Mother Admits She Doesn't Love Her Daughter

Filed under: Just For Moms, Health & Safety: Babies, Playground Bureau

Shelley Price doesn't love her own daughter, and fears she never will. This tearful mother of two is telling her story because she believes that she isn't the only mother to ever tackle such a taboo subject, and hopes she may help others come to terms with this unspeakable truth. How can this be?

(Update: The story that originally ran on on January 22, 2009 was pulled off the site the following day. Read on and you'll see why.)

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Price was just 22 when she had her eldest daughter, Catherine, now 11. Shortly after Catherine's birth, a five-year relationship with the father fizzled. That didn't help matters.

"It was obvious that something wasn't right from the start," said Price. The night Catherine was born, Price says she didn't want to look or touch her. Her maternal malfeasance continues to this day. Playgroup pickup was something to dread, she recalls no landmarks such as a first tooth and when Catherine is sick, Grandma is called in. She admits to ignoring her daughter's attempts to get her attention and not wanting to be physically close to her. "I did hug Catherine, but it was always half-hearted," Price said. "I always told her I loved her but I never really felt it or meant it."

That is just awful. Particulary when there is another child in the house now, Poppy, 2, a daughter who she calls "the love of my life" by her current partner.

I can understand how at times we might not like our children, say, when they break stuff or hit their sister. But that doesn't mean we don't love them. Also, many new moms, myself included, feel overwhelmed with the responsibility of a new baby. Coupled with the baby blues or postpartum depression, it's often very hard to bond.

I have a friend who admitted to me she wasn't immediately bowled over by her son when she first had him. Many moms go through that. But as time went on, she grew to love her son more than life itself. That's how you should feel when you have a child, right? Isn't loving our children -- whether it's at first sight or through time -- part of what makes us human?

Psychologists say that a mother's failure to love her child can result from depression, feelings of inadequacy or when the child reminds her of a bad relationship (i.e., the co-parent). Price fits neatly here, although she says not so.

On the plus side, if there is one, Price recognizes her shortcomings and is trying hard to improve her relationship with her older daughter. "Sometimes, if I've been playing with Poppy, she'll come and sit next to me, put her head on my shoulder and her arm round me, waiting for me to cuddle her," she said. "I look at her little face and know I've hurt her. I do care deeply for Catherine, but I have just never felt the same bond with her."

Instead of a good night kiss and "I love you, honey," Catherine hears a nightly whisper in her ear. "I'm sorry for the way I've been with you." Isn't your heart breaking?

Can you relate to Price? Do you feel like you don't love your children enough, or at all?

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AdviceMama Says:
Start by teaching him that it is safe to do so.