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>Bonding with your baby, sometimes it isn’t immediate & instinctive

>I read all the books before I had Toddlergirl and read about how when she was born I would feel this sudden surge of love for her.

I’d been shocked when I’d ended up in gynae A&E with bleeding at 18 weeks to discover how attached I was to this ‘thing’ but had spent the rest of my pregnancy feeling rather like my body had been taken over by an alien being and finding it very hard to extrapolate from this thing trying to force my ribs apart into a real baby that I’d have sometime soon.

And then we had a really rather fast labour for a first timer (3 and a bit hours with the midwife only getting there 40 minutes before she was born and after I needed to push), I had a haemorrhage after the birth (which I’m told was quite dramatic but given I was passed out I missed) and Mr Muddling got to cuddle her whilst that was dealt with and whilst I literallycrawled upstairs to bed.
In bed I was cuddled up with my baby, feeling really rather awful and incredibly shocked and realising that actually I didn’t really feel anything for this little baby. I’d describe it as a sense of responsibility but otherwise nothing much.
I assumed that this would pass and I would get this surge of love that EVERYONE was telling me about and assuming I’d had. In many ways it was as if I’d been admitted to a community where everyone assumed I had the secret password but I was having to fake it.
Fake it really was what I did – I cuddled, fed, cared for and did everything I could for her but my over riding emotion was one of absolute numbness. Nothing, nil, numbness. Follow what the books tell you a good mother does and hope that nobody notices that actually you feel nothing.
And this continued for an awfully long time, well past my return to work, well past her turning 6 months and my first overnight stays away from her, and it continued and it continued. And I continued faking it and not telling anyone what I was (or rather wasn’t) feeling.
And then suddenly one day, just about when she was turning 1 and I had been away from her overnight and I came home; this time her smile and happiness at me being back tugged at my heart and I felt a surge of love for this perfect little person that we’d made. And I realised that I’d do anything to protect her and that nothing in the world was better than the cuddle she was giving me.
So if this is where you are talk to someone who you trust and let them know, email me perhaps, and realise that it isn’t like the fairy tales and it isn’t always perfect and immediate but sometime (and it may be an awfully long time) it will all work out and that keeping on doing the best you can is enough and that it will all work out.
I think this poem describes it rather well
Love is a temporary madness,
it erupts like volcanoes and then subsides.
And when it subsides you have to make a decision.
You have to work out whether your roots have so entwined together
that it is inconceivable that you should ever part.
Because this is what love is.
Love is not breathlessness,
it is not excitement,
it is not the promulgation of eternal passion.
That is just being “in love” which any fool can do.
Love itself is what is left over when being in love has burned away,
and this is both an art and a fortunate accident.
Those that truly love, have roots that grow towards each other underground,
and when all the pretty blossom have fallen from their branches,
they find that they are one tree and not two.
My Godfather read it at our wedding because it described our relationship perfectly – perhaps its fitting that it was similar with Toddlergirl.
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21 comments to >Bonding with your baby, sometimes it isn’t immediate & instinctive

  • The Moiderer

    >What an amazing thing you have done by sitting down and writing this. It will be a great comfort to many other mothers who feel a huge guilt for failing to bond instantly and have done exactly what you described here.

  • Vix

    >well said. I had similar with Phoebe, it took me a long time to love her but I felt like I couldn't admit it. We had so many problems with her when she was a baby that I just felt like it was such an uphill battle and loving her came last in a long list of issues.

  • Domestic Goddesque

    >If only I could have read this after the POcket Dictator was born. I think you are fooled into thinking that it will happen easily first time round. In reality I just cried a lot and ended up on anti-depressants. i love her with all my heart now of course. But I'm better prepared for what number 2 may bring with her….

  • solveig

    >It wasn't immediate for me with my first either. I felt protective of her but I distinctly remember thinking to myself one night that I should be feeling more. It took another few weeks and then I suddenly found I was overwhelmed with love for her.

    With my second, I was prepared for the same, and perhaps because of this, I found it was immediate.

    Great post, again. S x

  • Brit in Bosnia / Fraught Mummy

    >We had it at our wedding too. It is beautiful.

    Great post, and so true. x

  • Hearth-mother

    >This is a great, honest, brave post. I never properly had these feelings for my first either, not until she was much older – but I didn't realise it until the second was born and the rush came instantaneously and has never left.

