I am about to admit something that I never thought I would tell anyone. It is something that I struggled with and was afraid of for a long time, just thinking about it now is breaking my heart. I have even gone back and forth about posting this blog. I've had it written for months, but didn't want to open up and be as vulnerable as I'm about to be. BUT, I feel it's important enough to post. So here it goes....
I was afraid I wouldn't love my daughter when she was born and I didn't. I know some of you are probably going, "what?!?! How is that even possible? There's no way!" And I'm telling you, "yeah, it can happen."
While I was pregnant women would always tell me how connected they would feel to their babies while they were pregnant; how they already felt a strong bond between themselves and their unborn children. Some even told me the connection they felt during pregnancy was so strong that once the baby was born they would feel empty because they felt they were missing that bond.
I definitely did not feel that way.
Yes, I was ecstatic to become a mother and yes, I was so extremely excited to be starting my little family...but I didn't feel a strong connection to the baby growing inside me. It was a "super cute 'soon to be baby' parasite." I did get excited and think it was cool when I would feel her kick or move around (I absolutely loved that... Well, until the last few months ;) ), but that was the extent of what I felt.
I don't know why I didn't really feel anything. All I knew is that I wanted to feel something. I started feeling inadequate because I thought I should be feeling more. As time went on so did this lack of feelings; I became deathly afraid that those feelings wouldn't ever come, that I would never really love my daughter.
Well, January 11th FINALLY came and Alice was born! It was an amazing day that of course has changed my life forever! I was so happy and excited to welcome my DAUGHTER (still a bit weird to say) into this world! Everything was a bit of a whirlwind after she was delivered. When I finally had a moment to stop and assess my feelings, I didn't feel the way I wanted or the way I thought I was "supposed to feel". Yeah, I had a feeling of responsibility, I wanted to care for her, and thought she was precious; however, all of that was fairly superficial. I only loved her in a "I want to take care of her" kind of way and was amazed by the whole process of pregnancy and child birth. I didn't feel like I *really* loved her the way I should or hoped I would. It's not that I didn't want to; I would have given anything to feel that amazing head over heels in love with your brand new baby feeling I always hear women talk about!!
I felt like my fear had become my reality. I would look at her and wonder, "Do I actually did love her?" Then would wonder if she was aware of my feelings. (Because that's all I needed... To start screwing my child up emotionally already.)
After we left the hospital I actually had the opportunity to take care of my completely helpless baby. As I came to know her I started to fall in love. My love for her grew a little deeper each day.
When Alice was about 3 months old I was breast feeding her and there was nothing out of the ordinary. I looked away from her for only a minute. As I turned back I saw her in a way I had never seen her before. I don't know how to explain it other than I was overcome with love. So much so I started bawling!! There was a burning in my bosom, and, no, it was not just my "let-down". ;) I was in love with my daughter, more than I had ever been!! What was even more amazing was that it was a much more intense feeling than what I had been expecting to feel.
Now when she and I stare at each other there is no question that there is tons of love radiating between us and I just want to kiss and hold her all the time!! I was so worried about not loving her that it actually prevented me from starting. I didn't want it to be "wrong" or leave something to be desired. I should have realized there is no wrong way to love; every relationship is different. Sometimes it takes time, and that is perfectly ok.
Since January I have grown to love Alice more than life itself and cannot wait to see her grow into a beautiful woman and see how much more my love for her grows!