I’m sure you’ve heard it, the gushing new mom swooning over her newborn baby; Telling everyone how the moment she laid eyes on his little face, she instantly fell in love. Well, I waited for that moment for 9 months and when it didn’t happen, I felt as if there was something very wrong! What the hell was up with me? Was I developing Postpartum Depression? Why wasn’t I experiencing these instant emotions that all new moms spoke of?
Well, it didn’t happen. In fact, it took some time. In the midst of sleep deprivation and adjusting to motherhood, my emotional state was steady for the most part, but still, I wasn’t madly in love. I wanted to love him so deeply, but I didn’t. I loved the little guy, I thought he was cute and cuddly, but that was it. I was busy being a mom and that transition made no room for me to gush over this new life.
The residue of my old life still lingered. My thinking hadn’t shifted, and I had not yet come to the realization that life was no longer just about me. My emotions were busy!
But people asked… oh did they ask! “Was it love at first sight?”, “Did you just love him right away?”, “What was it like?” I felt some shame in answering nonchalantly, but I had to be honest. It was just OK. I liked him, no, I loved him. But I didn’t really know this kid. I had to give myself time to get to know him. For me, what trumped feeling that instant love, was learning how to be a mother.
As the days and weeks passed, I started to feel a change. When he cried, it really bothered me. I started to feel super protective. I wanted to know everything that was happening with him and then just like that… it happened. He smiled at me. Like really looked and smiled at ME! Me, I was his mom and he knew there was something different about this lady who had just walked through the door. In that moment, I knew that he knew me. He knew that I was mom. He knew my face and it made him happy. And that was the moment I fell deeply in love.
Before it was just different. Newborn babies just cry. They want their food and diapers changed. They don’t form attachments to anyone particularly. The real fun is when they start to become their own person. The more my son developed a personality, the deeper I fell for him. His smiles, his cries, his laughs and those ever so cute dimples. They were so special.
So I forgave myself. And now, 3 months into being a mother, I live for the moments that I can bask in his presence. He is indeed the most precious and important person in my life.
So for all the new moms out there who share my sentiments. Just give it time! It will happen and don’t feel bad if it doesn’t happen the moment you lay eyes in your little one. Hey, you’ve just spent hours in grueling pain. I give you permission to just relax and take some of the last moments that you can actually just focus on you.
There’s nothing wrong with you. You aren’t a bad mom. Just be the best mother you can possibly be and it will come. And when it happens, it’ll all be worthwhile.