“The first time I held my baby in my arms, it was like I had never known what love really was before” I heard someone say while I was pregnant with our first. “I can’t wait to experience that” I said, but felt a twinge of doubt rise up. They said I’d feel that love during my pregnancy, yet I hadn’t. I felt anxiousness, excitement, fondness, even, but to say I was in love with the kicking thing inside me would be stretching it.
Then he came. After months of pregnancy and hours of labor, he was finally here and in my arms. I saw his little face for the first time, felt his warm body and I felt this unbelievable feeling of relief, but not love. I didn’t fall in love with my baby. There was no instant feeling of unconditional love as others had described. Looking at my husband, the thought crossed my mind that I love him more, that I’ve know what it is to love, but that was for my spouse.
I probably sound like a horrible mother at this point. I’m not. My son is thriving, happy, and healthy. I just wanted to put to ease the secret worries of the moms out there who are like me. Who have heard the romanticized stories of that magic moment when mom and baby first meet, and fear the worst because it did not happen that way for them.
It’s perfectly okay to not feel this extreme love for your newborn.
First off, you just met. This may sound funny since he was in your belly for nine months, but the truth is, you aren’t really acquainted with this little fellow. He hasn’t won over your affection, and that’s is totally alright.
Second, not feeling powerful love for your baby doesn’t mean you won’t be able to care for him or her. Maternal instincts are a very empowering thing. In those first few weeks (or so), the primitive inner drive to respond when he cried, rise from bed in the middle of the night, feed him when he needed it, was enough of a driving force to enable me to do these things.
Third, it will come. Yes, for some it may be instant, but for those of us that it doesn’t happen that way, if given a little time, the love will grow. Relationships are never stagnant, and never remain the same way they did when they first started. When Mr. Charming and I were first married I remember feeling utter dismay at how he didn’t say the perfect words or bring me flowers when I wanted them, and how I was able to feel things toward him that weren’t all happy, lovey feelings. I was afraid we would have a hard time together in the future if this is how it would start. But that isn’t true at all! We just needed time to get to know each other better, and allow our love to grow. Our marriage isn’t the same as what it was when we first started, because it has had time to mature into something more wonderful. That same concept applies to you and your child.
I’m happy to say, my adoration and, yes, love for this little boy has grown immensely and unconditionally. And, you know what, I’m glad it didn’t happen all at once. I got to experience a daily falling for this boy, which was meaningful and lasting. So, for those of you who are worried that you won’t fall in love right away, it’s fine. It will come and you will be a good mamma