Dear Carolyn • My husband and I always wanted children, and six months ago we were blessed with a wonderful, healthy baby girl. I love her to pieces, but whenever someone asks how I am "enjoying" motherhood, I guess the answer is ... not all that much. Yes, there are moments of joy, but most of the time is just a grind, mixed in with intense bouts of worry. I do stay home with her full time and work from home part time, but my husband is extremely hands-on, and we have family nearby who will happily give us the occasional break. I know how incredibly lucky I am, but I sometimes fantasize about an alternate life of just my husband and me, traveling, going out to dinner, enjoying life as a couple for the rest of our lives. I guess I’m just surprised that actually having a kid isn’t what I expected. What is wrong with me that I don’t seem to be enjoying this? For what it’s worth, I don’t have postpartum depression, and am very loving with my daughter. I just haven’t seen much out there about these types of feelings, and wonder if (and hope!) it gets better.
Dear Blindsided • Your feelings are totally normal, and I’m sorry you haven’t found someone you can confide in about the numbing grind of baby care. It’s hard. So that’s the first thing I’d suggest — finding a sympathetic ear anywhere from old friends to a new mom’s group, by putting out feelers to see if you can safely talk about this. You do have to be careful, because your very real feelings have the very real potential to upset, even offend someone who has infertility problems unknown to you, or who lost a baby. I don’t say this to discourage you from speaking up — the feelings of both parties are valid — just to explain why discretion matters. — What is wrong with you? Nothing, most likely. You can’t know for sure till you get there, but you may be among those who vastly prefer older kids to babies. People all along the range of age preferences can be good parents, as long as they remain loving and committed through their non-preferred years. So hang in there. Travel and dinners aren’t dead, they’re just on hiatus.
Carolyn Hax’s column runs Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays.
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