It might horrify you to find out that it wasn’t love at first sight with my baby when my first child was born. I had expected it to be. I had heard everyone say that there is an instant bond when you give birth. So why, after a fairly smooth pregnancy and birth, was I not instantly feeling that overwhelming love for my newborn?
My husband and I had wanted a baby for over a year before I got pregnant with our first child (see my story about it here). We had followed each gestational week closely and talked endlessly about cribs, breast pumps and baby names. Every moment was filled with baby…and we loved it!
At 40 weeks and 2 days I was induced. My progression was slow (as in 16 hours before I was even dilating past a 3), but the birth was quick and without complication. I actually enjoyed my birth experience…thank you, glorious epidural! But when baby Elle finally popped out and they laid her on my chest, I was surprised at my slight indifference. She was stinky, covered in bodily fluids and seemed so big that I couldn’t believe she had just popped out of my lady parts.
It was all so new and strange. I didn’t cry tears of happiness, I actually laughed. After a few minutes of holding her my hubby cut the cord and the nurses swept her away for all the baby “stuff” and my doctor started with the icky afterbirth procedures. As all this was going on, I just remember feeling so strange.
That is the tragic story. Did I ever end up bonding?! As baby got cleaned up and I got cleaned up and fed (I hadn’t eaten for over 20 hours) I started noticing her black head of hair, her squishy nose, her chubby arms, and all those adorable baby features. We did our skin-to-skin, nursing (read my best nursing tips here) and swaddling. I soon realized, near the end of our hospital stay, that although it may not have been love-at-first-sight with my little angel, I had never felt a stronger pull to or responsibility for anything in my entire life. My love began to grow exponentially from that point and continues to do so every day.
I also noticed that with the birth of my second little one the love was instantaneous. And I know exactly why that is. I already knew that motherly devotion and love from my first daughter and recognized that I would have that same love for this child and any others who came along.
I am now more excited than ever for the birth of our third daughter to experience the emotions and love that I know will be overly abundant!
And here is proof that just a short two weeks after the birth of our first child, we couldn’t even take our eyes off our little bundle: