Everyone talks about that moment when they first lay eyes on their babies. About how they felt this huge rush of love, and harps sounded from the heavens. When I was pregnant for the first time, among the many “you’ll sees” or “you just waits”, were predictions about the monumental love I would feel for my son the moment he was born. I just wouldn’t understand until I experienced it, they would say. Well, after 37 weeks of pregnancy, 12 hours of labour and 15 minutes of pushing, there he was. This pink, gooey, blonde-haired baby boy was earth-side and he was mine. They placed him on my chest, and I waited for the choir of angels to start singing…but they never did. I was exhausted, in pain, and about to deliver my placenta. So no, I did not fall in love with my baby at that exact moment.
Once the doctors were finished stitching me up and the delivery room had calmed down, my doula asked me how I was feeling. Was I exhilarated? Was I amazed? Was I in love? My memory is a little foggy, but I believe my response to her was that I was just tired (Amber, maybe you remember better than me?). Everything was still sinking in. The surprise induction, the difficult labour, and my son being brought to the NICU…I was so scared and overwhelmed, I don’t think I had space for falling in love. So a few hours after giving birth, I still waited for that magical moment of love between me and my new baby.
I felt a bit like a terrible mother (yep, mommy guilt already rearing its ugly head). Why didn’t I fall in love with my baby? I certainly cared for him and wanted what was best, but I still didn’t feel that amazing rush that so many moms described to me while I was pregnant. What was wrong with me? Maybe it was the Pitocin I had during labour? Maybe it was that I was unprepared for the earlier than expected delivery? Maybe it was all of it? Maybe it was none of it? Or maybe some moms just need time to take on their new role as a mother? What I didn’t know at the time was that what I experienced was completely normal. I wish I known that I wasn’t alone in this because it would have saved me a tremendous amount of self-doubt in my first weeks as a new mom.
After some time I did finally get my moment and it was amazing. My love has grown with my son every day since. I so enjoyed the journey of getting to know my little man and falling in love. I am not trying to convince anyone that love at first sight is impossible, because that’s not true. You might fall in love with your baby the moment your eyes connect. But you might not and that’s okay, too. We should celebrate the uniqueness of every mother-child relationship because each mama and baby have their own journey to love. Some journeys simply take longer than others.
Kiss-ass doula, pretty okay-ish mom, spreadsheet enthusiast, punctuality freak, ice cream addict.