How do I connect with my child?

Keasha - posted on 10/10/2013 ( 128 moms have responded )

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So I'm 24. I was married and we had a little girl and split up shortly after. I have never wanted children. Since we split up we each get her for a week at a time. I work a lot. especially at night so i don't see her much. i see her maybe 8-10 hours every other week. But the problem is that i feel bad because i don't really want to see her much. Itry and connect with her but i can't seem to get that lovey feeling towards her. I look after her and give her everything she needs or wants. but that's it. Am I a bad person for feeling this way??? I want to connect with her. I don't know if its because i don't see her much to begin with or what. but i just don't have that connection that i would like to. have. How do I connect with her?

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Carla - posted on 10/16/2013

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I have Autism Spectrum children and I have a BIG problem with somene referring to them as having damaged brains. Different is not broken! They are some of the most amazing people in my life and I don't know what I would do without them. Did they receive a little extra help here and there throughout school? Yup you bet! And as a result of that help they are able to go into the world as fully functioning citizens, my oldest graduate college in June! And I'm guessing that what was spent on my children and other such children in school is not much more than is spent for the sports and drama programs. The problem is not with my children, the problem is with a society who thinks all children should think alike. Some of the greatest and most creative minds in the world Einstein, Jefferson, Disney, Edison, Mozart are now believed to have been autistics. Acceptance is all they need and it's what we all deserve!

Kelly - posted on 10/16/2013

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Is it possible to change your custody arrangement to having her for less time, like a few weekends a month only? Then maybe change that to more when you would like to see her more. I don't think being around her more right now will make you any less resentful. I know my mom was not maternal at all (she even admitted it to me) and the house was less stressful when she was out of it. There's no point forcing someone to like someone else, even if they are blood. I still have a relationship with my mother, but I do not love her and that's ok.

Kelsie - posted on 10/16/2013

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Alexsandra I see folks like you all day everyday. Spouting things which you have no knowledge of. To inform you these children are not damaged you are for thinking and saying such a thought. There are new schools and "centers" as you call them that are opening up however most of these are a struggle for kids to get into because yes these issues are prevalent. For your information it costs a pretty penny to send your child to one of these schools and if you have 2 children who needs these schools its impossible to afford. Public schools are everyones right so get off of your high horse and realize your tax dollars are going more towards the military and little to none goes to our schools. The school my daughter goes to has to pay for everything using donation money and people that are ignorant as you are won't donate anything to help. I am trying to be polite as possible but you ma'am have got to learn to think before you open your big trap. You know nothing of the subject simply reading an article and it outrages me that you can just spread your ignorance around without corrections. People need valid information not a twits opinion. Your opinion is horrible and you shouldn't be able to have them often. People like you are why we have kids that need help and can't get it. Its people like you who have caused endless suffering for these kids and I abhore you

Kelly - posted on 10/16/2013

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Lots of good responses here. I am not sure how old your daughter is now but I am wondering about post partum depression which can linger for years. Exhaustion, stress etc can add to the distance you feel. Resentment at what you percieve as your lost youth. Whether you wanted a child or not, you have one and she deserves to have a loving, committed mother. Physical contacts, quality time together. Sometimes just slowing down. Really looking into her eyes. Really listening to her talk. Recognizing she is a person, not just your daughter. And get some counseling. Look for a daytime job that is more conducive to parenting. It is a great thing that you are questioning how you parent and reaching out. You obviously love her very much to put yourself out there like that. There are a lot of organizations that offer assistance to new Moms. Counseling, parenting classes etc. Good luck!

Julia - posted on 10/16/2013

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Naomi. Don't feel bad that might just be being a teenager. My mom and I have always been close and still are. But for about 18 months from 17-18 we were like you and your daughter. It is part of the process of pulling away from your parents to be you own person. Your daughter may come back to you if you are patient and remain open.

Dd - posted on 10/15/2013

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Just because you didnt want kids and have one anyways doesnt make you a bad person. Some women are not maternal. Its not how much time you spend with your child, its the quality of time thats spent together. Try and find out what activity or place or interest you both share and work from that. As youre child gets older, it will change. Soon there will be a time when your childs friends will be more important than you.....thats when they are never home or distance themselves from you. You arent that old yourself which means the two of you will probably enjoy each others company more when your child is an older teen. Good luck and dont be so hard on yourself.

Jane AJ - posted on 10/15/2013

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It is important to stay with her.
I'm also having a hard time to be with my daughter because I'm working mom.
So, I'm trying to stay with her despite my short time,
for example, I read the informative books for her.
It is my precious time to lie down on the play mat with her.
You can do a small thing for her.
I'm also sad for you to struggle against chilly heart for love.
Hope you are always happy because of mother.

