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.