I think there’s a huge baby myth that needs debunking.
The myth is that you will fall in love with your baby right away.
On some level, you love your kid in that you instinctively care for them. But as far as being crazy in love from the get-go? That’s not a hard and fast rule.
It’s kind of like the whole love at first sight thing. I suppose it happens for some people. You see a guy in the grocery store and are writing your vows in your head as you approach him in the produce section, where you both agree you want three kids, a dog and a house near the good schools.
I’m not a “love at first sight” kind of girl.
For many of us, we have to figure out the other person. Go for a drink. Go for another drink.
We have to get to know them, get used to them, let them grow on us.
In short, we have to court the people we choose to love.
And that’s how babies are. I have had to get to know my kids before I could definitively say I loved them.
Initially, I thought something was wrong with me when I wasn’t all flowers and sunshine about my new babes.
I never had postpartum – at least, not to the point where I was concerned about my well-being or the well-being of my kids.
But I also never felt an instant connection with either of them. In fact, when studying them during what some call “infancy” and what we call “blob phase,” I decided my children were odd-looking, sea monkey parasites who were attached to me – literally – all the time, creepily sucking the life out of me.
I also decided that if we were going to make this relationship work, I’d have to take the time to get to know my child.
At the start, most of our bonding happened during feedings. The baby gets a free meal and I try to impress it by doing improv storytelling.
We have tension early on, because the baby is super dramatic, crying about EVERYTHING. The kid quickly learns that I have my own emotional baggage as well, and eventually, we just cry together.
But then the smiles start. It’s the tiniest bit of interaction, but it means everything. The baby focusing on my face and smiling completely revives our relationship.
We hit and celebrate milestones – like the baby holding up its head and me losing a few of the MANY post-prego pounds.
We get to know each others’ likes and dislikes.
For example, I now know Eliza likes being outside – especially near water – and dislikes being swaddled. I’m not certain, but I think she has learned that I love cheese and dislike the dog hair that covers my home.
I miss her when I’m not with her. I close my eyes and picture her face, and it makes me smile.
It has taken eight weeks, but I am finally falling in love with my baby.