Warmest regards,
Jane.

Naomi - posted on 10/15/2013

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I know exactly how you feel, I did not connect with my daughter at birth, the main reason was I because I was a scared, young mom who was not confident and had interfering moms who made me feel that I did not know what I was doing. I also did not come from a affectionate family, so I did not know how, my husband taught me that it is ok to hug and kiss your kids. I think that is why I do not have a strong bond with her. I love her, but I cant show her, however, I have had endless problems with her over the years. I think that it because I was not able to connect with her on that mother daughter level, this has been a contributing factor as to why she is the way she is today. You need to find the source of the problem, cause that little girl will land up resenting you in later years, like my daughter does. You are certainly not a bad person, just something happened that cut you off emotionally to you daughter, you need to find out what it is and fix it. I have learnt the hard way, my daughter is 16 now and we can barely talk to each other or even be in the same room for 5 minutes without arguing.

Elizabeth - posted on 10/15/2013

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As a working mom, I often feel the same way you do. I have so much on my plate that I have little time to bond, and I don't feel competent at it the way I see other people as. I don't know how to play children's games and sometimes the things I say seem too complex for my children.

Anyway, I think you're under underestimating your bond. A mother without a bond wouldn't care enough to ask for help. It takes a lot to expose our insecurities and ask a broad spectrum of strangers for help.

I've noticed that I bond better with my 5 year old, so I suspect communication is the trickiest issue for you. That will improve with time.

The day I I realized the bond happened was when I had a long day at work, and my five year old said, "It's okay, Mom. Do you want to lie down? I can get you some tea." I realised that she cared about me, my interaction with her wasn't about what she wanted or needed from me anymore. That will happen eventually, just keep your.chin up and teach her to express love. When she starts to express it to you in return, I think you will feel much better and happier about your relationship. She's just not mature enough to yet.

Alexsandra - posted on 10/15/2013

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Keasha, my heart goes out to you. Touch her!!!!! On your lap, sleeping with her, walking with her attached to your body using a sling--ANY contact.
These kinds of situations are tragic and the reason our society is so violent. Babies who do not bond end up with no conscience! YES, it IS that serious. Also, it is not your fault that you were not guided or given help to understand the ramifications of what it means to be a parent. Or, that nobody told you about nature's powerful bonding tools that have lifetime consequences ALL of us! I would weigh things out very seriously. IF you REALLY want to keep your daughter, remember, this is a relationship that will last your entire life. How do you want it? Are you willing to put in the time? How old is your child/baby? Touch and physical contact is the most important element for bonding--thee #1 thing! If she is still a baby, I would highly highly recommend placing your baby in a sling and start going about your life with her attached, do chores around the house, go for a walk, have meals with her on your lap, do your shopping with her, anything where you have some contact! Sleeping in the same bed, or at least the same room is highly recommended for her security needs. If this is bypassed, she, like other children who do not bond, will spend the rest of her life seeking emotional safety and security through all types of twisted behaviors. Violence, cheating, bizarre sexual needs, narcissistic grown up brats feeding off each other. Your child might not bond to a human, in which case, she will bond to material things like bottles, blankets, stuffed toys . . . until she grows and keeps looking for material things and others to fill the hole. IS THERE A GRANDPARENT WHO LOVES AND CARES FOR HER? Whatever daycare she goes to, instruct them to hold the baby so she can feel a human heart beat, breathing, etc. Others will probably tell you it is fine for her to cry . . . it isn't. Try to put yourself in your baby's situation. Feel HER pain. Maybe it will help you figure out what to do.

Wendy - posted on 10/15/2013

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Please spend more time with your little girl if you can and remember she needs to bond with you as much as you do with her. Remember, she will grow up and could be the best friend you ever had. Do some fun things together even if its just making cakes and making a mess! Take her to dancing lessons , go swimming or to a funfair or a zoo. What things did you like as a child? Make her feel special and loved so she grows up feeling confident and able to form her own relationships. Lastly enjoy this special time together now before shes a moody teenager who doesnt want to hang out with her mum!

Katie - posted on 10/15/2013

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I understand your feelings. My ex-husband told me that he felt the same way after we split and he didn't see our daughter as much. Basically I told him it doesn't matter what you do together, as long as you are together, interacting with each other. I don't know how old your little girl is, but I would suggest finding something you can do together (even if it seems small). Do a craft project, find items outside and look at the different properties (soft, hard, strong, etc), do mommy/daughter "spa" day (at home, paint nails, put stickers on them, etc). Don't worry about the feelings you have, it may just take time to develop that bond and that is OK. As long as she knows you are there for her, she will turn out ok.

