No maternal instinct: Am I a bad mum?

Am I a bad mum
In this article
Am I a bad mum?

Am I a bad mum?

We're always hearing that women are born with maternal instinct, and many new mothers can't help but worry they're a bad mum if they don't feel an instant attachment to their new baby. But the truth is, feeling like your newborn's a bit of a stranger doesn't make you a bad mum!

Bad mother versus perfect mother
Motherhood is supposed to be one of the happiest times in your life, but that doesn't mean it comes easy. The idea that being a mum is a totally natural accomplishment, fueled by something called "maternal instinct", isn't really true. We're not born mothers; we become mothers.

A lot of mums try to live up to the illusion of the perfect mother - and inevitably end up exhausted. Don't feel guilty if you have trouble communicating with your baby - you're not alone.

Motherhood concerns in figures
Out of 75,000 first-time mothers, around 10% say they feel uncomfortable about the future (on top of the baby blues, which affect around a half of mothers). But it's easy to forget this when you compare yourself to a "perfect mother" figure. As director of Parenting People and author of "Be A Great Mum" Judy Reith points out: "It's natural to want to be the best mum you can be, but when we create high expectations, it's also easy to worry more that you won't reach them."

There's no such thing as a naturally good or bad mum. Remember that being a mum doesn't come with a set of rules - although we sometimes wish it did!

With thanks to child psychiatrist Françoise Molénat and Judy Reith, Director of and author of "Be A Great Mum."  
Victoria Turk
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