Parenting can be a tough gig.
Some parents struggle to form an immediate bond with their child, and the guilt that comes with that stark realisation can be overwhelming.
One dad has opened up about his feelings toward his child in a brutally honest blog post, admitting that as 'terrible' as it sounds, they still haven't formed a bond.
Writing anonymously on Medium.com, he titled his essay 'Why don't I like my son?'
"Already I'm aware of how terrible the title sounds," the dad began his raw admission. "But I've got to be honest.
"I don't know why I don't like him; he's not a bad kid, he's actually a terrific kid, he's smart, well-spoken, kind, rarely misbehaves."
The dad, who is separated from the boy's mother and sees him every weekend, explains that he has "no interest in him" and "couldn't care less."
"I only do it because I feel obligated to do so, this was made especially apparent when the UK went into lockdown, and I couldn't leave my house," he writes.
"I didn't see him for nearly six months, and I did not care in the slightest. I got sent photos and videos of him, 99 per cent of which I didn't even bother to look at…"
'It's always been like this'
While the child's exact age is not disclosed, the dad goes on to explain that he's felt like this ever since his son was born.
"I never got that whole overwhelming, unconditional love that everyone talks about," he says. "He was just another person to me."
Hoping the situation would change as his son grew up and started to talk, the father admits he just keeps making excuses as to why he feels like this.
"Each year I have to move those goalposts further until now I'm at a point where I don't think I'll ever like him."
He also explains that his son is well looked after when under his care, he takes him to the park and he is really 'quite a happy young lad'.
"But I do these things out of pure obligation, I don't want to do them, I don't enjoy spending time with him," the dad writes, going on to reveal details about his relationship with his own father.
"Probably the only reason I haven't straight up abandoned him is that 1) my dad left me and I don't want my son to grow up without a dad.. and 2) the fear of the backlash I would get from the rest of my family…
"I really don't want to be one of those deadbeat fathers, but at the same time, I can't help the way I feel towards him."
'I needed to get this off my chest'
The struggling father concludes his emotional post by revealing he really "doesn't know what to do" and that he expected harsh criticism for coming clean about how he really felt.
"I've never spoken to anyone about this, so sorry for the wall of text it's all just spilling out" he writes.
"I want to love my son; I want to have that relationship that I never had with my dad.. but at the same time, I feel like I'm forcing something that isn't there."
With over 3,000 likes, readers were overwhelmingly supportive of the father's situation, commending him for his honesty - and urging him to seek professional help.
"It's telling that you say you were abandoned by your father. I'd suggest a good therapist would help you explore how that has impacted you as a father," said one.
"Clearly you do care, or you wouldn't have written this article looking for help. I can offer little advice other than talking to a professional on what has to be unresolved feelings with your own abandonment," wrote another.
From another dad: "While I don't feel that way about my own kids, as a father of three, I can certainly relate to that feeling. Men and women are wired differently, and we fathers often don't have the same emotions towards our children as their mothers do. You aren't a monster or horrible person for having those feelings. I'd bet good money a lot of men have had to deal with feeling the same way.
"You can't help the way that you feel and the first step is to admit something and you just did that. Not only to yourself but publicly. Unfortunately your son probably feels this but it's okay. Teach him how to love himself."