User - posted on 10/15/2013

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I say stop thinking about your feelings and focus on your child's, you come 2nd to her. Remember that things won't always be like they are now, before you know it she'll be a teenager, if you don't put the effort into a relationship with her now, you won't have one when she's grown. Unless she has a very strong motherly influence to replace yours, she will grow up with feelings of not being good enough to be loved, she'll question peoples affection, test and push people away when they try to get close, this will spill into her everyday areas of her life. She'll struggle making and keeping friends, it will effect the person she becomes, you have the power to raise a beautiful confident strong girl, who will go on to make good choices for herself, and influence others in her life too, she'll make you so proud to call her yours. You're her mother you owe her the very best of yourself, there is no one more important, trust me, when you do let her in and love her what you get back will be the most precious gift you could imagine, your heart will always be full and you will grow into a much better person life will have so much more meaning , things you thought mattered now will seem so unimportant, because she will fill every area of your life with what makes life worth living, you will always have someone that loves you just because you're you. Don't give up.

Kate - posted on 10/15/2013

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At least you kept her and are trying to see her when possible. That says a lot. Lots of young people are not ready for a baby but mistakes happen. Hang in there. As you age, you may see things differerent.

Kristi - posted on 10/15/2013

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I just wanted to point out that as a preschool teacher I see many parents who are better at working than they are taking care of small children. That being said, it doesn't mean that at some point in the child's life they won't feel like they are more connected. Many parents that I have met, don't feel like they are connected with their kids until their kids are more able to fully communicate with them. You might have better luck connecting with your daughter when she's a little older. Don't let her go. be kind and loving and give her your full attention when you're with her, so that she knows when she spending time with you you're there for her and present. Also, don't try to overcompensate for any guilt you might feel by buying her things or bribing her. Kids are too smart for that.

Catherine - posted on 10/15/2013

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I would suggest setting aside a couple of hours a week to take her out and do something fun. Dependingon her age, it could be as simple as going on a walk to get out together and enjoy changing seasons, or maybe a lunch or dinner date with other moms, if you know au can tny. If she is a bit older, you can tailor the experince to things she likes, like taking her roller skating, or to a play or movie she might like. Then discuss the experience with her. Create memories and learn more about what she likes, and the bond can develop naturally.

Julia - posted on 10/15/2013

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Stacey, I don't think your advice is crazy. There are people who use work as an excuse to be out of the home, there are people who are workaholics and there are people who simply work more than they need to and it would be good for their family to cut back. There are also people who legitimately can't afford cutting back on work. We don't know where this mom fits in that spectrum. It is certainly something worth her consideration.

Julia - posted on 10/15/2013

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Amy brings up a good point. You can bond with your daughter by doing things you enjoy. Listen to music you like and do things you like to do. She will likely learn to enjoy those things if you start a young age. Having things in common will help grow your bond.

Amy - posted on 10/15/2013

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MY opinion is that you don't "want" to see her much bc there are emotions attached that you prefer not to have surface. I would say pray about it and ask God to give you more of a yearning to get to know her and definitely spend some of your time together alternating things she likes to do and things you like to do, to better connect and get to know each other.

User - posted on 10/15/2013

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Im sorry if saying to lose some hours at work sounded crazy. I wasnt meaning that at all. Its just I know someone who does work too much and they dont have to financially because a smaller amount of hours would keep them going and well off at that. I am not in the situation but some are and thats why I mentioned it, everyone makes different amounts of money. If people are able to do that kudos to them, but my point is just 8 hrs every two weeks isnt enough time with a child, but making time in other ways will help..
I do agree instilling a good work ethic is crucial, kids need to know they cant just get what they want when they want it, they have to work for it.
Tania I agree with your advice, it is helpful for someone who has been through the same thing

Melissa - posted on 10/15/2013

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Does she connect with other adults who could give you insight? Some children have a hard time connecting even with a full time parent. My seven year old just started connecting with me and others. He was in his own little world for a while. He needed me but didn't connect with me. I put him in Brain Balancing because he was also having trouble at school, now he is connecting with everyone better, especially me. She may also be putting up walls because of the situation. Time and reassurances will help.

