Shelley Price doesn’t love her own daughter, and fears she never will. This tearful mother of two is telling her story because she believes that she isn’t the only mother to ever tackle such a taboo subject, and hopes she may help others come to terms with this unspeakable truth. How can this be?
Price was just 22 when she had her eldest daughter, Catherine, now 11. Shortly after Catherine’s birth, a five-year relationship with the father fizzled. That didn’t help matters.
“It was obvious that something wasn’t right from the start,” said Price. The night Catherine was born, Price says she didn’t want to look or touch her. Her maternal malfeasance continues to this day. Playgroup pickup was something to dread, she recalls no landmarks such as a first tooth and when Catherine is sick, Grandma is called in. She admits to ignoring her daughter’s attempts to get her attention and not wanting to be physically close to her. “I did hug Catherine, but it was always half-hearted,” Price said. “I always told her I loved her but I never really felt it or meant it.”
That is just awful. Particulary when there is another child in the house now, Poppy, 2, a daughter who she calls “the love of my life” by her current partner.
On the plus side, if there is one, Price recognizes her shortcomings and is trying hard to improve her relationship with her older daughter. “Sometimes, if I’ve been playing with Poppy, she’ll come and sit next to me, put her head on my shoulder and her arm round me, waiting for me to cuddle her,” she said. “I look at her little face and know I’ve hurt her. I do care deeply for Catherine, but I have just never felt the same bond with her.”
Instead of a good night kiss and “I love you, honey,” Catherine hears a nightly whisper in her ear. “I’m sorry for the way I’ve been with you.”