Baby Rejection After Childbirth – Why Does It Happen?

For many women the arrival of a child is a cause for joy and love, but not for all! Some of them experience feelings of sadness, fear, insecurity, anger after the birth of their babies and even reject the baby after delivery. Others are completely indifferent to any feeling.

Why Baby Rejection Happens

Different factors lead to this condition, they are the reflection of the mother’s life circumstances, the conditions in which the child was born, the relationship she has or not with the child’s father, her projects for the future and the real possibilities for carry them out. So-called emotional and physical factors.

Emotional Factors That Lead to Baby Rejection in Postpartum

Real and Imaginary Son

During the nine months, the woman dreams, imagines, creates expectations about her baby. Ideas are built around this child, his appearance, personality.

Often perfection is almost imagined, plans for the future are created. At birth, the mother is faced with a baby far from what was imagined , especially if the way that baby came into the world is traumatic: prolonged labor, premature birth or an emergency cesarean section.

Difficulty breastfeeding, or even a child’s health problem. All of these things inevitably affect mood, creating mixed and negative feelings. Many psychologists define it as “voluntary interruption of fantasy”.

Baby Blues

The baby blues is a very common emotional condition. About 50% of puerperal women pass through it. Typical symptoms usually occur 2 to 4 days after delivery and can last up to 2 weeks . Symptoms include:

  • Little interest in newborn care
  • Impatience
  • Irritability
  • Guilt in thinking that motherhood will never be pleasurable
  • Unjustified sadness
  • Little desire to communicate
  • Loneliness
  • Crying for no apparent reason
  • Insomnia

Teenage pregnancy

In general, when a teenager becomes pregnant , she is afraid of being rejected socially. One of the consequences is the isolation of the group of friends because the young woman feels criticized by the people in her environment.

There is also the issue of problems with the family. Communicating pregnancy with parents is often a source of conflict. Consequently, a pregnancy in very young women leads to rejection of the baby. They are children and do not wish to take on the responsibility, time and obligations that it means to be a mother.

Women Who Choose Not To Have Children

Many women who dedicate themselves to professional growth choose not to have children . The ambition to grow and the temptation of promotions, status, wages and good placement are reasons to leave motherhood aside.

But, what about when you find yourself pregnant? The fear of losing her job, or not reaching the professional goals set, end up making this mother angry with this baby who came at an inappropriate time. The rejection happens when many of them feel pressured to take a break in their career to dedicate themselves to their child.

Women Who Are Abused By Their Husbands

Women who live in an environment where they constantly suffer physical and psychological abuse from their partners tend to have a rejection of their child after birth.

It is not easy to live being tortured, often physically, to become pregnant by your aggressor and accept your condition. Many of them feel aversion to the baby because they are unable to disassociate him from the one who has often attacked his life, his moral and physical values.

Pregnant Women Who were Abandoned by Their Companions

When a pregnancy happens, there is a major transformation in the couple’s life. Several factors can cause paternal abandonment , lack of maturity, doubts about paternity, behavioral changes or the very fact of having a baby.

Some couples no longer understand each other and the attempt to save a relationship ends up bringing the idea that having a child can renew that couple’s feelings.

When abandonment occurs on the part of the partner, the woman often transfers her sorrows to the child who has just been born . The baby’s rejection after delivery in this case is usually momentary.

Mothers With Little Children

Some women become pregnant in a short period of time between one pregnancy and another because they want their babies to be raised together, others by carelessness, end up becoming pregnant in the postpartum period.

This fact often ends up bringing a rejection to the new baby, for the simple fact of not being able to dedicate enough time to the oldest child, for the fear of a pregnancy very close to the other, especially if the delivery was cesarean , for not knowing if you will be able to have two babies to look after.

Pregnant Women In Socioeconomic Difficulties

The lack of economic means to maintain one or more children, family pressure are factors that lead to the baby’s rejection after delivery. Women in poverty fear for the welfare of other children, transferring the anguish of not being able to give a better life to their older children, because of the baby that was just born.

Is it possible to prevent the baby from being rejected?

Supporting the pregnant woman for the nine months and helping her acquire the new role will definitely help her to become aware of the new situation and allow her to accept motherhood, especially if she has a specific life experience or is at an age at risk ( below 16, or above 35).

Knowing “not to be alone”, having points of reference, and people you can trust, is of utmost importance, especially for women insecure and fearful of the new role.

