Bonding with Baby: It Doesn't Always Happen Right Away. This truth is a tough one for many women to admit. However, it is a truth that needs to be discussed openly. Too many women believe they need to feel that immediate wave of emotions the second they lay eyes on their baby. They believe they should know absolutely everything about their baby within that first week. They think they should feel this overwhelming, overflowing amount of love every second of every single day.
The truth is, many moms don’t feel any of those things for many, many months – and it is completely normal.
Nobody said you had to feel all those dramatic, social media and movie-inspired emotions right away – nobody except for you. Of course, you want to feel that initial bond with your baby. So, when it doesn’t happen, what do you do? You may tell others you are bonded with your little one when they ask. You may tell others you are breastfeeding just so when they discuss the bonding aspect of nursing, you feel included. But these answers would not speak to your truth.
Managing Motherhood Mania
I jumped into pregnancy and motherhood without any preparation or time to truly digest the reality of what was going on. Within a week of taking those three, positive pregnancy tests, I had the ultrasound that told me I was having twins. On top of that, my boyfriend was planning to leave for military training in Texas for three months. Not long after that, I was put on disability, moving out of my apartment, moving in with my mom, and two months later, moving yet again to a brand-new city where my boyfriend lived.
Talk about chaos.
Pregnancy was stressful – plain and simple. I never really had the chance to enjoy being pregnant and, I must admit, I rarely felt genuine excitement about being pregnant. I tried. I desperately tried to be excited. But with everything going on around me, it was incredibly hard. I learned that pushing myself to feel something wouldn’t make that emotion appear any quicker.
Once the girls arrived, I was in love. I loved them, but I also loved the fact that my pregnancy was over. For the first couple of months, many of my feelings of depression lifted and I was able to relax and get to know my girls. However, at around four or five months postpartum, I realized I was just going through the motions and not really enjoying my girls and motherhood the way I "should."
I had told many people I felt bonded with my girls when I really did not.
It took me a while to admit this. No mother wants to admit that they do not feel that beautiful bond with their babies. Yes, I did cry when I heard their cries in the operating room during the c-section. Yes, I did love holding them and cuddling them. But I was not enjoying motherhood – I was simply pushing through every day just hoping to make it into bed every night.
Finally Feeling the Bond
It took a giant meltdown (and I mean giant) before it finally hit me that I was just going through the motions everyday and not fully enjoying motherhood the way I had hoped I would. I was wide awake one night, wondering why I wasn’t one of those moms who cried every time their baby hit a milestone or why I was okay leaving my babies with a sitter or family member. I continued to question myself as a mother and ask myself why this and why that.
When you ask why over and over again, you make yourself insane – this I learned the hard way.
That night I walked into my girls’ nursery and cried. I cried hard. Not that pretty, barely-pink-eyes kind of cry – I ugly-cried. My face was swollen the entire next day. My throat hurt. I couldn’t put my contacts in my eyes. I felt as if I was failing as a mother and I knew I needed to make some changes. I was not happy and it took that night, that major meltdown, for me to truly admit that truth to myself.
My girls were about ten months at the time of this realization and since then, positive changes have been made. Ever since that night, I can confidently state I feel more connected to my girls than ever. I changed my routine, my mindset, and my priorities. I lowered my amount of freelance writing and took on an online teaching job that only needs me when my girls are asleep. Since these changes, I am now able to enjoy my girls when they are awake and playing and truly get to know them without worrying about an upcoming deadline or date. I also have been able to sneak in personal time for hobbies I had pushed to the side.
It is incredibly hard admitting to yourself that you don’t feel that initial bond with your baby. Every mom wants to feel that bond, but sometimes it takes time. It takes time getting to know yourself as a mother and your little one. You have to put your happiness at the forefront because when you are not happy, your little one will also feel the strain. Don’t push for that connection, the connection will happen.
It just takes time.
Jennifer Aline is a coffee addict, mama of twins, and a passionate freelance writer and author. She writes for Moms.com on a regular basis and has had articles in publications such as the NY Daily News, NY Post, and In Good Health Newspaper. Aline received her Bachelor’s Degree in Child and Family Studies from Keuka College and worked in the Human Services field before her two little girls entered her life. Aline now focuses primarily on writing, teaching aerial arts classes in the evenings, and caring for her twin daughters – all while continuously chugging coffee, of course.
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