Pregnancy and childbirth play havoc with your hormones so I’m hoping that intense emotions – or lack of – are all normal. I just read a great blog by Mrs Mum NZ, who experienced what one commenter referred to as “grower love” i.e. love for your baby that isn’t instant, but comes in time. I agree that the “grower love” thing should be talked about more so that those women who experience this can know that it’s normal and that there is light at the end of the tunnel.
For me, I had a relatively normal (albeit twin) pregnancy which throughout, I felt no connection to. It’s like I experienced the lack of bonding thing before they were born. I was terrified most of the time that I wasn’t cut out for parenting two babies and simply couldn’t feel the excitement that everyone else around me felt. I felt a complete failure.
And then they were born. Birth was long and horrible but I must say that the burning love we all feel for our kids was instant with me. I think it’s because I’d felt so negative throughout the pregnancy that I had no expectations. T1 was plopped out on my belly and I swear to God, I’ve never known a feeling like it. Totally overwhelmed with love that I couldn’t express because I was so exhausted, but it was there. T2 was born when I was barely conscious but I still felt an instant love.
However, with a new baby, I think the word “love” could be substituted with the term “protectiveness.” When you love someone, you love who they are; their personality, their quirky little ways, their odd mannerisms, funny habits and endearing qualities. None of that applies with a newborn. They are grumpy little blobs a lot of the time who otherwise do very little, and yet the instinct to protect can be utterly consuming. For weeks after my girls were born, I would stare at them and cry, pulling them to my chest like I’d never let go. I felt such an overwhelming sense of responsibility, and felt so fiercely protective of them that I quite happily may never have left the house for fear of what may happen to them. It all took me by huge surprise because of the disconnection I’d felt whilst pregnant.
The real “love” comes with time. You start to see those funny little mannerisms and individuality, enhanced when you have more than one, and you start to love them for who they are. My twins are nearly two and I swear I love them more every day (is that even possible?)!
I’ve yet to encounter anyone who can share my experience of pre-natal blues (is there anyone out there…?) but many women struggle afterwards so I do feel – in hindsight – lucky in that respect. I guess the thing to remember, with pre or post-natal blues, is that bubba won’t remember those early days anyway, so there’s time to get close!
Sending love to all mamas doing their best!