Sometimes I Resent My Baby
"I know he's a cute, helpless newborn. Still, I sometimes feel resentful about having to cater to his every need -- nursing around the clock, constant diaper changes. And then I feel guilty for having these thoughts. Help!"
"First, take a deep breath and know that all of us have felt this way," says Patricia Hemby, a mom of two who lives in Amarillo, Texas. "It's so true," Dr. Saltz says. "Many women think that they should be filled only with love and joy for doing these things -- and then feel bad when they don't. But this is hard work we're talking about here! In reality, almost every mother feels some level of ambivalence toward [her all-consuming responsibilities]."
It also helps to look at the bigger picture, says Kimberly Harrington, of Burlington, Vermont, mom to Walker, 3, and Hawthorne, 15 months: "During one of my last childbirth classes, the instructor drew a big pie chart showing an 80-year life span and how much time we devote to school, marriage, work, and so on. Among the big wedges was a tiny sliver, colored red. This, she said, represented our child's first year. Her point: your baby is only a baby for 12 months, which is a very small piece of your life. That advice helped me put things in perspective when I felt overwhelmed after Walker was born -- and helped me not wish away the difficult moments. I would remind myself that the hard phases don't last, but neither do the good ones. As much as I wanted the sleepless nights, breastfeeding drama, and spitting up to end, I knew that when they did, all the wonderful stuff about having a newborn -- the fragileness and innocence -- would also go away."