Physical Factors

Baby blues

There is a very important distinction between Baby Blues rejection and Postpartum Depression . As the baby’s rejection continues, even after the woman becomes aware that her life is now becoming a mother (usually in the first month of the baby’s life), at that moment it is no longer about momentary sadness, but depression. Symptoms last longer and are persistent.

What Leads to Postpartum Depression?

The exact cause is not clear, but there are reasons that can contribute to the development of the disease.

Physical : one of the biggest physical changes after childbirth involves hormones. While the woman is pregnant, her estrogen and progesterone levels are higher than normal.

Within hours of delivery, the levels of these hormones return to their pre -pregnancy state . This abrupt change can lead to depression.

Emotional : a woman may be more likely to develop postpartum depression if she has had a past mood disorder or if there is a family history of depression, anxiety and mood disorders .

Symptoms of Postpartum Depression?

The symptoms of postpartum depression vary from person to person and even during the days:

  • A negative state that lasts after the first month of delivery
  • Low self-esteem
  • Total child rejection
  • Continuous crying
  • Negative thoughts
  • Fear of getting hurt or the baby
  • Insomnia
  • Permanent irritability
  • Loneliness
  • Refuses to communicate and talk about what it feels like

Undoubtedly the highest rates of rejection to the baby are linked to this pathology.

Puerperal Psychosis

The most serious form of rejection of the baby after delivery is puerperal psychosis . An admittedly serious and serious illness, in which some women reject care for their children, neglect breastfeeding and, worse, can become a risky situation for the baby.

Puerperal psychosis is more frequent among women who have had their first child and younger. Experts point out that one to two cases occur per thousand births .

Being more likely in women who have a history of mood disorders . Another aggravating factor that can trigger puerperal psychosis is postpartum depression, which usually occurs in 10 women per thousand births.

Symptoms of Puerperal Psychosis

The first symptoms can be confused with the baby blues, then they turn into something more aggressive like:

  • Meaningless conversations, confusion and disorientation
  • Feelings of anger for no apparent reason
  • Violent behavior, like throwing things, breaking things and attacking people around you
  • Rapid change of mood
  • Concern about death that may include thoughts of suicide or attempted suicide
  • Negative thoughts about the baby, like blaming him for the way he feels or wanting him to leave

Postpartum OCD

Raising a child in a healthy environment can often cause some tension in newly born women. This pressure can sometimes turn into obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). Postpartum OCD is not very common. About 1 to 3% of women who have a baby develop OCD . It usually starts in the first week after birth.

Obsessions can be about anything, but they are likely to focus on the baby’s safety. For example, many women are concerned that the baby is breathing at night and wake up in the middle of the night to check.

Symptoms of Postpartum OCD

This seems normal, but if repeated several times it is considered a disorder. Postpartum OCD, involve ritual behaviors such as:

  • Repetitive organization, cleanliness and obsession with germs that may come into contact with the baby
  • Check the baby at night, even if you have recently done it
  • Mental compulsion, like repeating phrases to make the baby safe.
  • Spend too much time researching your baby’s health.

This obsession can cause maternal exhaustion, which makes you feel tired of having a baby, of having to be all the time looking after and caring for your well-being. The rejection happens when the woman thinks that she would not need to be so tired and worried about so many things if she had not had a child.

What to do if you notice some of these symptoms?

First seek help from family members, let them know that something is wrong, and then start medical treatment. These pathologies are treated with antidepressant and antipsychotic medications , in addition to therapies with a psychologist or other mental health professional who can provide counseling.

See also: Women’s Wear After Childbirth

Dr. Alexis Hart
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My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.

Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.

Dr. Alexis Hart

My name is Dr. Alexis Hart I am 38 years old, I am the mother of 3 beautiful children! Different ages, different phases 16 years, 12 years and 7 years. In love with motherhood since always, I found it difficult to make my dreams come true, and also some more after I was already a mother.Since I imagined myself as a mother, in my thoughts everything seemed to be much easier and simpler than it really was, I expected to get pregnant as soon as I wished, but it wasn’t that simple. The first pregnancy was smooth, but my daughter’s birth was very troubled. Joana was born in 2002 with a weight of 2930kg and 45cm, from a very peaceful cesarean delivery but she had already been born with congenital pneumonia due to a broken bag not treated with antibiotics even before delivery.

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