Ask a Dad Question

Guilty About Not Loving Baby










QUESTION:

I just had a daughter in March, and while things are going pretty well, there is a part of me that regrets having a child, and I'm feeling guilty for it. I’m 24 and feel constrained with all this new responsibility.

My wife and I were only married for a few months before this came about, so I feel like we never had our own time. I feel like I love my daughter, but in a “she’s my daughter so I love her” type of way, not the kind that is genuine, and I don’t know why this is.

Every time you see a father on TV or in a magazine its always “my kid was the best thing to ever happen, my life is so much better, etc.” and now I feel ashamed for not sharing that feeling… what gives?




ANSWER:

I am glad you wrote because most new fathers with a 1-2 month old baby share your feelings. The romantic “love at first sight” notion of new father bonding perpetuated by the media is largely nonsense and the best way to deal with it is forget about it. Let nature take its toll by just continuing to help take care of her – playing and giving her baths is highly recommended by the guys – and she will start  to smile and get excited when she sees you next month .

Babies are designed to steal your heart but not when they come out of the chute looking like a cone head or in the first month or two when they don’t do much except sleep, eat, poop and cry. Like most relationships, it takes time, and especially for men who do not have their babies growing inside them for nine months prior to them arriving.

Moms are hardwired to their babies and we guys have to build our relationships; the average new father reports that it takes 2-3 months to feel well connected and some take up to six months. Instead of feeling guilty or ashamed, you should take pride in that you are looking for answers so you can do your best for your daughter.

You love and miss your wife and want to have a strong, fun marriage, and this is not only a good thing, it is the best thing you and mom can do for your daughter. Let me know what you think.

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