Kelsie - posted on 10/15/2013

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Keasha I want to make my point clear to you. I hope my point didn't get lost in what I said because my point is you are at a dangerous point in your childs life. I in no way judge who you are as a person that is not my priority your child is. I deeply ache with each story of children suffering I can't express how it feels to see it in person. My plea with you is to please do whatever you are capable of doing to prevent her from being a victim of such suffering. The simple act of letting her go do something can get her hurt and if you don't have the motherlyness in you to judge each situation with protection then there will be a case where you think it is ok but it will end in hurt for her. Please don't think in anyway you giving her up means you are a bad person or that you are asking for help makes you a bad person. Please take it as it is a simple plea for your childs safety from a mom who can't stand to see it anymore. I wish I could take in all kids and critters and adults too that need safety but its not possible so my only chance is to make it as clear to you as possible so you can make the right decision. She needs an attentive mother and if you can't bond then attentiveness will lack. Don't let this happen I beg you. With all of my being I beg you to make the right choice and not let false hopes or false beliefs make you think that the reality is not there because my dear it truely is and it is something noone wants for a child. Best wishes to all involved in her life and keep your chin up and heart open and the sun will shine for you :-)

Julia - posted on 10/15/2013

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There are as many custody arrangements as there are families. I would be careful about framing custody as a fight or giving up a fight. People obviously have differences with their ex or they would still be together, but you don't want kids to be casualties if a fight or someone's desire to win just to win.

I happen to be a single mom with sole custody. But my son has one friend who the father has some custody and the mother sees the child on a limited basis. Another family we know the dad has primary custody, they live with him and the mother still sees the kids almost daily. The kids are just as well adjusted as any other single parent family I know.

Keasha, you need to decide what is right for you and your daughter. Maybe spending more time is right, maybe just giving it time is right, maybe a different custody arrangement is better. Keep in mind these one week on/one week off arrangement typically end when the child starts school anyway because it becomes too disruptive to school. So at some point a primary residence will likely be established, this is not the same as giving up custody. There are people all over the country with joint custody who are not also the primary caregiver or primary residence. I would not recommend giving up all custody that is a different issue.

But you do not have to be tied to societal expectations of "what is a good mother". A good mother can be many things and there are many models. Studies show the best mothers are happy mothers. You need to decide what works for your self and you daughter.

Of course if you decide that being a primary caretaker is not right for you that isn't how you explain it to the child. You tell the child how much everyone loves them and that it is best for them to go to the same home every night and because you work nights daddy's house is the best and safest place for her to be but you can't wait to take her apple picking (or whatever) next weekend and spend some girl time.

I think the back and forth is bad for kids and I also think the can feel it when you are ambivalent toward them.

Merry - posted on 10/15/2013

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If you feel like you don't care for her as much as you should then let her dad have her full time. And if that's too hard for you to do, then you have a bigger connection than you think.

Tania - posted on 10/15/2013

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Julia,
Thank you for the response. As I'm sure you've read, many of the comments posted on this thread were not only judgmental, but upsetting. After reading some of the comments, I was reminded of how horrid it felt to have to go through something like this alone because of all the narrow minded comments people make and voiced my opinion. I apologize if you felt it was at the expense of someone else's view or if it offended you in any way, but I simply stated my opinion. I'm sure apart from this, there's many views that you may find ridiculous. In my opinion, asking a mother to work less hours is ridiculous. She is already having trouble giving her child the connection she needs and is now having someone suggest she also risk being able to provide the basic necessities. It may not seem ridiculous to you, but that is your prerogative. You are entitled to that opinion. When reading some of the things that were said against her and her situation, "ridiculous" is on the complete opposite side of the spectrum.

Julia - posted on 10/15/2013

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Tania, it is praise worthy that you are working hard to make a great life for you and your son. It is AWESOME that you have been able to put together a life for you and your son that includes home ownership. You are well ahead of most if your peers in that regard.

However, everyone makes different choices and someone who recommends that Kesha cut back on work to spend time with her daughter is not offering a ridiculous idea. Different people have managed there life in different ways and made different choices. I would consider the benifit of posting in a site like this is that you can get many points if view and choose the one you think will work best for you and your situation or to take little parts if what a lot of different people say and figure out what works, maybe trying several suggestions.

So while i think your personal story is worth sharing and offering as an example if how one mom, you, faced a similar situation is a great help and adds to the conversation. I don't think it needs to do do at the expense of opposing views or calling others ridiculous.

