My daughter’s birthday is in a few days. She’ll be turning two and is just a totally awesome kid. The love I have for her is often overwhelming and I am constantly trying to squeeze in more hugs and kisses. I love seeing her develop and grow – she’s becoming quite the little chatter box and is using her imagination so much more. I feel sometimes like my heart is just going to explode out of my body from the deep love and affection I feel for her.
But it wasn’t always this way.
It’s really hard to admit this but it took me a while (months) to feel like I had fallen head over heels in love with her. I had a very traumatic birth experience (part 1 & part 2) and missed out on getting to hold my daughter right after she was born (I didn’t get to hold her for at least an hour, if not longer). I was left with severe postpartum anxiety to the point that I had to go to the ER just two days after coming home from the maternity ward. I wanted to breastfeed but it didn’t work out and felt like I missed that opportunity to bond with her. In addition, because of my emergency C-section and the fact that I was really suffering mentally I needed a lot of rest which meant I had to be away from her more than I imagined.
I remember very clearly sitting on the couch in my psychologists office crying because I thought I would feel an immediate connection with my daughter. My husband did – they hit it off right from the start. But me, I felt like a failure, like a bad mom because the feelings just weren’t there.
Once I felt better I thought the love would come but it turned out my daughter was an extremely colicky baby. We would come home from work every night and do our best to soothe our screaming little girl but nothing we did made a long-lasting impact. We just dealt with it, somehow, day after day. And all along the way I hoped the feelings would come.
The people I told about this assured me that some day the love would be there but honestly, I was scared. What if I never felt a bond with her or she with me? What would I do?
But now I want to assure any other moms reading this piece that the words of my loved ones turned out to be true. The love DOES come and my goodness does it feel incredible. I’m two years away from my birth trauma now and I have so much love for my child – I would do anything for my sweet little love bug. I can’t say that this love developed at a particular time, there was no defining moment where I felt like HERE IT IS! I think it just kind of happened as we spent more time together and my emotional wounds began to heal.
So to any moms struggling with this right now, when you are having a dark moment wondering why you didn’t fall instantly head over heels for your child, please remember my words – I PROMISE you, eventually, the love will come. I promise.