Mothers who didn't bond with newborns say 'instant love' can be a myth

Mothers who didn't bond with newborns say 'instant love' can be a myth

New mother who admitted there was ‘no lightning bolt of love’ when her son was born wins praise from fellow mums who felt ‘nothing but numbness’ – and say ‘romantic’ notion of instant bonding is ‘dangerous’ for mental health

  • Novelist Libby Page told Twitter that maternal love for her four-week-old son had been ‘less like a lightning bolt and more like the gentle arrival of morning’ 
  • Post struck a chord with hundreds of mothers who said they too had struggled to instantly bond with their babies after giving birth 
  • Many said there was too much pressure put on new mums to feel an instant connection with their babies – and said such pressure could harm mental health
  • Others shared their own stories – with one saying ‘You wouldn’t instantly fall in love with someone you had just met in any other circumstance’

A new mother who has spoken out about not experiencing an instant rush of love when her baby boy was born last month has been praised for her honesty by other mothers. 

Author Libby Page gave birth to her son four weeks ago and posted this week that the love for her new baby ‘has arrived slowly’.

She told her followers on Twitter that she had assumed there would be an instant maternal bond and ‘felt sad’ when it didn’t arrive. 

Novelist Page shared the candid insight into her early weeks of motherhood, saying: ‘Four weeks old and I think I do love him. It didn’t happen immediately like I thought it would, which made me sad at first.’ 

Novelist Libby Page told Twitter that maternal love for her four-week-old son had been ‘less like a lightning bolt and more like the gentle arrival of morning’

She added: ‘Instead it has arrived slowly, less like a lightning bolt and more like the gentle arrival of morning. And I hope it will just get brighter over time.’

Page also said preconceptions about motherhood hadn’t turned out as planned, writing: ‘It’s been hard to adjust to the reality of motherhood versus all my preconceptions. 

‘One assumption I had was instant love. But I actually think this gentle type of love, as we both get to know each other, might hopefully become even better.’ 

The post saw hundreds of responses as others said pressure on new mothers to form an instant maternal bond with babies was ‘dangerous’ for their mental health.  

Many shared their own experiences of a love that ‘grows’ over time. 

@ECCMFL wrote: ‘I felt exactly the same after the birth of both of my children. Overwhelming sense of responsibility, yes. Overwhelming love, not so much. Romanticising women’s experience of childbirth and raising little ones is dangerous and needs to stop.’  

Page’s post struck a chord with hundreds of mothers who said they too had struggled to instantly bond with their babies after giving birth

@KathHolmes added: ‘Motherhood came as a shock to me, exhausting and relentless, not what I had expected or dreamed of. Over 16 years later, the baby that made me a mother is a ray of sunshine, funny, dependable and a friend as well as a daughter. She brings me joy daily.’

@NurseDickson penned: ‘You wouldn’t instantly fall in love with someone you had just met in any other circumstance, so it’s strange to me that people believe that it’s normal with a baby. Romantising motherhood is incredibly dangerous to the mental health of new mums!’ 

@LizSaunders4 added: ‘YES!! Absolutely this. I mean why would you instantly fall in love with someone who has just caused you significant acute pain?? I’ve had 3 and all of them have been growers.’

Previous posts by Page, who’s latest book The Island Home was published in June, have seen her discuss openly the realities of her new life. 

On July 10th, she wrote: ‘Thank you to everyone who shared their honest stories of tricky births. 

‘Some more honesty: I have the world’s cutest baby but am still waiting for that rush of love I was told would arrive. So many women tell me it takes time. And yet I don’t think this is spoken about enough.’

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