easier.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 12:02 am

  19. CaraBee said,

    It’s hard to talk about this sort of thing because all the propaganda tells us that there will be this instant bond and if there isn’t, well then we’re doing something wrong. And who wants to tell the world that they’re doing something wrong. Especially with their child, this amazing and overwhelming responsibility. I suspect there are a far greater number of mothers who DON’T feel this immediate bond than anyone would expect.

    Thank you for being a voice.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 12:02 am

  20. Cheryl said,

    Thank you for sharing this. So often anxiety and depression are the secrets in the closet that no one talks about. If we can stand together and admit our struggles, we can remove the stigma of something that affects huge numbers of people.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 12:08 am

  21. Kristin.... said,

    You much more eloquently put into words what I’ve been yammering on about the last few days on my blog. There is something about the constant taking care of our children that puts the loving of them almost into the background. The worries, the diapers, the feedings, the tantrums. It’s enough to make anyone go a bit nutty. Or a lot nutty.
    I’m there with you.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 12:15 am

  22. Ms Picket To You said,

    i’m not even gonna look at the comments above (sorry peeps, i’ll go back) for fear that they might prejudice my visceral reaction to this: which is — you just perfectly described my first year with my first born.

    sigh. ugh. put knife in gut.

    my second and third did not arrive together but soon enough — firstborn was four when all was said and done — and in that crazy freakin’ rush of pregnancies and births and leaving a job and starting a business and selling a business and trading in my cool card for a Costco Card… well, she is about to turn 9, that first born, and I struggle every day, i FEEL it every day, that way i felt: not ambivalent but totally unworthy (maybe) of who she was and what she meant and how, HOW, i was supposed to feel about it.

    And too bad for me, the medicine came later, after the third was born and for a different reason (lawsuit with a contractor which had me huddled and homeless), but truth be told, it didn’t do much but stop the panic attacks.

    I have chalked those early feelings up to being a new mom (with no other moms around me; it was the music business after all) and a husband constantly gone. It was fear — fear of failure, fear of success, fear of perfection, fear of anything less than perfection. It was terror of fucking us both up.

    Sometimes, I want to grab that kid, that kid who just typing about right now is making my throat swell, and tell her, I am so so sorry. I didn’t know. I didn’t know that it wasn’t me (and I never thought it was you), but I wish I had given us both a break.

    Crap. Sorry for jamming up your comments. And thank you saying what you did. Guess I’m gonna need to write about this my own damn self.

    Carry on.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 12:16 am

  23. Mommy Melee said,

    I can’t even imagine how much of a struggle it must be to make a post like this. People expect mothers to have this whole thing down. And by people, I most mean people who are not mothers. Still, it’s so hard to raise our voices to our peers and admit fragility. Difficulties. Anger. Fear. Anxiety.

    You’re a brave, awesome woman. Thank you for sharing this. And thank you for the prompt to talk. For this dialogue to continue and to ripple out in some way that maybe we can all be a little more comfortable embracing each other during the hard parts and the not-really-funny moments where we genuinely feel like crappy parents or crappy people or just lost, confused, scared people.

    For the first few weeks of my son’s life, I bonded in a way that involved crippling fear. This fear is brightest in my mind in two incidents.

    The first: A hanging vase fell off the wall, somehow, randomly, a few feet from his bassinet when he was a couple of weeks old. I lost it. I couldn’t even stand. I cried and cried and cried and cried, thinking that I had failed him somehow by putting him in even the most nebulous danger. It could have fallen on him! Complete hysteria.

    The second: My husband took me to get ice cream when S was three weeks old. The parlor was less than a tenth of a mile away from my front door. We got there, I ordered my sundae, and then I sat at a table and bawled hysterically and shook until he drove me back home to the house and I could run inside and resume clinging to my tiny fragile kid.

    I didn’t enjoy motherhood until I let go of a fraction of that fear. But it’s still the defining element of motherhood to me. I know I’ll never truly shake it.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 12:21 am

  24. Lil Mouse said,

    i have to agree with you on this whole topic. i too, worry that i will not bond with my baby instantly and fast like some people. right now i feel kind of gushy (once the morning sickness is finally over) but i have some doubts as to if i will have an automatic awwww reaction, you know? i was even worried to try and get pregnant, even though my hubby was more than ready, because of this, i thought it would make me a bad mom, then i realized that i would grow into motherhood. thanks for being brave and conscientious enough to post this.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 12:45 am

  25. Troy & Tara Livesay said,

    I was mad when I found out baby number seven was coming (we had just adopted our third child and wanted to be done) — that anger spilled over and I felt less than thrilled with my newborn daughter … then, she got Meningitis (the deadly bacterial version) and we live in the developing world (read: BAD hospitals, bad medical care) — we almost lost her — those seven days in a Port au Prince hospital were some of the craziest and most difficult ever — and I realized I was not mad anymore – that I loved her and the bond existed in spite of the plan not being MY plan.

    Honesty is good. It helps us all.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 12:56 am

  26. zellmer said,

    It is so hard to enjoy them those first six months. My son is 9-months-old now and sleeping through the night, but I am still so scarred by the sleep deprivation that I can’t sleep without meds. I have anxiety over getting enough sleep, which I still never seem to manage.

