When you are first handed your child after delivery what did you feel? Everyone talks about the warm fuzzy feeling you get when you first hold your newborn in your arms, that sense of peace, of calm, of knowing that everything is right with the world. Many moms describe it as love at first sight, their heart-swelling like a balloon. What about when you don’t feel this way?
When I was in the hospital holding that pink little bundle in my arms, I did not feel this overwhelming sense of love that everyone described. Was something wrong with me? I didn’t have a hard delivery, in fact, it went pretty smoothly as far as deliveries go. There was nothing medically wrong with me or the baby, we both made it through perfectly healthy. So, why didn’t I feel the love? I felt protective, that’s for sure, I knew I wanted to—needed to keep this little person alive and I was excited at seeing her grow. But, I wouldn’t say I was in love.
I thought maybe the hospital setting was too clinical and it didn’t feel real yet, perhaps I was still in shock—I mean I was just handed this little being I was expected to care for despite feeling like I had no clue as to what I was supposed to do with her. So, we took our little package home and I expected the love to come then. Surrounded by familiar things, settling her into her nursery, surely I’d feel that wonderful heart-swelling love any moment.
It still did not come. I was a very attentive new mom, I answered her every whimper, we caught on to the breastfeeding routine very quickly and easily, she wasn’t a fussy baby, she slept peacefully and comfortably in a sling attached to me while I went about my day and still, I did not feel my heart grow with all-consuming love for this little being. What was wrong with me? I enjoyed having her in my life, I thought she was adorable—her smell, her little coos, and the tiny little weight in my arms felt nice. And yet, why didn’t I feel this crazy love other told me to be prepared for?
I cannot say when it came on when I fell madly in love with this little girl. I only know that my love grew. I can recognize now that the protectiveness I felt at the beginning must have been love in disguise. And as I bonded more and more with my little one throughout the coming weeks and months, I fell into the despairingly, crazy, beautiful love that is motherhood. My daughter is my world, the light of my life, she’s smart and sweet and funny and the more I learned about her the more my love grew.
So, if you don’t feel that Earth-shattering, love at first sight, don’t worry, it will come and you will realize that you’ve always loved that little person.