I started going for therapy for PND a couple of months after Jamie was born. I didn't know this at the time (I found out recently when I was wrapping up my therapy) that the phrase 'failure to bond' was scattered across my file. Maybe it's true or maybe it was perceived because obviously when I was there it wasn't to discuss the joys of motherhood, I don't really know. I do know that if I did have a hard time bonding with him it's not anything I had control over, no one has ever wanted to bond with him more than me. You're right, I've never harmed him, he has always been cared for, I've never locked him in the the cupboard under the stairs because
Just after he turned one he started the crazy behaviour. I was due to go back to work so he was put into a lovely nursery in the mornings and he was the picture of sweetness and light while there. The staff loved him, he was cheerful and engaging and delightful. But from the second we got home to the second Steven came home from work, he was an animal. He screamed and slithered around the floor for hours in a rage and nothing I could do would make him stop. He didn't want me to touch him, he didn't want me not to touch him, and he couldn't be distracted from it. Nothing would make him stop. No one else would ever see him this way. He never did it a nursery, he never did it in front of Steven (at least not until later), never did it in front of other family members or friends. Through the PND centre we managed to get referred to the play therapist but he never did it there so she could only take my word of how bad it was. It was truly our Dirty Secret, it was our time together that was tortured and fraught. For years. The most random things would set off hours and hours of screaming and writhing on the floor; I took Maia's jacket off before his, he wanted me to walk back to the childminder's so he could say goodbye one more time. It was really, really hard for me to empathise with psychosis brought on by not having any apples.
We went to the play therapist together on and off for two years, firstly for the hysteria and then later for the obsessive behaviour, the inability to cope with change or disappointment, the food issues, the sleep issues, the constant running commentary of everything he's doing, the incessant questions. All of these behaviours are born of anxiety. And that anxiety is born of separation / bonding issues. And that's why I feel responsible. It's a lot better now, his episodes are now only once or twice a month and can often be reduced in length merely by me saying, 'I know how disappointed / angry / sad you are about fill in the blank with something nonsensical and that's okay'. But I worry about the fact he spent a considerable part of his first three years consumed with anxiety and how it has affected him.