    Another thing people never talk about is how hard this anxiety can be on the marriage, especially the sex life. Anxiety makes you a terrible spouse, and it makes you bitter toward yours at the same time. (At least that’s what I felt.) I am just now starting to see how things could get easier (I also have a 2-year-old.) Now they play together and its freakin’ adorable. That’s the payoff. But unfortunately you have to wade through a lot of shit to get there.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 1:17 am

  27. Marinka said,

    I wish more people talked about this stuff too and I’m so grateful that you did. There’s a paradigm of how we are supposed to love our children. I’ve heard mothers say that they always knew when their child was crying, whereas all cries sound the same to me.

    I know how crippling the anxiety could be. I sought out Zoloft when I realized that my kids going on a field trip without me didn’t have to be a paralyzing event that it was.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 1:20 am

  28. Mama Cass said,

    I think people don’t talk about it because they are scared they will be judged. You are so brave for doing it. I also think that the eyelash growing thing is great, but it’s based on moments. I think some of us are able to focus on those amazing moments that come in betweeen late night feedings and afternoons full of screaming colic…and some of us are so overwhelmed by those difficult times that the good ones pass us by. That doesn’t mean they don’t happen…that’s why, eventually, the bond forms against all the odds you see.

    I know with my second it’s been a tougher bond to create simply because I can’t watch her eyelashes grow…I have a toddler to chase after. It’s so refreshing to read something so honest, and in my mind, the fact that you have thought so much about this only shows you love your children emmensly.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 1:46 am

  29. Pearl said,

    I wish more people would talk about this too. There are some days that I do not feel that “motherly bliss” towards my child until I put her to bed for the night. And then of course I feel terrible about it.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 1:49 am

  30. Melisa@andbabywillmake4 said,

    I wish more people talked about these things too. I am so worried about not having that instant bond and to know that you can love but not feel bonded for a bit is a relief.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 1:58 am

  31. Anonymous said,

    I think you are my Oprah.

    This post just perfectly mimics my life. I am sooo ridden with anxiety. My best friend is not and although I know she struggles with motherhood at times like everyone, it’s nothing like the day to day torture that I sometimes feel like I am enduring. That’s not to say that I don’t love my 2 year old daughter obsessively and sometimes I just look at her and fall so in love all over again. She is at a great age and we can now actually have moments where both of us are having fun, which is great. But, at times my anxiety about it all can ruin the enjoyment that is supposed to be.
    WTF with all those books that say crap like that eyelash thing. I would literally read that stuff and think “seriously, does anyone ever really feel that way?”

    | July 29, 2008 @ 2:14 am

  32. Kari said,

    Thank you for writing this! I think it is so common to feel this way, even more common than the “watching the eyelashes grow” thing that society thinks we should feel. I learned very quickly after my first child was born that not everyone wanted to be honest about this whole motherhood thing. I have weeded out friends who stick to the story that everything is peaches and rosy and if you express any dissatisfaction or anxiety over your new child that it is something horrible. I just don’t have time for that kind of fake attitude. Anyway, I’m rambling now. Just wanted to say thanks for your honesty.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 2:29 am

  33. Surcie said,

    I think your experience is the norm, rather than the exception. I didn’t “enjoy” having an infant, either. I coped. And at some point, once we had cleared the infancy stage, I truly began to enjoy my son.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 2:51 am

  34. Janeabelle said,

    Hey, long time reader, first time commenting…

    I totally get what you’re saying. I felt the same way about my first child, like i was just surviving it. And then felt even worse about not falling in love with him immeadiately after I fell in love with my 2nd child the very first second I laid eyes on him.

    Motherhood is a bitch.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 2:54 am

  35. anymommy said,

    Really well written – anxiety, crippling fear, irritation, dislike. It is hard to find discussions about these emotions and I know others have to have them. It’s hard to admit to them I suppose, but you’ve done it beautifully and shown that they are not mutually exclusive with love.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 3:24 am

  36. Bridget said,

    I completely understand! I have 2 children and one more on the way. I’ve had the same problem both times, although I acted much more quickly the last time than the first time. I’m hoping to try to pre-empt all the post-partum crap this time. Will they let you leave the hospital on Zoloft?? :-)

    | July 29, 2008 @ 3:48 am

  37. Frankenberry said,

    Here’s what I read when I need a good laugh about being a mom:

    http://bestparentever.com

    It truly takes the edge off!

    | July 29, 2008 @ 3:53 am

  38. sarah said,

    Stephanie, maybe it’s the two glasses of wine I had with dinner, or the PMS, but I am bawling here.

    This was exactly my experience with Ethan’s babyhood and the guilt @ not feeling that instant connection with him that everyone raves about.

    I so appreciate you sharing this; I remember reading about it in your book when Ethan was a newborn and thinking, “oh thank god,” but it wasn’t quite enough to completely bring me out of my haze of anxiety and guilt.

    And when I finally shared it with my mom, she said, “I remember feeling that way about you, too.” I said, “I wish you had told me what to expect,” and her response was, “You woulnd’t have believed me.”

    I think she’s right; the romantic mythology of new motherhood is too ingrained in us. I could never have believed that I wouldn’t bond instantaneously with my baby, no matter what anyone told me before the fact.

    Even now I think, “next time, I’ll be more prepared, more relaxed and I bet I’ll fall right in love with the next baby.” See how quickly we can forget?

    | July 29, 2008 @ 4:11 am

  39. Jen said,

    I wish more people talked about this too. I look back at pictures of my daughter during her first few months and I think “I don’t even rememeber this!” All I remember is the anxiety and feeling so tired all the time and the worry that there was something wrong with me because I hadn’t yet fallen in love with my baby. I really thought I was alone at the time and I wish someone, anyone, had told me I wasn’t.