Tania - posted on 10/15/2013

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Also, I forgot to mention custody. I know everyone has a different opinion, but having gone through it myself, my advice would be not give up your custody. You are her mother and she needs you. You will get there. There's nothing worse than giving up the fight. I can't imagine what my child would have felt if I told him that he was now going to live with his dad because his mommy was giving him up. I'm glad that we fought through it and we are where we are now. You're young and even though motherhood feels like an alternate universe, you will learn to appreciate it

Laura - posted on 10/15/2013

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You need not feel badly for admitting this--many well-meaning mothers feel as you do, and it's helpful to know that you're not alone in this. There is, however, something that you can do about it, and it's important for your daughter's development that you take steps to "bond" with her. No matter how hard you try to hide it, it's very likely your daughter feels the distance between the two of you, and if she feels unattached, it can lead to a host of developmental and emotional problems. There are many reasons why mothers don't bond with their children--illness, separation, maternal depression--all of which can circumvent the attachment process. However, these need not prevent you from getting the help you need so that you can bond with your child.

Attachment is a very important part of a child's brain development, and if a child feels unattached and un-bonded with their caregivers, it can cause a great deal of stress, and can actually slow a child's brain development--in some cases even permanently damage a child's brain. There are chemicals in your brain that signal when you are making a human connection--Oxytocin and Vasopressin are two--and there are things you can do, as her mother, to facilitate the release of those chemicals in both of you so that you feel closer. There are also other chemicals which dull the action of the "bonding" chemicals--cortisol, which is released whenever a person feels stress--puts the body in "emergency mode," and reduces all non-essential body functions--including bonding. Therefore, it is not only important that you bond with your daughter, but that you also do whatever needs to be done to reduce anxiety for the both of you.

Depending on how old she is, I recommend lots and lots of loving touches. If she's an infant, skin-to-skin contact is very bonding--take your top off and dress her down to her diaper and lay her on your chest. Babies smell wonderful, and while you are cuddling like this, take in deep breaths of her sweet baby smell--which is also an adaptive trait which allows parents and babies to bond. If she is a toddler, cuddle with her at naptime--and please consider actually sleeping in the same bed with her--there is something very comforting about hearing your child breathing or gently snoring through the night. If she is a preschooler or grade-schooler, there are also plenty of opportunities to touch and cuddle and caress. You can continue to co-sleep, as well. If you are uncomfortable with touch, you should meet with a family counselor regularly to overcome your discomfort. If your child is uncomfortable with touch, find less invasive ways of touching her--a pat on the head, a scratch on the back, "drawing" pictures on her back with crayons, a game of "This little piggy" or a high-five. Accompany all of these actions with positive words--remind her how special and loveable she is; remark on certain traits that make her unique, and also traits that you share with her "Your eyes are the same color as Mama's!" You have to make yourself vulnerable and open to your child. Don't give up; keep trying, and get help if you need it. Your daughter will repay you tenfold with a loving relationship.

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I would encourage you to make the most of your time together. Find something that she enjoys & do it with her. Or talk with her about what she likes. Just be with her & show her that you want to know her better. Sometimes mothers are not the nurturing kind, but if you look at the situation like a movie then it won't happen. Put yourself in her shoes. How would you want to spend time with an adult if you were a kid? It will work out if you put time and effort into it. Good luck! :)

Tania - posted on 10/15/2013

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Wow some of these comments are completely ridiculous.

Keasha,
I completely understand what you are going through. I'm 25 and I used to feel some of the same things you are feeling. When you try to reach out to someone or ask for some advice, you're seen as this horrible monster for not having that maternal instinct that every other mother around you seems to have been born with. Just because you do not want to be a mom does not make you a bad mom. I always said from the time I was a little girl until now, that being a mother and a wife was not the life that I wanted. I wanted to have a prestigious career and I knew that not only was I not good with kids, but wouldn't have the time for them that they deserved.

Of course a faulty condom changed all of that and I ended up pregnant at the age of 19 and I left my son's father when I was 23. I always questioned why I never felt that motherly bond with my son that everyone else seemed to just instantly have as soon as they held their child for the first time. Now let me remind you before you start bashing, Just because I didn't feel that bond, does not mean that I neglected him in any way or that I didn't love him. No one knows the relationship between a mother and a child so do not be so quick to judge.

Keasha,
It took me a long time, but I can one hundred percent tell you that I have a very tight bond with my son. He is the sunshine in my life. Do I feel like i acquired that motherly instinct? No. Some people are not meant to be parents, but that does not mean that they are bad parents. Do I still feel the same way about kids? Yes, but I wouldn't trade him for anything in the world. My son has everything and more than he could ever ask for. He knows that he is loved and he will be the first to tell you and anyone that is willing to listen that he has the "best mommy in the whole world, the best cooker, and he loves her with his whole heart." I'm not going to lie and say that it was easy to get the closeness that we now have, but it's worth it. He is four years old and even though he is still little, he understands much more than I thought he'd ever understand at that age. We try to discuss any issue we may have to start working through it.

