After my first baby I suffered from postpartum depression. It caused a plethora of issues, namely in regards to my ability to mother properly. This is why I didn't seek help right away, and also why I was positive my daughter hated me. But there are things that don't make your baby resent you, and suffering from postpartum depression is definitely one of them. One day, you'll look back, just as I have, and realize your little one wasn't capable of feeling resentment — they only felt love and adoration.
As a new mom I was unfamiliar with a lot of things. I experienced a range of hormonal explosions, physical and mental fatigue, and an overall sense of "what the hell am I doing?" right after my baby was born, and for the days, weeks, months, (hell, even years) to come. Caring for my newborn while living with undiagnosed postpartum depression (PPD) made me incredibly paranoid, too. I feared my baby noticed every wrong move I made, and one day she would hold me accountable for the mistakes I made.
Now that my firstborn is about to turn 11 years old, I see she's more capable of resenting me now than any time during her first few years of life. When she was an infant I truly gave her all I could, and at a time when I had no instruction manual. Now that we're nearing her preteen years (yay!) I have to let go of any regrets I may have, because wondering if she resented me as a baby is just unfair to us both.
When You Go From Breast To Bottle
I've been on both sides of the aisle here, and while I put everything I had into breastfeeding, it didn't work out for my baby and I. For a long, long time I held onto the dream of being a breastfeeding mom, so when I had to let that go I was sure my daughter resented me for "quitting." It was as if our relationship depended solely on that experience.
Once I stopped trying to nurse, though, we finally bonded. She never resented me and, if anything, I know she appreciated that I did whatever I had to do for the sake of her wellbeing.
When You Decide Co-Sleeping Isn't Your Thing
I knew the first night at the hospital I couldn't co-sleep. I envy moms who can, because it would've made my breastfeeding attempts a little more convenient. I'm a light sleeper, though, and I'm constantly battling to get enough rest each night. I was also afraid I'd roll over onto my baby, not sleep at all, or worse, fall into such a deep sleep from the exhaustion I wouldn't know if something terrible had happened.
It caused me great anxiety just thinking about all of it, and in the beginning, I thought my baby loathed being in her own crib and in another room without me. There were some growing pains from the separation, but ultimately I know it was best for our situation. If she resented me, she didn't show it. In fact, we all slept a little better when we had our own space.
When You Take Five Minutes To Bathe
I remember wearing the same stretchy sweatpants, every day for what felt like months. It's hard to find the time to do anything that doesn't revolve around a new baby, so even showering or taking a hot bath felt like a selfish disservice to my child. My mind was obviously playing cruel tricks on me because a shower literally revived me from the brink of insanity. I promise you — your baby will never, ever, in a million centuries resent you for stealing a few minutes to clean yourself up and take care of you.
Whatever You Decide On For A Diaper
My baby didn't care what she was in. She'd have pooped in the great wide open if I'd let her. I always felt a twinge of guilt for making silky mom decisions (such as buying baby food as opposed to making it from scratch, or using formula instead of breastfeeding, or using disposable diapers instead of cloth) because I thought being home with my new baby meant I had to be superhuman and devote every single second of my time to my daughter. I though she would resent me for taking "easy" (read: convenient) paths through parenting, but in the end she didn't notice.
When You Go On A Date With Your Partner
Making regular time for my partner was one of the hardest things to do after our baby was born. All of the sudden I had to flip the "mom" switch off, the "partner" switch on, and after a long day spent keeping another human being alive.
I thought of my daughter the entire time when my partner and I finally had our first official date night out, hoping she wouldn't remember me leaving her. If I could go back and change things, it'd be that she does remember us going on dates and modeling what a healthy relationship looks like.
When You Make Self-Care A Priority
Years passed before I realized self-care isn't selfish — it's necessity. If I didn't have my daily run, for example, I wouldn't function properly. My kids know this now, but when my daughter was a baby I never took the time to care for myself because I didn't want her to resent me for taking that time away from her. In reality, of course, the opposite is true. A happy mom makes a happy baby.
When You Suffer From Postpartum Depression
Postpartum depression is nothing to mess around with. In retrospect, I wish I'd gotten the help I needed sooner. Maybe then I'd have seen things as they actually were, instead of how I falsely perceived them to be. My baby didn't resent me for feeling so low, just like she didn't resent me for making time to care for myself so I could get better. Now that we're long past those days, she doesn't even remember any of it.
If you're going through similar times, afraid to do certain things as a new mom, trust me when I say it's a passing season that has no effect on your baby's early memories of you. All they know is that you feed, clothe them, change them, and love them. In other words, you're doing great.