It sounds horrendous for any new mother even to utter those words, yet for those dealing with postpartum depression, it’s a genuine emotion. You don’t really hate your baby, but you are caught in a vortex of hormonal imbalances and emotions. Making such statements like “I don’t like the baby” is a sign that you need help.
Understanding Postpartum Psychiatric Illness
When you don’t like your baby, there is a reason behind this thinking. Mental health conditions during or after pregnancy are lumped into a category called postpartum psychiatric illness, and more than three million women are diagnosed each year. The three conditions in this category are baby blues, postpartum depression, and postpartum psychosis. The baby blues are quite normal and don’t usually require any treatment to overcome. However, the same symptoms in this category can intensify, and it will require help to get through.
One thing that can make you declare that you don’t like your baby is depression. When the chemicals in your brain are unbalanced, you may be angry with the world and not just hate the baby. When you leave the hospital with your bundle of joy, they always give you a brochure that tells all about postpartum depression. You might glance through it, but the euphoric high from having a baby keeps you from giving it too much thought. However, if you suffer from this condition, the next few days, weeks, and months, can mean everything. The range of symptoms is vast, and everyone is different.
There is a fine line between anger and hatred, and if you don’t like your baby, then you need help. Saying you hate the baby is probably just anger at things that you cannot control. For instance, you cannot stop a colicky babe from screaming 24/7, and you cannot stop the tears that flow from your depression either. How serious is your problem? Ask yourself these questions to evaluate your hate for the baby:
- Do you feel like you want to hurt the child to make them stop crying?
- Does the thought of feeding or holding your infant repulse you?
- Do you feel like you want to take your life to end the responsibility to this infant?
- Are you able to get up, get dressed, and function as a healthy adult should?
Postpartum Depression: 21 Signs and Symptoms
Postpartum depression is like traditional depression with one exception. The hormonal and chemical imbalances that occur during pregnancy are the cause of this mental illness. It’s easy to identify a new mother that is experiencing despair. They may say things like “I hate this baby,” or “I don’t like my baby because it’s ruining my life.” Here are some other signs and symptoms of a mother that is in a depressive state:
- Feeling miserable
- Mood swings
- Crying continuously
- Not bonding with baby
- Social isolation
- Loss of appetite
- Binge eating
- Feeling angry or irritable
- Sleeping too much
- Not sleeping enough
- Fatigue that controls your life
- Avoiding activities you once enjoyed
- Saying things like “I don’t like my baby- I hate my baby.”
- Thinking you’re not a good mother
- Fearful of things like driving or leaving the home
- Unable to make decisions
- Panic and Anxiety
- Thoughts of harming yourself or your baby
- Ruminating on death or suicide
Don’t feel like you are the only one who has ever said: “I hate my baby.” It’s important to find out why you don’t like the baby. If the condition is depression based, then you can easily be treated with medication and psychotherapy. Balancing the chemicals in your brain, as well as your hormone levels, can make a huge difference. Some medications take a while to build up in your system, and some drugs can bring quick relief. Your doctor can find the right combination for you to ensure both you and your child are safe. You don’t want to continue with your feelings that you hate your baby long.
Though you hope that you may never get to this point, psychosis can develop with a severe chemical imbalance in the brain. With this condition, you don’t just hate your baby, but you may want to kill them. If you have ever had any thought about hurting your child, you need to tell someone immediately. Many people think things, such as “I don’t like the baby and want it to go away,” but they are too afraid to ask anyone for help. The stigma with mental illness, especially for new mothers, must be changed.
There have been several stories that have caught the media attention of mothers dealing with postpartum psychosis. Remember, Andrea Yates or Susan Smith? Both these women were suffering from a psychological breakdown after pregnancy. Their stories didn’t end well, and the media had a hay day with a subject that very few understand.
Mental illness is a tricky thing. In the instance above, there were some indications that things weren’t right. However, they didn’t make a declaration that they hate the baby, instead they felt they were saving the children by taking their lives. How can you tell the difference between depression and psychosis? The circumstances are always more severe with psychosis, and the person loses touch with reality. For instance, Andrea Yates was hearing voices and showing signs of paranoia, yet her husband didn’t know how to help. She didn’t say she had hate for the baby, instead her actions were done from her psychotic view of love.
It’s very rare that a person would get to the point of psychosis. It happens in about two out of every 1,000 women. Still, getting help early on can save lives. Most of the time when people say they hate the baby, they are just dealing with anger rather than psychotic thoughts. Consequently, if you ruminate about how you don’t like the baby, and wish they were not there, then you need to be evaluated.
Could Your Hate Stem from The Demands of Motherhood?
If we were to poll mothers of newborns, probably at least 75 percent of them would state at some point that they don’t like their baby. They may not vocalize it, but it was their run down being that was feeling the pangs of change. So If you hate your baby, it may not be psychologically based. Rather, bringing an infant into the home means upheaval. You won’t get to sleep like you once did, and you may find that you are running on empty most of the time. It’s easy to hate a baby that causes so much chaos.
The Child Is Always Hungry
You must find the reason behind why you hate the baby and then work from there. Is your child hungry all the time? A crying infant is one thing that will get your nerves in an uproar. It seems that breastfed babies are needier because they must be close and require one-on-one attention. You may feel that you don’t like the baby because you never have a moments peace. You long for just a couple hours of uninterrupted “me” time. It’s not that you hate the baby, it’s that they are demanding so much of your energy that it’s taking away from much-needed relaxation.
The Baby Cries Continuously
A crying infant is the cause of many cases of abuse. It’s easy to lose yourself in those few moments and make stupid choices. If you feel like you cannot take the crying anymore and you hate your baby, you need to get someone to help you.
It’s easy to say that you don’t like the baby when they are crying continuously, but you need to get to the root of the problem. Is the baby gassy? Is there an underlying medical condition? Is the food not sufficient for their needs? As you get better at motherhood, you will find that most of the reasons why you don’t like the baby are because of an underlying issue.
You can easily sense the cries that are based out of being spoiled and those caused by pain. A trip to the pediatrician can help you to find the cause for the excessive crying. You may see that the little one has become spoiled from all the attention, even if at times you feel like you don’t like your baby.
Reaching Out For Help
Never suffer in silence. Talk to your spouse, your parents, friends, and anyone who will listen to how you. If you have feelings that you don’t like the baby, then you need to get help. While you may be experiencing traditional baby blues, you could have a more serious condition that needs medication to stabilize. Remember, you are not alone on this journey. It’s estimated that one in seven women will have postpartum mental illness and having feelings that you don’t like the baby is one of the first signs you have a problem.