    Thank you for your honesty. I think this will touch more people than you can imagine.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 4:13 am

  40. nickisue said,

    I deal with anxiety every day. I am a single mother of a wonderful, bright, beautiful 4 year old. Seriously, she couldn’t get any better. I have been single and on my own pretty much since she was born and I keep praying for the day that I will feel completely and utterly in love with her. It comes in waves and flashes and I feel it and when it comes I rejoice but then it wanes. I, too, did not bond with her when she was born. I remember thinking how surreal it was and that I didn’t know if I loved her or not. I even remember thinking when they laid her on my chest “I don’t love you”. I just didn’t feel it like my mother said she did and like everyone else said they did and I was so scared by that and so ashamed. Of course I love my daughter very very much I just wish life didn’t get in the way so much. Im on zoloft too and it has helped a lot but the anxiety that plagues me, not only as a mother but as a woman in every aspect of my life, is still something I deal with.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 4:42 am

  41. Stefanie said,

    First of all, thank you for your bravery in coming out and talking about this with me. I know it helps not just me but many others as well. Nickisue, you are not alone! I tried to email you but your blogger account lists no blog. If you want to reach out, please email me at the address on my blog. You are not alone! Look over these comments! We’re all right there with you and you will feel it. There is just some stuff in the way. I promise.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 4:50 am

  42. Rachael said,

    You are so right – I wish more people would talk about all of this stuff. Anxiety/depression in general, but also how breastfeeding doesn’t always happen, postpartum depression/anxiety is so common, bonding isn’t always instant and that it’s freaking HARD and it’s not just you that goes through it. I think it would help so many Moms out there to have more support. Thanks for posting this!

    | July 29, 2008 @ 5:03 am

  43. Stephanie said,

    You’re such a courageous mama! What you do to your thumb, I do to my face. I love my 1-year-old with all my heart, but sometimes the day-to-day can be overwhelming. And then, just when I’m ready to call my husband and say, “get your ass home NOW. I can’t take it alone today!” I think about how much growing my daughter has done in the past months, and I feel ready to have another one! Am I possibly insane? Or do my ovaries just have their own agenda? I guess I just want another one to cuddle and love and help grow – despite the anxiety and uncertainty. You’re not the only one, and I admire you for writing about it so candidly!

    | July 29, 2008 @ 9:28 am

  44. Carolyn...Online said,

    I thought everyone felt this way about the birth of their first child. Simultaneously wanting to want to hug it and want to leave it on the doorstep. I never read parenting books because I knew they were crap. After my first was born people divided into two camps for me: people who were honest about their experience (love or hate or whatever) and people who were just saying what they thought they were supposed to say.

    I had to weed out those people, those polite people, those people I couldn’t be myself with. Now I have surrounded myself with people who I know are being honest. They love these little people, these little people make us crazy, these little people force our most base anxieties to full tilt.

    I love this post. I think being honest about what you feel and think and experience is the greatest thing you can do for yourself and ultimately for your kids. Because damn, they just won’t leave the house. 😉

    | July 29, 2008 @ 12:55 pm

  45. Karen said,

    Um.. I do that thing to. The thumb thing. And If I am really nervous.. with the edges of the pages of a book!

    And I love love love my kids, but not at all like you were talking about those other women as well. I think I appreciate how delicious they look…. But remembering how hard it is, is what I feel most.

    As a childrens photographer.. I love all kids eyelashes.. and the curve of their tiny necks.. and baby rolls.. and tiny toes really throw me over the edge.

    But my kids make it so hard anymore to want to snuggle them and breath them in and be up in their faces… that I feel an enormous guilt all day long every single day.

    (they are 13 and 17 by the way, and one is bipolar and the other is pissed about living with the bipolar one. so … lifes a beach at my house, you know!)

    I dont want to be “that kind of mommy” … either. that other kind. But Im not quite happy being this kind either. ;o(

    Zoloft made my hands shake so bad I dropped my $$$$ camera one day in a shoot. Havent found anything since that helped either.

    I wish more people talked about this stuff too, and Thanks for letting us here.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 1:15 pm

  46. HeatherPride said,

    When I had my first baby I thought he was so beautiful he took my breath away. Then my second one came along and I felt……nothing. It was a horrible, awful feeling – especially since I had felt so immediately bonded to my first baby. Guilt, depression, anxiety – it was all there. I’m happy to report that she’s growing on me now, after 4 months. But it was a rough start, for sure.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 1:37 pm

  47. regretful mommy said,

    I don’t know about everyone else, but to me anxiety is this big, crappy, misunderstood issue in our culture, so no wonder we’re frustrated that it isn’t talked about. I was told for years that I had depression. Turns out it was anxiety the whole time. I didn’t even know anxiety was something that could be treated! Took me 2 years to bond with my gorgeous, perfect son. Please media, doctors, and expert authors, stop telling us how we are going to feel and react with a new baby!

    | July 29, 2008 @ 2:03 pm

  48. Rachel said,

    I appreciate your honesty, which is why I have eaten up every single word from your books. I get what you are saying about the anxiety thing. I think I’m still feeling it to a point.. and my daughter is 17 months old. I still rush to her bed in the middle of the night to make sure she is breathing, worry that I am not feeding her enough, that she is watching too much tv, that she isn’t getting enough social interaction, etc, etc. When I think about it, I don’t know that it will ever go away completely because I will always worry about who her friends are, if I have taught her to make the right decisions, if she is driving defensively, etc. no matter how much zoloft I’m pumped with. Its the curse/blessing of being “Mom”.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 2:06 pm

