I Think I Don’t Love My Child. Am I A Bad Mother?

Date June 10, 2019 14:41

We are used to thinking that a parent’s – especially a mother’s – love is unconditional, because this is the way it should be. After all, when planning to start a family, adults must be prepared to take responsibility, raise children well, and provide them with proper standards of living. And, of course, love.

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At the same time, many mothers sometimes catch themselves thinking that they don’t feel what they are supposed to feel for their child. They start blaming themselves because it is commonly believed to be strange and even immoral. After all, it is a sign of a “bad mother.” Today, she doesn’t feel affection for her baby, tomorrow it annoys her, and then what – verbal and physical abuse?

I Think I Don’t Love My Child. Am I A Bad Mother?Monkey Business Images /

Every now and then, the topic of a lack of maternal love is brought up on the internet. One user of popular forum Quora asked a question:

Why don't I feel love for my children?

Let's see how the netizens responded.

@David Urquhart:

So I have wondered if in fact a mother can feel her responsibility to care for her child so strongly, that it leaves little room for love. That might be an answer for some.

If a child is born out of a situation where a woman felt she had no choice, love may be impossible for her to let out.

@Patrick Copeland:

Love isn't something you feel, it's something you do.

You love your kids. You care for them, you spend your resources on them, and (here's the kicker) you want to feel that feeling that everyone and everything around you says you should.

@Kristina Kharebova:

It is normal. It only proves that it is not true that all parents love their kids unconditionally. The society makes you feel bad if you feel anything but love for children.

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In another similar discussion, users were more categorical.

@Sangam Van ‘T Sant:

Children deserve unconditional love from their parents. If you don't get much sense of fulfillment from tasing a child, why did you get children in the first place? This isn't an acceptable situation.

@Nan Jorgensen:

You should really get some help figuring out why you feel this way — your child is innocent and deserves better.

@Sehrish Saad:

Observe yourself first. Are you dealing with depression or any other related psychological disorder. If yes, consult with the specialist first. Usually, the feelings like these under depression may occur.

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Actually, parents can’t love their child unconditionally in the full meaning of the word. What would they say if he or she stole from them, hurt a younger brother or sister, was absolutely insufferable to be around, or developed an addiction? Mothers and fathers can’t take everything because of love. They should raise their children, instill in them certain values, and restrict and discipline if necessary.

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But let’s get back to one of the comments. Often, mothers don’t feel love for their children because of postpartum depression. It occurs due to hormonal imbalances, stress, fatigue, or forced social isolation. It is characterized by irritability, tearfulness, mood swings, and even the inability to care for the child, as well as dark, suicidal thoughts.

I Think I Don’t Love My Child. Am I A Bad Mother?Tolikoff Photography /

In most cases, a woman’s condition stabilizes within a few weeks after giving birth if it doesn’t develop into postpartum psychosis. This condition is manifested by hallucinations, delusions, the rejection of sleep and food, excessive anxiety, and thoughts of harming the baby.

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Sometimes, to cope with depression, medical help is required. But women should know: it is impossible to love children unconditionally 24 hours a day, as is expected by society. And by no means does this make a person a bad mother. After all, how does constant adoration compare with care and a healthy atmosphere at home?

The material in this article is for informational purposes only and does not replace the advice of a certified specialist.