I'm a full time working mom and a student so you can imagine how hectic my schedule is. Some of the comments about moving to a smaller place so that you won't have to pay such high bills and you could work less and spend more time with your children are absolutely ridiculous. I want to instill the same hard-working values in my son that my mother instilled in me. I am a single 25 year old mom and I just purchased a home this year for my son and I. I am the leading paralegal at this firm and I work as much as I can and as hard as I can, but my son knows that everything that I do, I do for him. He walks around the house and he knows that the rooms are his, the living room is his, the dining room is his, the rose bush is his. Everything I have, is his. The comments about trying to replace the time spent with children, with money and gifts are just as dumb. I work hard and I still make the time to spend it with him. I might get about five hours of sleep each night, but I still am able to spend time with my son and am able to provide him with anything he wants or needs. Sure, it pains me to know that I cant be there for him every waking moment because of work and school, but he and I both know that you cannot accomplish any dreams without a little pain.

You are not a bad person. You will get there. It might not be the closeness that you see around you or in movies, but just remember that it will be the bond that is right for you and your child.

Julia - posted on 10/15/2013

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Perhaps this has been said I only read the most recent comments. If being a mom isn't for you I'm curious if the dad is really into being a dad. If the dad is really into the parenting thing and your not have you considered giving him primary custody? A lot of dads just see their child every other weekend and don't have all week on alternating weeks. Who says that just because you are the mom you must be a primary caregiver? Maybe that would be a better custody arrangement for the time being and provide more stability for your daughter. Maybe maybe not. I don't know the whole situation. I do know being a good parent is doing what is best for the child even when it is contrary to your instinct or societies expectations of you.

User - posted on 10/15/2013

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For myself I believe and It doesnt bother me that it would offend anyone, because i know my God and He is my Savior, He is my life, There fore my advice comes from a God loving heart. I speak from my heart and hope that it may help anyone out there who will listen.
You have a right to your own opinion, everyone does. But if you have an opinion about any thing, the person next to you also has an opinion to say what they also believe in. Everyone has their own right and every one is different
Thats why this website is so great because in our times of need we can come here for advice from ALL walks of life, we need to appreciate and respect everyone's opinions.

Posting on this we are here to help. With that being said. If you Keasha Moore, have every made a situation better because of a changed opinion or decision you made, you know there is hope for this. If you want to be the best mother you can be, keep your head up, and do not stop trying. Stay positive and get as much support around you as possible. Make a lot of time for your little girl, and give it time, things will get better and you will find that connection, Have faith. Do what you feel is best for her.

God Bless

Sara - posted on 10/15/2013

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I was going to ask how old is your daughter? Is she a toddler and infant, is she 5 6 or 7? What you can do all depends on the age of your child. But first and for most I would recommend counseling, Obviously you are struggling with the fact you are young and not most 24yr olds have children, some do but a lot don't, and so you may be struggling with wanting to live your young adult life and not wanting the responsibilities of a child. You need to seek some counseling to help you rectify your internal struggles that you are taking out on your daughter. In the mean time, I would just encourage you to HUG your daughter as much as possible...cuddle with her, hold her. When you are spending time together if she is young enough let her sleep in the same bedroom as you, let her sit on your lap, give her lots and lots of hugs. At younger ages most of what a child needs is a parent that loves through hugs and holding them because that communicates with the child you want to be with them.

One of the things that counselors recommend to parents that are adopting a child is that once that child comes home (again if they are young enough, i.e. toddler maybe up to 5) is to let the child sleep with you. There is something about physical contact that helps establish attachment bonds. So if your child is too old to be sleeping with you and or to sit on your lap, give her a hug every time you see her, and then not just when you say hello or goodbye, but in between. You'll be surprised the type of feelings that may stir up inside of you if you commit to hugging her more.

And again, get some counseling. Work through your feelings with a counselor you'll be surprised how liberated you will become and then maybe that will open you up to being able to love your daughter more.

Heather - posted on 10/15/2013

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Keasha, I wish I could have had time to proofread my initial (LONG!) comments before posting them, as a few things there read a bit more awkwardly than i wish they did ... but I hope that the gist of what I was trying to say comes through loud and clear.

You need to be honest with yourself first about your true feelings towards being a mother ... and then forgive yourself if it turns out that those feelings aren't what everyone thinks you *should* feel once you become a parent. Next (assuming this is the case), you need to decide what you intend to do about it. That may mean counseling to sort out your feelings and become a better parent, or it may mean bowing out completely. Either option is acceptable, as long as it's what you truly want. If motherhood is genuinely NOT for you, you'll do more harm in the end trying to force yourself to create or maintain a bond that you do not want.