  49. Anonymous said,

    I know exactly how you feel. Two days after the birth of my twins, my daughter had to have emergency surgery for a bowel obstruction. She was diagnosed with Cystic fibrosis at 2 weeks. I think I spent the first year of her life afraid that she was going to die if I didn’t practice constant vigilance. I really feel the anxiety I was feeling made it very difficult to relax and enjoy my babies.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 3:10 pm

  50. kelly said,

    My baby boy is seven months and I had the same feelings as you. Everyone always talked about this amazing bonding experience they had with their babies and I kept waiting, and waiting for those feelings to emerge. It’s overwhelming but your not alone.Anxiety is an evil bitch. Also, thanks for writing such funny books. Sippy Cups really helped me through some tough days.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 3:13 pm

  51. ChicMama! said,

    Once again, you write exactly what I felt when my son was born. This is so, so true of my anxious postpartum experience, and it’s what no one talks about. N was probably six or even nine months before I became truly attached. Now at two, I can’t take my eyes off him.

    I’m about four weeks out from delivering #2, and I’m hopeful that the experience is different. If not, this time I’ll try anxiety meds. I slogged it out unhappily and it took about 12 months for the anxiety to lift. I can’t afford to miss that much time with my family this go-round.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 3:54 pm

  52. s.i. @ YM5 said,

    My memory fails me as to what my feelings were with my first child, born almost fourteen years ago. I was barely twenty then and pretty self-absorbed and not very maternal at that time, I think. I adjusted, though, and think I did alright.

    Now I’m pregnant with my second child, and while I don’t know how I’ll feel once she pops, I know I’ve been feeling bad-mommy-guilt already. While I am excited to meet my baby girl, I’m also dreading that part where my life will be turned upside down, my schedule will not be my own, my sleep and me time will be at the mercy of the baby, etc., etc.

    I always feel like the Anti-Mom when I confess these sort of feelings. But it is what it is.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 3:58 pm

  53. Amy in Ohio said,

    The first few months of motherhood I contemplated running away a few times a week. I had convinced myself that my best would never be good enough and the only chance this perfect little creature had was with me gone. I felt so unprepared. I hated my husband for seeming to take it (parenting) on so easily and resented that he could run away to work when the going got tough.

    I was never homicidal or suicidal, but I was consumed by feelings of inadequacy and despair. Like you, Zoloft saved me and help make me whole again. It took a meltdown at my ob check-up to realize it, and thank God I had a doctor who saw the change and insisted on helping me heal. I have no doubt I would be somewhere very different without him. I should send him some fruit or something now that I think about it.

    I agree, more people talking about it will only save those souls out their floating all alone.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 4:07 pm

  54. Melissa said,

    THANK YOU. I felt like this, with my twins, I couldn’t possibly feel connected when I just felt like I had to work every second to keep them alive. I think I needed medication; unfortunately, I didn’t face up to that. Fortunately the girls are fine and have a wonderful dad.
    But thanks, thanks for being so honest.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 4:52 pm

  55. Coma Girl said,

    I think it is remarkable that you discuss this so candidly. I love reading these kinds of posts from mothers rather than the “my child is perfect, I am perfect, aren’t we adorable?” posts.

    Today I will be writing about how I took a portable DVD player to my daughter’s doctor appointment and she still threw a temper tantrum. I wanted to leave her there.

    Aren’t we adorable?

    | July 29, 2008 @ 4:59 pm

  56. rebecca said,

    Thank you for bringing up this topic. I can’t tell you how many friends have told me they feel guilty about not feeling a certain way about their kids.I don’t have kids but I have felt it too, about other areas in life. Finally, one day I decided you should never feel guilty about how you feel. You feel what you feel. Of course, this is easier said than done, and takes practice and patience with yourself (another hard thing!).
    Please ladies, never feel guilty about feelings. You never know what someone else is actually feeling, all you see is the outside, which looks “normal” (whatever that is), they may have the same anxiety as you, or something totally different.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 5:19 pm

  57. andreaaskowitz.com said,

    Oh, I feel you. I had that anxiety my entire pregnancy. I wasn’t an anxious person before, or if I was, it didn’t get so magnified until my hormones were so out of wack I could barely breathe sometimes. So I wrote about it, like you’re doing. My Miserable, Lonely, Lesbian Pregnancy is about anxiety and depression. Some people accused me of being a baby. And I was. I had everything I ever wanted. And probably so do you. But that doesn’t stop depression and anxiety. I wish it did.

    Thanks for talking about it.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 5:43 pm

  58. DivaDunn said,

    When I read ‘Sippy Cups’, I was so relieved I wasn’t the only one not blissfully in love with my newborn.

