Is it normal to reject your baby?

Answered by Stephen Mosley

In my experience, emotional rejection of a baby is not considered “normal” in the sense that it is a healthy or typical response. It is a morbid and clinical phenomenon that can have serious consequences for both the mother and the child. While it may occur in about 1% of births in the general population, it is much more common among mothers who are referred to specialist services.

I have encountered cases where mothers have expressed feelings of rejection towards their infants, and it is truly heartbreaking to witness. These mothers may struggle with bonding and connecting with their babies, often experiencing a lack of maternal instincts or the ability to provide nurturing care. This can lead to neglect or maltreatment of the child, which can have long-lasting effects on their development and well-being.

It is important to understand that emotional rejection of a baby is not a reflection of the mother’s character or worth as a person. It is a complex issue that can stem from a variety of factors, including past trauma, mental health issues, or difficulties in adjusting to the demands of motherhood. It is essential not to blame or shame these mothers, but to provide them with the support and resources they need to address their feelings and develop a healthy attachment with their child.

Treatment for emotional rejection of a baby typically involves a multidisciplinary approach. This may include therapy, counseling, medication if necessary, and support from a team of professionals specializing in mother-infant psychiatry. Through these interventions, mothers can explore the underlying causes of their rejection, learn coping strategies, and develop a stronger bond with their baby.

I want to emphasize that with the right treatment and support, emotional rejection of a baby can improve significantly. It is not a lifelong sentence for either the mother or the child. Early intervention and ongoing care are crucial in preventing further harm and promoting healthy development for both the mother and the baby.

While emotional rejection of a baby is not considered “normal” or healthy, it is a treatable condition that requires understanding, compassion, and appropriate interventions. It is essential to provide support to mothers experiencing these feelings and to ensure that both they and their babies receive the care they need to thrive.