From the first day I met our child, I loved them and that love has grown with each day that has passed. Until last week. From out of nowhere, I felt utterly disconnected from them and it freaked me out completely. It made me cry. I never expected to feel anything like that. Sure, I have been frustrated with them, angry even sometimes, but underneath there was always the connection and the love. Suddenly I’m looking at them and for a few minutes I’m thinking “I don’t know who you are. I don’t know who you are.” I lost the connection. I’ve heard of that sort of thing happening to people during introductions or within a few weeks of bringing their child home, but after this amount of time with no inkling it was coming? I sat down and looked at our child and was crushed by the apparent vulnerability of our connection. How could I suddenly have that feeling? Where did it come from? Why? It went as quickly as it had come, but it really scared me. I got the connection back fairly quickly, as strong as ever and the love continued to grow as well, but it now seemed somewhat tinged by that awful moment.
So I did some online research to see if I could find out what happened, and whether it’s unusual. The second one first; apparently not. I found lots of anecdotal evidence of this “dis-connecting” experience among birth and adoptive parents, at varying stages of parenthood. Secondly, and to my relief, it seems the cause of it in the majority of “cases” I could find was anxiety or stress and a depletion of energy. I talked it over with my partner and it seems I had been worried prior that I hadn’t been as patient as usual with our child of late, that they were going through a phase of wanting me less and my partner more, and that had impacted me in a way I had not been aware of, on top of which was a difficult and tiring phase at work. So that’s how it played out. It scared me then, but after reading lots of other parents’ stories around this subject, I feel less worried about it now. I hope this helps anyone who has ever experienced a similar feeling. It doesn’t mean you don’t love your child in that moment, but that you are anxious, perhaps under a lot of pressure and your emotional gas tank is empty. So, look after yourself, try to recognise the symptoms of anxiety and stress, be kind to yourself in that moment and for moments after and give yourself some time and space to re-fill your tank.”