Mums, don't beat yourself up for not bonding with your baby

May 12, 2016 at 7:00 a.m. ET
Image: El Pics/Getty Images Entertainment

When a woman becomes a mom for the first time, the best way to figure out what the heck is going on is to ask questions. If there's not a group of other new moms to talk to, the next best thing is to log on and find a forum of new best friends who are in exactly the same position. Possibly trying to soothe a screaming tot at 3 a.m. and thinking, "Is this normal?"

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Motherhood also instantly throws a whole bunch of topics into conversations that would be strictly off the table in the pre-baby years. Every bodily function (both mum and baby) is discussed and analysed.

But not everything is widely spoken about. New mothers are more than happy to share their pelvic floor concerns and tell everyone how constipated their infant is, but they don’t often admit that, amid all the dirty nappies and screaming sessions, the bond every mum longs to have with their baby isn’t there.

So it’s super refreshing to hear former Olympian and national swimming great Libby Trickett admit that it took her a whole seven months to "understand why people love babies" (or six months and 24 days, to be precise).

Trickett, 31, made the admission during an interview with New Idea magazine, revealing that she spent four months asking her husband, Luke Trickett, whether he thought their daughter Poppy "even liked" them.

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Poppy Frances Trickett was born on Aug. 31, 2015, and looking at her famous mum’s Instagram feed filled with adorable snaps of the gorgeous tot, you’d never think Trickett had struggled to adapt to motherhood. But her first-person piece for New Idea reveals that sleeping issues with Poppy led her to question whether she was a good parent. "There have been many arguments with my husband, trial and error, and feelings of failure (because, of course, 'good babies' sleep well and the rest are 'bad babies' with terrible parents," she wrote.

Aside from all the pressure on new parents to tend to their newborn’s every need, there’s enormous pressure to bond with the baby — but as Trickett shows, it doesn’t always come easy. For moms in particular, who have carried the child for nine months and then given birth, it’s kind of assumed that those overwhelming feelings of love will come instantly.

Mums need to know that if they don’t, it’s OK. Of course we all love our babies. But if that amazingly deep connection takes a little while to form, you’re not doing anything wrong.

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Before you go, check out our slideshow below:

birth photos
Image: Liz Jennings Photography

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