Mother’s intuition


If I wasn’t there when he arrived, I’d think my baby isn’t actually my baby. It’s a popular notion that a mother and child are supposed to have some kind of magic woo-woo link, that enables the mother to know, from the other side of town, when her child is about to stick a fork in a power socket.

The psychic wi-fi between my son and I, is broken.

He starting tracking other faces at two weeks old…but he doesn’t track mine. He smiles at other people…but not at me. He’s interested in strangers…but not in me.

I was told I’d get to know the difference between his cries, being able to decipher what each one meant, but all it is to me is noise β€” his ‘I’m hungry’ cry, ‘I’m cold’ cry, and ‘I’m wet’ cry, all sound the same as his ‘I’m just testing your patience’ cry. There is no difference, to my ear. It’s just crying.

When’s the Mother’s Intuition supposed to kick in? Not only is my psychic wi-fi broken, but I seem to be actively unhelpful to him, albeit unwittingly. Knowing he’d been fed, changed, and was dressed warmly for bed, I’d told myself it was for the good of both of us that I ignored his cries through the wall as I resolutely stayed in bed one night, trying to go to sleep. There was nothing more I could do for him, after all. He was crying for no good reason, so he’d just have to cry himself to sleep. I thought I was being strong and sensible to leave him.

I was horrified after my husband went to check on him…and found that he’d vomited, and was lying cold, miserable and shaking in smelly wet sheets. And I’d been willing to leave him there for hours. Yep, a trusty psychic sense I have.

Babies bond more with people who show love for them, I’m told, than with someone who just meets their needs. So, have I brought his disdain on myself? After I’ve met his needs β€” bathing, feeding, changing, dressing β€” I often have no energy or inclination to play, sing, dance, read, or chat with him. Especially when the task of settling him after a feed takes so inordinately long.

Yesterday I was so distraught at the damage I may have been unwittingly putting on our relationship by putting him in his cradle straight after his maintenance and service checks, I let him sleep against my chest, in a chest carrier, as I did my non-baby-related tasks around the house. All the while I tried not to think of the censures of those who would say I was molly-coddling him now, when he needs to learn independence. (I’m coming to realise child-rearing is a community battle I cannot win.)

When I see my son appear to love everyone but me, I have to wonder…is Mother’s Intuition a myth? (Like the promise that I’d forget the pain of childbirth when it was over. A giant porky that turned out to be.)

How can I get my son to love me the way he loves everybody else? I must need a system upgrade to my thinking or behaviour, or both, because Timothy and I have a serious compatibility issue.


(3) Comments

  • Rachel Black
    23 May 2012

    My beautiful baby – he does not love everybody else. He is too young to love anyone (but himself). Probably, the other faces are intriguing because they are different. He will certainly feel more secure with you, and enjoy the warmth of your skin while he is feeding. Your day will come. At the risk of getting my face smacked, I will say “It is early days yet.” We all want to be the best parent yet we can’t learn everything immediately. You are doing amazingly well Beautiful. Hang in there! Just keep handling him as you meet his needs. You will be #1 (and probably one day when you want some space, wish you weren’t – haha).

    My goodness, he looks like his Dad there…

  • Me
    04 Jun 2012

    I know the feeling.
    I feel in love with my first child, when she turned 12 weeks old.
    I don’t believe I was depressed, I just wasn’t connecting with my baby.

    My second, I connected with him well well before he was born.

    I try not to let this guilt overshadow the way I parent now, but it’s been a process to work through.

    Much love x

  • Elise
    22 Jun 2012

    I started really liking Calliope only when she turned 1. The first 3 months I had her, I struggled so badly with breast feeding that every time I was finished (which of course took forever), I would pick her up like she was a dirty sock, hand her to Mike and say “take her out of my sight”. I wanted NOTHING to do with her at all. I was just lucky that as we were en route from Switzerland back to Australia, Mike wasn’t working for most of that time so he was around to help a lot.

    There were some nice moments between 3 and 6 months but she was still such a blob, and after that she got sick and it was back to the endless screaming again… and then she learned to walk before 10 months and started throwing tantrums…

    Anyway, my point isn’t meant to be discouraging, rather quite the opposite. It took a while, it really did. And I looked at other mothers who talked about how they just had this bond before their kid was born, or how they melted with love the moment they were born (me, I just looked at crazy purple Calliope and though WHAT IS THAT?) and felt a curious mix of envy and annoyance.

    But now – it’s ok. I still want to kill her at least once a day, but we get along. We get along really well (mostly), and I love her, and I know she loves me, and she is happy and active and outgoing – meaning, my dislike of her for so long, our non-attachment, and my own postnatal depression have not had any bad affect. I had been so worried about that, thinking, there was no way my kid could be happy given how much I loathed pregnancy and how miserable I was during that first year.

    So hang in there, and don’t feel bad, and don’t worry about your relationship yet! You’ve got enough on your hands just doing the meeting basic needs thing. It’s hell, I know.

    P.S. Moreover, I haven’t experienced any terrible twos. The terrible ones were pretty horrific, but the twos have been pretty smooth sailing!

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