    And yet, I never questioned the fact that you loved your little ones. If you didnt love them, there would be no anxiety – no worrying – cause those are just loves way of popping out when we don’t feel in control of the situation.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 5:47 pm

  59. phonemom said,

    I think a lot of people think and feel like this but you’re almost afraid to talk about it. Everyone “knows” that you bond instantly with your little miracle and if you don’t then something is wrong.
    My son was born 11 weeks premature and although I would love to say we bonded instantly, the truthi si that I only got to hold him for moments for the first few months of his life. When we came home and added breastfeeding, sleep issues and all the crap that comes with prematurity? Thank God for my effexor! Who knows where I would be without it.
    My mother told me that she always loved me but that I was a difficult baby. She said she really got to know and love me when I was a toddler and getting into trouble. I think more mothers should be honest the way that she was.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 6:21 pm

  60. Amanda said,

    Word. I am the anxiety queen. I don’t think anyone can describe the anxiety that motherhood brings until you’re in it. I know I was shocked by it. You are definitely not alone, not by a long shot.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 6:27 pm

  61. Hot Mamma said,

    Actually I’m glad you put this out there. When I had my son, I didn’t bond wiht him right away. I think I loved him, you know where I wanted to keep him from harm and make sure he was healthy and cute. But, honestly I felt like I was his babysitter. Like I was caring for someone else’s child. I have no idea when I bonded with him. Somdays, seven years later, I don’t feel I have a strong bond with him…but that part might just be when his attitude raises hell. I think most parents fake it, not all, but most hide the real crap.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 6:35 pm

  62. Anonymous said,

    It took till my 3rd child that I finally understood the joy that some people get with children. As a parent, I finally relaxed into the mothering vibe, but it was a hard-won victory. Nobody tells you that motherhood might not be a natural fit, even though you’re adequate enough to keep a person alive through those first few years. Yeah, I diapered and fed them, but did I impart to them the comfortable-in-my-own-skin thing that’s important for mothers to show their children? Not for a few years. I still get angry sometimes that these 3 people in my house get on my nerves. Like they’re co-workers, or something. Ha! My job is to get them through childhood with a happy, healthy upbringing. Not always easy!

    | July 29, 2008 @ 6:41 pm

  63. thotlady said,

    You know, I feel the same, but about my dog. Stop laughing. I know some people think a dog is just a pet…but I am not one of them.

    My one dog, has had several medical problems this past two years…gosh has it been two years. I am not functioning on a normal level…whatever that is.

    I know one shouldn’t compare a dog to a baby…but believe it or not she is my baby.

    So, I obsess, worry, cry, fear, how long I really have with her, so much that I don’t really enjoy the here and now. And I want to enjoy the here and now…I really do.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 6:43 pm

  64. MereCat said,

    Oh girl, we could talk all night. That part about loving them but not necessarily able to enjoy them? that’s me. Twins are a shitload of work. I can’t do what my friends with one baby can do. It’s hard to enjoy for keep them safe, fed, dry, well, etc. Mine are almost 17 months now, and I am just now starting to enjoy them… as they head off to preschool! Halle-freakin’-looyah.

    In addition to twins, you have an older child, and one who needs a little extra attention right now. Hell, yes it’s hard. You are doing all you can to just survive. Bonding will come later, after the survivin.’

    | July 29, 2008 @ 6:54 pm

  65. Ali said,

    your honesty is so refreshing. really.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 7:38 pm

  66. Rabbadingy said,

    Stefanie- you truly are the best! Thank you so much for sharing this with us. It really helps.

    One thing my therapist said when I came to see her with PPD 1 month after my daughter was born was that the we should be proud that we can recognize these feelings. She has seen people (men & women) in counseling with 8 year olds who are dealing with PPD that was never addressed and subsequently repressed over the years.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 7:38 pm

  67. The Mommy said,

    Obviously, you don’t need one more person to say thank you, but thanks. I had anxiety as well after both baby #1 and baby #2. This is something I’ve always had to some extent, but it was AWFUL after the boys. For some reason, after baby #3, it wasn’t there. I never really thought that I wasn’t “loving” my children because of my anxiety, but I can certainly see that I wasn’t enjoying it the way everyone thinks they’re supposed to. Kudos for talking about an almost unspoken aspect of post-partum.

    And I love this blog!

    | July 29, 2008 @ 7:50 pm

  68. BunnyT said,

    THANK YOU SO MUCH FOR SAYING THIS! It is such a relief to know that I am not alone here. My baby, Sid (YES named after that Sid only with hopes of a much brighter future in Punk Rock/Heroin addiction)is cute, of course, but am I head over heels in love? Not so much. And this makes a very anxious Moms out of me.

    I read that Iovine tripe and almost threw up. Then I felt guilty b/c I didn’t get it. Then I had another glass of wine. Then I felt guilty b/c I breast feed. AND so it goes…

    Thanks for being there so I can see it is going to take some time and I won’t end up driving us off a bridge b/c I am so disconnected = crazy…although sometimes I really understand Moses’s mother and her decision to send him down the river in a cute little basket, I mean things didnt go so badly for him in the end! good thing I don’t live by a river…

    thanks again, I feel better and am grateful YOU talk about “this stuff”

    | July 29, 2008 @ 8:20 pm

  69. Kim said,

    I wish more people talked about this too, then there would be a lot less horrible feelings going around.

    You are a GREAT mother and a great WOMAN for talking about this and for being so honest.

    THANK YOU!

    | July 29, 2008 @ 8:57 pm

  70. jenn_playgroupreject said,

    I had two very different birth experiences between my first born and second born…with my first there was an instant connectedness…with my second I’m still struggling to feel more ‘bonded’ with her (she’s 8 weeks old now) and the guilt I feel that goes along with it. Feels so good to come here and read about you and these other moms commenting – to know I’m not alone.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 9:39 pm

  71. Stefanie said,

    I can’t believe that so many of you are responding to this. I’m always surprised that when I let out my innermost ugly thoughts and think “this is the time I’ll get a little judgement” the opposite happens. I must say, this is exactly why I blog! Thank you all for your brutal honesty back. It makes me proud to be a part of this sisterhood/parenting/blogger world.

    | July 29, 2008 @ 9:57 pm

  72. Anonymous said,

    I bonded and fell in love right away with my son, which I’m eternally grateful for. I knew then and I know now that it was a form of grace.

