Monday, August 6, 2012


The other day I was reading This post by Katie Bower about how she had a hard time bonding with her son when he was first born and the whole post really hit home for me because I felt much the same way.

Here is something I've never really talked about before and it's that that initial, over-whelming, super love, bonding feeling that you always hear about and expect to feel when you first meet your child? Well I didn't have that.

Did I love him? Of course.

Did I want him? Absolutely.

But if I'm being honest, he felt like a complete stranger to me. It didn't feel like he was mine. I didn't feel that amazing connection that you hear about. He just seemed like a really cute, squishy little baby. But at the very beginning, it felt like he could have been anybody's cute, squishy little baby.

I blame a variety of circumstances for feeling the way I did.

*My delivery- for anyone that hasn't read my birth story, I had to have an emergency C-section which included me needing to be knocked out when I was able to feel them cutting into me and was therefore asleep when my child was born. One moment I telling the doctor I can "feel a prick" and the next I'm waking up to see my husband holding a baby next to my face. I didn't get to feel him being pulled out of me, or see him being held up in all his gooey glory, or hear his first little cry. This child just appeared before me and he didn't seem real. He didn't seem mine. But it got better.

*The after delivery- my recovery that first night was rough. I was sick. So sick. And I couldn't really hold or bond with my baby for fear of vomiting on him or dropping him due to still being incredibly tired from the medicine. It was all a haze. He was a haze. But it got better.

*The NICU- the next day when I finally felt up for bonding, my baby was taken to the NICU, where due to recovering from a painful C-section I was only able to physically make it down to visit him a few times a day. And after I was released from the hospital without him, even less. For the first week of his life I didn't feel like I could truly be his mother. I felt like a visitor. But it got better.

*The first few weeks- after we brought him home he had to be on a monitor that would alert us if God forbid he stopped breathing for longer than a few seconds. He had to wear it at all times, unless he was being bathed. So we always had to be mindful of the leads that kept him attached to the monitor and make sure we didn't accidentally disconnect them and set off the alarm (which we did). Because of this I felt like we spent those first few weeks only on the couch or in our bedroom. He only saw his nursery once until after he got off the monitor. It made an already delicate newborn even more so and made bonding a bit more challenging. But it got better.

*Hormones- while I didn't suffer from post partum depression (thank GOD) I did have my bout of the baby blues. I remember one day in particular when Kristian came home from work to find me on the couch holding the baby with splotchy cheeks and tears running down my face. He asked me what was wrong and I responded 'I don't know'. And I didn't know. I just knew that I wanted to cry. So I did. Not to mention the many middle of the night crying fits (both mine and Hunters) where I would just lay on the bed in a puddle of tears feeling like the worst. mother. ever. because I couldn't soothe my child and make him stop crying. I would sit up at 3am nursing this little person in my bed and wonder how I had gotten there, how could I possibly take care of a tiny human. But it got better.

I want to reiterate that I did love him, immensely, it just wasn't what I imagined or what I had heard about. I felt disconnected. Almost like a babysitter rather than a mother.

But it got better. It changed. I don't know the exact day or the exact moment but I just know it changed. I would say probably after that first month I started to feel more of that motherly connection I had been waiting for. I finally felt more comfortable about my mothering abilities. I knew that I needed him as much as he needed me. And the feeling has only grown and gotten stronger as time goes on. It's hard to believe that you really can love them more each day but it's true.

He's my little man, my buddy, my dude. He is part of my heart and soul and it's hard to believe there was ever a time when I didn't know his face.

So while it may not have been the immediate connection I had hoped for it did happen and I wouldn't trade it for the world.


Heather said...

Thanks for sharing your story. I'll definitely keep it in mind when it's my turn to have a child someday. I think that so often, there are certain perceptions about what becoming a mom is "supposed" to be like, but it's so important to remember that everyone's experience is unique.

Valerie said...

I think this is often how a lot of new moms feel, but it goes un-spoken about. I felt the same way. I was able to feel him come out and all I felt was relief from not having to push anymore. I do love my son with all my heart & am so happy God chose me to be his mother, but I didn't feel that feeling either.
I was always told when you breastfeed you get a sense of closeness/connection when they are nursing. I never felt that either {although, I think mine was postpartum depression}. We had a lot of problems with nursing/bfing and every time it came time to feed I was more annoyed & stressed than happy.

Holly said...

so good for me to read and remember right now. thanks so much for posting this!! xo

Nicole-Lynn said...

Aw what a sweet, honest post. This is why I continue to read your blog. You're very realistic with your emotions, expectations and I think that's important!

I'm not a mom yet, but I am sure that what you felt and went through is what a lot of other moms go through but they just don't admit it!

Mrs EyeCanSee said...

I felt this way for a long time despite pushing him out the old fashioned way. In your heart you know you're supposed to be instantly in love. And you are. But it's hard when they don't react to you. There's no smiles or hugs or I love you's or even recognition of who you are. Makes it harder to really bond in those early days. Plus you're thrown into this roller coaster ride of motherhood that's harder than you could have ever imagined!

beka said...

Shannon, this was one of your best posts ever. It's hard to read because I feel so bad for you and all that you went through bringing that little cutie into the world, but what an encouraging story you have when you bring it full circle!

Meg said...

I love how honest this post is.

The best part of the story is the bond formed and now he is your little man. You are right, he's your heart and soul and it's the best no matter how it took for the bond to form.

Fiona aka DRMama said...

What a beautiful and honest post. I think this will be so useful for new moms and moms to be to read and know that if they have similar feelings, they are by no means alone. Everyone has very different experiences and all are completely fine and normal. You went through so much in the beginning but the bond you now share with your son shows that it was all worth it.

Jennifer said...

I think this is normal. The feelings and emotions are overwhelming and sometimes I wasn't sure what I was thinking I just knew what I was supposed to think. I think you said it just perfectly.

Stephanie said...

I adore this post and I am slowly falling in blog love with you! I am so glad you opened up and shared with me your first Mommy moments. I'm about to embark on a journey that I have no control over and I'm pretty much scared shitless. It's so good to know that it's not always rainbows and butterflies and that I'm not alone in this strange journey into motherhood. Thank you for this, Shannon! You have truly made me feel a bit better about my worries.

Meagan said...

I have heard this from a lot of moms that they felt like a babysitter for the first month or so. That yes, they loved their child but it wasn't the overwhelming instant thing some people talk about. You definitely had a lot of stuff to overcome that first month! Makes my disconnect seem silly!