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I'm standing in line waiting for my lunch as a woman plays with her daughter, about 3. Her infant son sits cooing in his car seat in a buggy, cute as a button, chubby cheeks, all that good stuff babies tend to be known for. I smile that wistful smile that all mothers must. You know the one. It represents something I hate.

Regret.

I see the Avent bottles and I think "I should have tried harder." I should have breastfed my kids, despite everything else. Of course, these thoughts are easier when I'm NOT psychotically suicidal. I see the tiny hands, the brand new smiles, and I think, "I should have loved her then." But the truth is I didn't love Rosalyn then, and I didn't love Vivian at that age either. Love took a long time coming, like I was breaking in new jeans. I had to wait for the scratches to go away with time, and for it to become something comfortable, something barely noticable.

Nothing will haunt me more than the knowledge that I did not love me children for a long time, that I could not enjoy them, revel in them, as friends do, as our relatives did. I lost time I will never get back. They will never, ever be babies again. I will never, ever have babies again.

Am I defective? Being unable to love a baby, is that wrong? It feels wrong? I feel like some Roman mother who would have left her child out for the wolves to devour overnight. I feel less of a mother because I could not muster up that feeling, that slippery alien feeling, until lately. For almost the first year of both of their lives, I sincerely believe they could have been taken from me, and I wouldn't have cared.

Tell me it's only the PPD, and perhaps I'll believe you. Remind me that I love them to pieces now, that somehow, that love crawled up the stairs and slithered into my chest like it had always been there. Convince me that what I felt was normal, and real, and it doesn't make me less of a mother.

But it won't make me regret any less that I could never coo back at my own babies the way I can strangers.

Ironically the best advice I can give you actually comes from the "Dog Whisperer".

No, I'm not kidding.


He visits the homes of wayward dogs and their owners who invariably regale him with the story of the dog's horrible past. The first thing he always tells them is to put those stories out of their heads because they are in the past. And there's no point in living in the past because we're in the now. NOW is what's important.

See, told you I wasn't kidding.

There's no way for you to undo what's happened before. And if you dwell on what happened before then you might be losing precious time in the now. The NOW is where it's at. :)

If that makes any sense.

They say parents bond w/ their children differently and at different speeds. Like a late bloomer...you are jsut a late bonder.

I like Nicole's post. I couldn't have said it any better.

I will add a postscript, though.

You're a mother, whether you like it or not. Whether you're the best one ever or the worst, most neglectful one ever. Your kids will always try to love you until you've broken them they'll still try and then they'll try to do for their kids what you couldn't do for them.

You fall somewhere on the spectrum of "best mom ever" and "worst mom ever", just like the 99.999999999% rest of us. :) Love it.

Okay I'll tell you even if I can't convince you. Only you can do that.

Regret, of course. We can't get back that which is gone.

Guilt and/or blame. What for? If you had a physical illness, it wouldn't have crossed your mind.

PPD is every bit as real as any other illness. Not nearly enough is known and women suffer needlessly. You are not to blame for something beyond your control.

You adore your children. The regret may never leave completely but please let go of the guilt, stop blaming yourself, and enjoy what you have now.

Life is too damn short to waste a moment on what might have been.

Hi Thordora:-) Thanks so much for visiting my blog and leaving a comment...love "meeting" new people!! Of course, I had to come over and check out your blog and have read a few of your posts...I've found them very interesting and intriguing! As for this post, listen to what the others have said in their comments...you can't take back the past so live in the NOW and let the love you now feel for your girls thrive. All the best to you!!

Nicole, you have no idea how true what you said is. I try to remember, but there was something about that little boy yesterday. It brought it all back.

You're all right, and usually I know these things, but sometimes, I look at all these other mothers, and I wonder if they're faking it? Am I the only one who hated babyhood when it happened? It's never really talked about (hence MY talking about it)

Thank you guys. I'm trying my very best not to end up with a huge therapy bill for them in the long run. All these comments pretty much got me crying at 8am.

And Hi Pea! Welcome! I wish I could say I like Sudbury, but I don't. WORST bus station food I've ever had. :)

You can borrow mind when you get those 'baby missing' moods... Feel free!

I am still struggling with this same problem with my boy...he's 2 1/2 now...but for more than a year...I didn't bond with him. I liked him, wanted to love him, but couldn't..I hated my husband, my in-laws and everyone who thought he was just wonderful and that I was terrible for not being the most grateful mother ever. I wanted to be home with him for a maternity leave that never happened. That's what ruined it for me, and it still saddens me that my boy and I never got to have a special mom and son relationship...he's to this day dependent on his dad....he doesn't want mom when he's sick or hurt or hungry or tired...he wants daddy and that really hurts me a lot of the time....I love him now...too much...but I still regret the time lost and I despise it that I never got to have the relationship i wanted with him.

It only takes a few moments of observed external behavior that makes us reflect on our own internal behavior.

If you want to know if something is wrong with you becaue you don't feel a way you think you should, you should stop that train of thought.

Feelings suck, beacuse you can't measure them or really observe them. Don't think you are odd because you feel something you "think" other people are feeling.

If you ever want to see different behavior in you then subject yourself to something under someone elses ownership. The "other" baby is different just because its not yours, you know yours, EVERYTHING about yours.

Everyone loves my dogs, they think they are wonderful. But ya know? They don't wake up to them pissing on the carpet, they don't see their stubborn nature, they don't see that I walk into the house after work to see my furniture chewed to shreds.

The idea of "love at first sight" is a romantic construction. It's not real in sexual relationships nor is it real when it comes to motherhood.

I did not feel the strength of "love" when I first laid eyes on Baby Z. What I felt was overwhelmed. I came to feel love for her before we left the hospital. It came sooner w/ Baby H. It was not, however, an automatic response.

You can care about a child and not call it "love." It's hard to "love" anyone until you know him/her. It sounds to me like once you got to know your children, mesh with their personalities, etc. that you cultivated love. Better to create love with someone than to thrust it on your relationship, I say.

This could very well be an adoptee thing, you know. We don't need to get into all the specifics b/c I think you know what I'm saying.

Very brave of you to write this post. I bookmarked it when you did b/c I didn't have time to give it the attention it deserved. Sounds very profound now, doesn't it? ;)

choleric I actually love the allusion to the dogs, because there really is more common ground there than you think. And it's like I say to other people-I can cuddle yours, but give it back when it starts to ferment.

Eden Thank you for making me cry. And that's mostly it. I can't love things that don't love me back. Years of that taught me better.

Been there, done that, wrote the blog :)

No matter how crazy you feel, I guarantee someone out here will "get it." I'm one of the ones that gets it this go-round :) Glad to help.

Have you read Hillbilly Gothic: A Memoir of Madness & Motherhood by Adrienne Martini? (Its fairly new) The author is very honest and dryly funny about her mental health issues and motherhood. (After her first child was born, she checked into an institution). She's a damn good writer too.

Thanks for the recommend Karrie. I'm always looking for new reads, and I just got my first substantial tax return in years. :P

I have been looking for sites like this for a long time. Thank you!
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