    I felt horribly guilty, though, because I was so tired I resented caring for him at times, and I sometimes took him to the babysitter just to get some sleep.

    | July 30, 2008 @ 1:28 am

  73. Jenny said,

    I love your blog! I have something sparkly and wonderful over on my blog for you! : )

    | July 30, 2008 @ 2:53 am

  74. Bryan said,

    Thank you for sharing your reflections about your experience with anxiety.
    We have just had our first baby. We don’t know exactly what to expect, but we are both jumping in with both feet.
    One thing that I can say about anxiety, is that apparent limitless advice from well wishers seems only to increase it.
    But what do you do? Family, close friends, healthcare workers. They all have their own ideas about what would be best for our little girl.

    At the end of the day, common sense appears to be the best approach.

    Best wishes

    | July 30, 2008 @ 5:42 am

  75. Shannon said,

    I don’t suffer from anxiety, but I still worry every day that when I raise my voice or spend to much time busy doing other things that I am damaging them. I think the guilt is a universal experience in motherhood. I can’t imagine adding anxiety on top of it, it must be really hard.

    For the record, I have never ever watched my children’s eyelashes grow and bedtime is my favorite time of the day. I guess that makes me a sucky mom. . .
    (hugs)
    P.S. we miss you guys.

    | July 30, 2008 @ 5:48 am

  76. Lil Mouse said,

    oh and by the way, you’re totally quoted (blog address and all) in my parenting magazine i picked up from the doctors office last week. i’ve been reading you for a while (before i got pregnant, even), but thought i’d share that you’re probably reaching more people than you know, and helping to shatter this myth of perfect motherhood that drives so many women crazy.

    | July 30, 2008 @ 7:34 am

  77. Neil said,

    I think that now that you have talked about this stuff, others will feel freer to do the same.

    | July 30, 2008 @ 11:03 am

  78. WickedStepMom said,

    I didn’t have my girls or even pick them out of an orphanage they came as a package deal. At first, it was tough, because I felt like an outsider. I would watch them with thier father as you would watch your child and husband and wonder where I fit in. The bonding took a long time and I had a lot of aniety about it. Now, we are thick as thieves but this post really made me think about the early days.

    | July 30, 2008 @ 2:10 pm

  79. RookieMom Heather said,

    Amen. I think that more people don’t talk about it because we’re all so busy barely coping with it to sneak away and find our voices and our audience. Thanks for sharing!

    | July 30, 2008 @ 6:22 pm

  80. Anonymous said,

    i have never left a message on your blog before but feel compelled to do so today….. you have totally nailed exactly the way I felt the entire first 9 months of my son’s first 9 months of life. Thank you thank you for sharing your personal thoguhts on motherhood. you have no idea how much it resonates with me!! Even though I don’t know you (although I feel as if I do … totally ate up your books in 2 days…. they are FANTASTIC!!! They are my new favorite gift to give!!!) I can tell you are a fabulous mother…… one of the best. Hang in there…. you rock!!! thank you for making me laugh… preggers for #2 due in jan and you make my naptime “happy hour” a blast!!!

    | July 30, 2008 @ 6:54 pm

  81. p said,

    Wow.. I’m glad I read this. Thank you for posting it!

    While I had enough confidence in caring for infants to not feel anxiety over having newborns/infants/toddlers/etc to care for.. I’m not experiencing some of that lack of attachment as a side effect of anxiety in other areas. I’ve never felt that way towards my kids (I have 5), and it’s really shaken me.. Perhaps I’ll have to post on this as well (though it won’t be read by nearly so many as you, lol).

    Thanks again.

    | July 30, 2008 @ 9:17 pm

  82. HB said,

    Thank you, thank you, thank you! Black Hockey Jesus said it best, I think, but your post was spot on. My daughter’s 4 and I’ve just now been able to get off the anxiety meds. I think the big reason why I want to have another kid is because I feel like I wasted so much of #1’s first year feeling so guilty and/or anxious about everything that I couldn’t enjoy her.

    Anyway, thanks again. It needed to be said.

    | July 30, 2008 @ 9:48 pm

  83. Arizona Albino said,

    You hit the nail on the head. We only talk about the things we think we are supposed to be feeling — the complete bliss and contentment, the gooey, inner goodness. No one ever told me, nor did I read about, the overwhelming anxiety I would experience and the countless nights I would lay awake fretting over my inadequacies as a mother. Thanks for talking about it.

    | July 30, 2008 @ 11:05 pm

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    | July 31, 2008 @ 12:09 am

  85. scarbie doll said,

    OK, a) I can’t believe some guy tried to get you to advertise or whatever in a post about your ANXIETY! Fuckers! I’m not opposed to ads, but this is exactly why I don’t have them on my site. I don’t want some fucking Norwegian Cruiseline ad next to me talking about going crazy.

    b) I also went through a similar thing and it’s so refreshing to read someone else’s take. You’re right, not many people talk about not being able to bond with their children because of anxiety. I have a whole section dedicated to Hysteria after my homeopath/shrink/guru (yes I NEED her) told my I wasn’t allowed to call it anxiety anymore. Whatever. Makes me think of Def Leppard and somehow that makes it better.

    For such a long time, I was so busy obsessing about death that I wasn’t really living. I was never present in the moment. Even now, mostly better, I have to fight the urge to let my mind go to the dark places. I have to be aware, conscious that I am with the children and I should be taking that in. It’s fucking hard.