  • It's a Mummys Life

    >Me neither. I felt cheated. Like I was having all the bad and none of the good. Like you it hit me much later. Same sort of thing with no.2 I must admit. Always good to know you're not alone x

  • auntiegwen

    >This will help SO many people who think it's just them. x

  • Liz

    >I commend you for putting this out there and opening it up to others for help. I felt similar with my first child, and it was around 18 months that I totally and manically fell in love and when I mentioned to my mom and sister that I finally understood what everyone was talking about, they made fun and scoffed "NOW? It took you THIS long?" I try and tell my friends repeatedly that this is normal, and I was normal, but when you're in it, it's tough.

  • Muddling Along Mummy

    >Thank you all for your lovely comments – I'm so glad that I finally posted it, I've been dithering for ages

    Liz – I had a similar thing, even Mr found it hard to listen when I told him about this and my issues – thing is I now know its not just something I had but something lots of other women struggle with

    auntiegwen – thank you !

    Its a Mummy's Life – you know that's exactly it, I feel as if I lost something but also that somehow I failed Toddlergirl by not loving her like that

    Hearth-Mother – that's what hit me – its so much more visceral with Babygirl than it ever was with Toddlergirl

    BiB – great minds hey !

    solveig – thank you ! The thing that scared me before Babygirl was born (especially with all the issues and not wanting to get too attached to her before she arrived) was that it'd happen all over again

    Domestic Goddesque – Aw lovely, have a hug – fingers crossed that its different with No2 but if not, we're here to understand

    Vix – what has reassured me is knowing that you do get there even if it is eventually

    The Moiderer – thank you !

  • Dan

    >We also had it at our wedding. I think. i'm pretty sure we did anyhow (don't tell my wife I can't remember)

  • Working Mum

    >Thank you for writing this. No one told me that this was how it might be. I didn't bond with my daughter immediately (for four days I didn't even recognise her as mine in hosptial) and I looked after her out of a sense of duty, because what would people think of me if I didn't?

    I hope this post helps other new mums and that they are reassured that eventually they will love their child with every fibre of their being – I know I do.

  • Muddling Along Mummy

    >Working Mum -I know exactly what you mean, you follow what a mother would do in the hope it'll come together and then eventually it does thank goodness

  • planb

    >So true. I had this for about three days, I know, nothing, with L, and then for about eight months with A&S. I think much worse second time round because there were two of them so it was genuinely harder to bond with either of them as being "special" when really individually they actually weren't. Can't tell you how much I adore them now though, but I too am evangelical about telling people how hard it can be (in fact I think it's normal – with L I had a text book pregnancy and a straightforward uncomplicated natural drug-free birth and I still found myself wondering what I was doing with a baby….) Thank you.

  • Kelly

    >I can imagine how hard this was for you to write but I do understand. Piran was in SCBU and then I had so much trouble breastfeeding that the bonding and that feeling of love took a while. Luckily for me it was weeks, not months but I can appreciate how hard this must have been for you.

  • Mwa

    >Wonderful, wonderful post. It takes me ages to bond as well, and it scared me at first. With my second, I was better prepared. People should talk about this more.

  • Sandy Calico

    >Sorry I'm late commenting. What an amazing post. Thank you for sharing. With number one I got the thunderbolt on day five, but with number two that didn't happen. It was a gradual process that took a lot longer.
    By the way, do you think your baby may have reflux? Cash had this and cried a lot. As soon as he was prescribed Gaviscon he stopped crying – just a thought x

  • make do mum

    >I'm so glad you wrote this. I had problems bonding with K and it is something which is difficult to admit to. I couldn't bring myself to tell Mr as I thought he would think I was a terrible mother. I wish I had read this post back then!

  • Muddling Along Mummy

    >make do mum – I also tried to talk about this with my Mr – he finds it hard to understand, I think because its so far from his experience

    I just wish the books that talk about the overwhelming love also mentioned that it might not be the fairy story too

  • Perfectly Happy Mum

    >I meant to say this before but this is a beautiful post and thank you so much for submitting it to A Mother'Secrets!

  • Manicmum

    >U r very honest. I remember reading and re-reading the first chapter of my Penelope Leach and kept trying to work out when this euphoric bonding feeling was going to kick in. Mothers are peddled so many myths and half-truths. I prefer kids to babies, maybe that's just me… X

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