If your true desire is to be a part of your child's life, and you're more concerned because you can't seem to establish this bond within yourself and you genuinely want to ... then get the help you need to make that happen. There are resources out there, and groups here on Facebook that can help you find them.

Knowing where you truly stand will make it much easier to do what is best for your child, given the HONEST circumstances we're dealing with.

Good luck.

Kelsie - posted on 10/15/2013

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Heather very well put. Bravo! So well spoken and clearly thought out just what this woman needs to help her make a good decision. Bless your heart :-)

Heather - posted on 10/15/2013

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The larger question here is WHY do you want this bond now?

Now, before we go any further, I'm not judging you, but there are some serious questions that you need to consider here before you go any farther.

By your own admission, you never wanted children. That being said, I'm confused as to why you had one. Accidental pregnancy that you tried to make the best of? Deliberate choice you made to please your husband, hoping your feelings would change? This may be an important factor in what's holding you back here. Neither scenario makes you a terrible person, Keasha, but it doesn't seem that you stuck with what you knew was the better course of action for you where this pregnancy was concerned ... people like Michelle and Kelsie (as hard and uncompromising as they may sound to some) are upset that your daughter is now the one paying the price for that. However, since we can't undo the past, let's take a better look at the present.

I do not know who the child lives with most of the time, nor do I know how old she is. I would have a much easier time advising you if I did. If you don't mind providing that information, it would be immensely helpful and allow some of us to make our advice a lot more specific to your situation.

Moving on ...

The larger, and more important question, of WHY you feel the need to bond with this child at this point still needs to be answered. From the limited amount of time you're spending with this little girl to the fact that you seem to have no maternal inclination towards her (and do not miss seeing her when you two are apart) seems to indicate that your feelings about motherhood have not changed. That being said, are you trying to bond with her out of genuine desire for a relationship or guilt that you don't want one? If the truthful honest answer here is guilt and nothing more, then STOP NOW. No child needs to feel unloved or unwanted. It's one of the most harmful, damaging things you can do to a child. If you genuinely don't love this little girl, it will come through to her loud and clear, despite your best efforts and she will feel a lifetime of rejection from it. Again ... I have no idea if your child is an infant, a toddler, or what. Looking into postpartum depression as a probable cause of your problem here would make sense ... as long as the issue hasn't been that you never wanted a child all along -- in which case, I'm not sure that postpartum is the culprit.

Keasha, not everyone is cut out to be a parent and there is nothing WRONG with anyone who does not want to be one. You have made it clear that you never wanted kids, but that doesn't mean that your feelings could not change. As an example, I never wanted kids either ... and then got pregnant unexpectedly. My daughter (now 9) is the absolute light of my life and I've loved her with all my heart from birth ... but my situation isn't indicative of everyone who lands in my situation by a long shot. Regardless of how you feel about YOUR daughter, you still have an obligation to do what is best for your child.

If you honestly do not wish to be a part of her life, then don't take her for visitation for a week and leave her in someone else's care for all but a paltry 8 - 10 hours. If you don't want to be a part of her life, stop setting her up to come to your house only to be rejected over and over again. If you don't want to be a part of her life, stop trying to force a bond out of guilt.

If you DO want to be a part of her life, make her a priority. If you DO want to be a part of her life, get some counseling to sort out your conflicted feelings. If you DO want to be a part of her life, spend some TIME with her.

Not wanting to be a parent does not equal being a terrible person. Plenty of children have been placed through adoption into loving homes and grown up secure in the arms of a family that genuinely wanted and loved them. Plenty of other children have had a rough start with their mothers due to severe postpartum depression that got managed and things turned out wonderfully in the end. But plenty of other kids suffered when their parents didn't put them first ... and only you can decide what is truly best for your child here -- whether that means relinquishing full custody to her father and letting her live with him the majority of the time, making the time in your own schedule to spend some quality time with her (which you can still do, even if her father has her the majority of the time), putting her up for adoption, or simply bowing out and allowing her to have visitation with other relatives on your side of the family (your mother, perhaps) but not you.

Just make sure that you do what is best for BOTH of you ... and that starts with you being honest with yourself as to what it is that you want out of this.