    Homeopathy and talking to someone really helped for me. The meds eventually don’t work for so many women I know, I thought it couldn’t hurt to try an alternative. Placebo? Perhaps, but it’s tricking my brain into thinking I’m OK and I’m getting to enjoy my family more.

    Here’s my hysteria coming out party: http://scarbiedoll.blogspot.com/2006/06/shoulda-painted-my-doorframes-with.html

    Sorry for the blog post in your comments.

    | July 31, 2008 @ 2:32 am

  86. Vanessa said,

    I was so tired when my daugter was finally born after 36 hours that the first thing I said was “She smells like a hard-boiled egg.” (Well, she DID.) But the first thing I thought was “I don’t love her. Oh no! WHY DON’T I LOVE HER?” Well, of course the next day I realized two things: 1. I was BEYOND exhausted, and 2. I didn’t know her. Ever fall in love with someone you didn’t know? Of course not!
    You’re so normal it’s not even funny! Thanks for writing what you write!

    | July 31, 2008 @ 2:45 am

  87. iheartchocolate said,

    My experience is a bit different from everyone else’s here but I want to share it because it is relevant. My first child was at thirteen, I had no other responsibilities and had a very simple labor and birth. I had no other stresses in my life (no house, no husband, no other kids…) I was, instantly in love. I held her and smelled her until she was old enough to squirm away. She is now 17 yrs old and I struggle with these feelings you describe-with her NOW. Then, number two, (my oldest was 14) was delivered via c-section. I had the reference of the prev experience to know what I should feel. It took longer, I believe it was from lack of vaginal birth maybe and the hormonal changes that are supposed to happen after? I don’t know..but I still savored her. The THIRD, my precious son, I did not bond with right away. I loved him, knew I should, but it was like I was looking at a face (his) that I just couldn’t recognize. Almost like, I just didn’t know who he was, or that this was MY child. It was weird. I couldn’t wait to stop nursing him because I had a 14 mo old to chase and I just could NOT do both. He had severe colic I think, cried constantly…mostly when I held him, I thought to myself, “kill me, just kill me now” because he would not stop crying. It was very hard. BUT somewhere between then and now, we really bonded. He is about 17 mo now, and I am in love. Head over heels in love. I watch them both constantly, because I can’t get enough. I think back and have extreme guilt that I did not hold him like I did the other two. I really fretted that I made him TOO independant because of my lack of a bond, or pull that made me want to hold him much. I laid awake the other night with tears rolling down my face because I still feel so guilty about this. But after reading what you have written, you really help me have peace with the way things were. They were just hard, that’s it. I don’t have to feel guilty anymore, or like I gipped my poor son of a more attentive mother. I struggle too with depression and such horrible anxiety. I have to take something for each..but only started (again) recently. Man, do I feel better though. Someone above mentioned a cinderblock on her chest, I KNOW that feeling..it is part of me some days and it makes it hard to be a mother or a wife. It really does. Thank you for sharing this, I had NO clue I wasn’t the only one..I really didn’t.

    | July 31, 2008 @ 3:10 am

  88. RhoRho said,

    About once a day I catch myself being irritated, and sit back and watch them with adoration like the chick with the eyelash thing. For a second. And then Beck poops on the floor again (yes he needs to air out his junk lately).
    I'm getting a tattoo on my arm that I can see constantly to remind myself to be grateful and quit my bitching and enjoy them while they're such cute little f%&kers. We've all felt that way, you're not alone, as a gazillion mothers have probably told you!

    | July 31, 2008 @ 3:12 am

  89. RhoRho said,

    I didn’t mean I’m only irritated once a day, I mean I catch myself once a day! as if.

    | July 31, 2008 @ 3:14 am

  90. Miss Understood said,

    I have just spent an entire half a day going through your archives. Either I’ve got a serious problem or you’re bloody brilliant.

    I’ll let you decide!

    | July 31, 2008 @ 11:45 am

  91. Rachel Boldman said,

    I just had my first baby 3 months ago, and I feel like you are telling MY story. I, too, wish more people talked about this. It would make me feel better!

    | July 31, 2008 @ 4:27 pm

  92. Candace said,

    you write what I have felt, still feel and am continually trying to breathe through. I don’t think I was “normal” whatever that means until each of my kids turned two. And that just happened last month.
    Then I look back and literally feel like a complete basket case was raising my babies. But it was me.

    | August 1, 2008 @ 12:55 am

  93. jaime said,

    oh, Stef – your poor thumbs! I do the same thing, and Burt’s Bees cuticle cream rubbed all around the skin around the nail helps a lot…and it smells all nice and lemony, too.

    The happy pink and blue crap that’s published out there just serves to alienate REAL women who feel like you do – and all the other awesome posters here. I’m not sure if I will ever get to experience motherhood (I hope I do), but I know that I, too, will probably struggle.

    I am still nannying for that family with the twin girls, and I definitely agree – it is HARD work, and would make anyone anxious. You are doing great. Keep writing, blogging, connecting – there are probably so many other women out there who feel the same way and are too afraid to share it. We need more honesty.

