A new mom’s secret: I’m jealous of my baby
Lauren (not her real name) was blissfully pregnant with her first child, enjoying her growing bump and attention from well wishers. But right after her daughter Emma was born, Lauren began to feel an overwhelming sense of jealousy towards her daughter.
Friends and family who used to dote on her were now cooing over baby Emma. People stopped asking Lauren how she was and focused on the latest baby news. When her husband came home from work, his first kiss was for the newborn. Even Lauren’s parents seemed to forget that she was around and turned all of their attention to baby Emma.
Lauren adored her baby and was thrilled to be a new mom, but inside of herself she felt cast aside and neglected like she didn’t matter anymore. As much as she tried to tell herself it was silly to feel this way, Lauren’s envy towards her beautiful baby girl grew. She became snappy towards her friends. Her husband got the silent treatment.
Lauren became depressed and found herself exploding into tears at awkward moments.
But who could she talk to? Who would understand that this baby girl she loved and adored was the source of her jealousy?
This issue is not uncommon. Prior to a child’s birth, moms — especially new moms — are showered with attention from friends and family. People always want to rub their bellies and enquire about their well being.
When the baby is born all eyes and hands reach out to the child and sometimes even the closest of friends and family forget to ask mom how she is doing. As a result, many moms become resentful or jealous of their child. This experience is particularly common with new moms who have no siblings and have always had the bulk of attention cast their way.
What Can You Do If You Find Yourself Harboring Jealousy Towards Your Child?
First of all it’s important to understand that you aren’t the only mom who has felt this way. Moms may not talk about it in fear of judgment, but many have had a similar experience.
Secondly, feeling this way does not make you a bad mother. Often new moms will jump to the conclusion that they are a horrible person because of their jealousy. Rest assured you are not a terrible mom; however it’s important to address your emotions and not let them simmer or grow.
Find a friend or family member in whom you can confide and talk openly to while trusting them to keep the information confidential. Often simply expressing the feeling and giving it a name helps ease the situation.
Journaling your feelings is always a good method of self expression and has proven to be a healing technique for many people. There is power in putting words to your inner turmoil and writing them out by hand on paper.
If you feel that your jealousy has the potential to get out of control seek professional help. Connect with a therapist, family doctor or crisis hot line for assistance. Most likely the root cause of these feelings are underlying insecurities, fears and negative thoughts which are triggering the jealousy. Dealing with these issues at their root will assist in eliminating the problem and prevent it from happening again.
Our mom Lauren, did work with a therapist on her inner most thoughts and once she dealt with the jealousy at its core was able to rejoice in the display of the love and attention placed upon Emma. Baby girl was happy and so was her mom.
Esther Bartkiw is a Holistic Therapist, Speaker and Writer. She specializes in helping people free their minds of negative thoughts, walk through fear and live life. http://changefromwithin.ca/