Kelsie - posted on 10/15/2013

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Thank you michelle I have seen so many situations of moms who don't want to be mom and it almost always ends with the child being hurt. I am grateful to be a great mom to 2 kids who really need a good mom and I am saddened by those who can't see past themselves to be that mom that the child needs. Truely the saddest thing for any child. Thankfully we have a world of caring grandmas like yourself and I truely hope those are the folks who get the help that is needed. The children need the help more than a woman who needs to grow herself. Its too bad we don't have the good family structures needed to overcome this but either way it is truely a sad situation with a bit of light at the end of the tunnel with folks like you who still truely care about the children. Thankfully we still have you. Thank you :-)

Michelle - posted on 10/15/2013

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Its not being judgemental a child's future and happiness is at risk. It's about stepping up and doing what you have to and what is right

Michelle - posted on 10/15/2013

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Are you kidding me? You are so misinformed its ridiculous. The first 2 yrs of a child's life to establish a bond and form trust will shape who they become. If you're not ready to be a mom then don't have a child! Its not that hard

Michelle - posted on 10/15/2013

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Thanks Kelsie my point was I'm grandma and love him with all that I have as does the entire family but the reality us we're not mommy. Children need their mommies. He's a good boy and is doing really well. Just can't wrap my head around a disconnected mom hope you figure this out soon and it all works out.Being a parent is the toughest most important job you'll ever have. My sincere hope is the best for both of you.

Angela - posted on 10/15/2013

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I never thought about having another family member bond with her. What a totally awesome idea. I don't have family support so that doesn't enter my mind. Wow... great idea.

Jessie - posted on 10/15/2013

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The problem is probably that you don't have her all the time. Did you have prenatal depression when she was born? Are you naturally a bit introverted. Not a lot of friends normally? You have your routine and when she comes over she interrupts it and that bugs you.
If you really want to be a part of her life, and feel bonded with her you are going to have to spend more time together. She needs to be a part of your regular routine. Maybe you and the dad could do child care by the year instead of the week. She goes and spends weekends with daddy and the rest of the time with you. It might make her feel more stable. I think a lot of kids feel like a piece of postage being sent back and forth like that all the time.
Otherwise you need to find someone for the child who DOES want to bond. Maybe set her up with a sister in the Big Sisters programme. Have you got a female relative who lives nearby with a warmer regard for children.
Jessie

Angela - posted on 10/15/2013

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Oh and another thing... if you can find a cheaper place to live so you don't have to pay such big bills and work so much that may help if you want to be a part of her life. I will tell you... not sleeping at night...working way to much will screw anyone over. I just ask whatever you do think about it.

This one decision will change your life forever...

Angela - posted on 10/15/2013

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Wow some off the wall comments... I would simply go to some counseling and have a good heart to heart talk. Relax a bit... she's only 2 years old... and men often feel this way... usually because the mom gets to take care of the baby all the time.

In reality if you are serious about this it is best to step back and give up your rights as a parent. Only and only if you really don't want to see her. It's best to do it now when she is little.

No contact with her is better then feeling bad about yourself around her for not wanting to have here. If her daddy is a good daddy and loves her let her go. (((HUGS)))

Kelsie - posted on 10/15/2013

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Thank you Michelle for being honest about the dire situations that can come of such an issue. Thank you for showing the other end of things. My best wishes to you and countless other grandmas that are mamas again simply to save the child. Bless your heart and I hope you are able to be secure for the both of you. I hope you get the help you need when you need it so the child has what they need to grow proper and love proper. Best wishes to both of you :-)

Jeanine - posted on 10/15/2013

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Is there anything you both like doing? An activity that you both consider fun? I used to take my kids to the park, church activities, and on trips. It was a lot of work and sometimes they would have such a fit when getting ready for these events that I wondered why I did it. Yet I continued to try to make it fun for them.
I don't think you are a bad person. You want to connect which indicates the desire is there for love.
Maybe as she grows older the love will grow in your heart for her. Keep trying you have a good heart you just may need to open up some locked doors in that heart to let the love flow out.

Michelle - posted on 10/15/2013

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My grandson has a mother like you. You'll get no sympathy from me. This angers me that you young girls have a child then when you're done playing house you walk away from the child. I'm helping my son raise my grandson. The hurt and pain I see in him when his mom has made it obvious he's not her priority makes me dislike her more than anyone in this world. You should feel bad! You had a child, step up and act like one. This child deserves to have 2 parents that love her. Not just take care of basic needs. Love your child more than yourself!

Heather - posted on 10/15/2013

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I'm thinking if you do some soul searching and try to figure out what exactly makes you not "really want to see her much" you may start to either (1) get past what is holding back your connection or (2) be more clearly able to figure out what custody arrangement may be more beneficial for your daughter. HUGS

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