    You go, girl.

    | August 1, 2008 @ 4:11 am

  94. Anonymous said,

    You should write a book! Oh wait, you did and I’m reading it!
    After my daughter was born I found out what a ball of exposed nerve endings must feel like.
    I have never in my life (except during my “Advanced maternal age” pregnancy) second guessed myself more than during these past 9 months. I was so busy being filled with anxiety about her all of the time to actually enjoy her and I wish I could have those days back. Thankfully now I feel comfortable and sort of confident with what I’m doing (and not doing)
    She is alive! and happy and healthy so I’m doing something right? right?

    | August 1, 2008 @ 3:13 pm

  95. Bree said,

    Thank you, Stefanie, for being so honest. I felt the exact same way when my son was born. I remember waiting for the gush of love to come over me when we were in the hospital and it didn’t. I wanted to take care of him and make sure everything was safe and happy in his life, but love? No. That took months.

    I remember during the first few months, people kept saying to me how wonderful I must feel, and how my life was so much better now, and isn’t it all I imagined it would be? And I always felt like crying when I was alone again, because no, damn it, it wasn’t everything I thought or was told it would be. I was so tired, couldn’t sit down for weeks from a horrible delivery, nursing was excruciating and I felt like I had dropped off the planet and the world was passing me by. I felt disconnected from my life and horrible for feeling that way. I didn’t want to admit that to anyone either.

    The worst was when I went to visit work when my son was a month old. Another colleague had just had a baby so I asked a co-worker how she was doing. “Oh, she’s wonderful. Everything’s going so well. Of course, she’s such a natural mother…” I almost cried. If everything was so great for her, there must be something wrong with me, right? I must not be a natural mother, so if I try harder, it’ll all be better…

    What fools we mortals be! It takes time to fall in love. My heart hurts I love my son so much. But it also hurts sometimes because he drives me nuts. Most parents won’t admit their real feeling for fear of being judged. I’m glad that all of us who have posted here can be honest.

    Thanks for making me feel better!

    | August 1, 2008 @ 8:18 pm

  96. tammiemarie said,

    Thanks for speaking so openly. I resisted taking Zoloft because let’s face it, I was irrational. I should have been taking it sooner. I felt too guilty that I even needed it to give it a chance. Fast forward, three babies in three years, and I am medicated and doing ok. And even better because I know I’m not alone.

    | August 1, 2008 @ 8:44 pm

  97. Her Bad Mother said,

    I had this EXACT experience, except that I went on the Zoloft more quickly. And now, with baby #2, I feel guilty because I went into it knowing that PPD might be a problem, and I was prepared, and so I’ve been better able to enjoy him in that ‘watching the eyelashes grow’ kinda way. I feel guilty because the feeling of love (not the love itself) came more quickly and more easily. I don’t know if I’ll ever shake that guilt.

    But every time someone writes about this kind of thing, it gets easier to talk about and deal with. SO thank you.

    | August 2, 2008 @ 1:46 am

  98. Penny said,

    THANK YOU! I went through the exact same thing and it was pure hell! I had been raised all my life with kids and I am a teacher for gods sake, so imagine my surprise when things didn’t click and I didn’t feel “bonded” with my son.
    I have been trying to get somebody to understand what it has felt like, but so far nobody really got it. My mom did a bit of course but not really. It is so nice to read about someone else getting it. And I think you are right, women definately need to talk about it.
    My son is now 3.5 months old and I finally felt bonded the minute he smiled at me for the first time heheh

    So yeah just wanted to say how much this post really helped me.

    | August 2, 2008 @ 7:55 am

  99. Raging Dad said,

    What a moving post. I am a dad who felt (and still does) many of the same feelings. I have been working up to posting about my struggles with depression and anxiety after my twins were born. I hope I can articulate it half as well as you did. Dads feel this stuff too. I am betting all parents struggle in varying degrees.

    | August 4, 2008 @ 2:45 pm

  100. Sally HP said,

    Okay, so I called my sister to read her the ‘turd on the head’ line and I had to begin 4 times to get through it. I REALLY appreciate that you’re able to take situations that are quite heartbreaking and use humor… I love reading your blog and your books!

    | August 5, 2008 @ 2:05 am

  101. Izzy said,

    Dude, I don't have twins but the anxiety? I'd rather die than have anxiety. People just don't understand how much you can torture yourself, especially as a parent, when the anxiety is peaking. And I did write about it recently (July 25 & July 27) so you know I'm feelin' ya. xoxo

    | August 6, 2008 @ 12:13 am

  102. Piccinigirl said,

    I wish everyone would talk about it, because it(the loving and the bonding ) doesn’t just happen and being Infertile didn’t help to alleviate any of the anxiety.

    thank you for this post, it has made me feel better than I had in weeks.

    | August 12, 2008 @ 2:46 pm

  103. Anonymous said,

    i have done this to both my thumbs since i was a kid
    they have weird marks now that wont go away and when i get manicures = they girl will ask what is wrong with them

    i’ve noever told anyone that

    | November 24, 2008 @ 5:58 pm

  104. eda said,

    thnks

    | December 22, 2008 @ 8:03 am

  105. Oekley said,

    If you are a victim of minor depression, it is possible for you to get rid of it with little effort but once you fall prey to serious depression, it may become altogether impossible to tackle this disorder without opting for medications. And among the medicines available in the market to treat depression, panic disorder and social anxiety disorder, Xanax and Zoloft are highly popular.

    | July 29, 2009 @ 7:03 am

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    You can buy a pair of Designer Glasses such as Police glasses,Chanel glasses and Levi's glasses or Alain Mikli glassesonline.

    | December 15, 2009 @ 6:54 am

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    # I appreciate your bright ideas in this D&G sunglasses article. Great work!

    # You have given us some interesting points on Alain Mikli glasses. This is a wonderful article and surely worth reading.

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    | December 15, 2009 @ 6:59 am

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