Delayed maternal instinct: what to do when maternal instinct is absent?
Even if you've always wanted a child, you might not feel a great deal of immediate affection for your newborn baby
. Perhaps the pregnancy
was difficult, or the birth
was tough. Maybe you're scared about this huge change in your life. There are plenty of reasons to feel a little distant, and they're all perfectly valid.
"It's hard to own up to not feeling a strong bond or maternal instinct
with your baby when everyone around you will expect you to love it instantly," sympathizes Reith.
But, she says, the best way to kick-start that maternal feeling is to look out for number one: "Look after yourself first - eat decent food, sleep whenever you can and get out for fresh air. All this helps you feel better in yourself, and more able to find space to grow a loving bond with your baby."
A mum inevitably feels guilty and worries that she's not up to the task if she doesn't immediately "click" with her baby. But our child psychiatrist reminds us that you're not alone at this time.
Other family members and medical staff are all there to provide support, and if you have a partner, he can take some of the pressure off your shoulders by helping out more.
"We're too often focused on the mother-child relationship
, but the father is just as important," says Molénat.