Falling in Love with Your Children Takes Time

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A mother looking at her newborn.I’m going to say something that most new moms have never heard before. But it’s the truth, and it’s important to hear. 

When you have your baby, it may not feel like love at first sight. There. I said it. 

Don’t get me wrong. You will unconditionally love your child from the moment you learn of their existence. But you may not fall in love with your child for quite some time.

One of the problems with being a new mom is that the expectations are outrageous, the pressure is high, and the guilt is strong. I remember people saying, “Wait until you see your baby for the first time. It’s love at first sight.”

I could not wait to get my hands on my baby to feel that same overwhelming feeling of love. My eyes would tear up just thinking about my baby looking into my eyes for the first time. 

I’ll spare you the details of my first birth because it was a unique situation filled with lots of emotions and fear. However, I carried tremendous guilt with my second daughter that I didn’t cry when she was born. I cried with my first. Why didn’t I cry when I saw her? I knew I loved her. But why didn’t I feel this rush of love that everyone said I would feel?

Over the months, I thought back on her birth over and over. I asked myself, “Why didn’t I cry when I looked into her eyes for the very first time?” I remember being happy and thinking she looked like her sister. But the cold hard truth was I was tired. I was hungry. I was cold. I was confused. I was in pain. The moment was highly anticlimactic. I waited and longed for this feeling of overjoy, but I didn’t feel it. 

Let’s all be honest and see the reality of new motherhood. The baby is sweet and adorable. But they also can’t reciprocate those emotions. They can’t tell you they love you or thank you for waking up five times per night to feed them. They can’t kiss or play with you yet. In fact, they can’t do much at all. 

What I learned in new motherhood is that our bond with our children is a process.

Over the months of getting to know my babies and caring for their every need, I fell madly in love with them. So in love that I have never felt this type of love for anything in my entire life. This was it. This was the feeling I was hoping for when they were born. 

I’ve learned that the feeling doesn’t hit you like a ton of bricks. The feeling grows on you until you overflow with love, so much so that you might burst. 

The feeling develops as you watch your baby reach for you from across the room. It’s when their giggle catches you by surprise and leaves you both smiling ear to ear. It happens when your toddler falls and gets hurt, and you suddenly feel like you’d do anything to take the pain away from them. It’s when they kiss you and tell you they love you when you’re in a terrible mood.

These moments add up, and that feeling grows so strong it’s palpable.

It took me months to admit this to my husband because I feared he’d think something was wrong with me. I was relieved to find out that he felt the same way. 

Now, when pregnant mamas ask me for my one piece of advice, I always tell them the truth about falling in love with your children. It may not be what they want to hear, but it will save them from months of guilt knowing that this is normal. I have told all of my best friends this same advice, and not surprisingly, they had those same feelings. The first time my sister-in-law explained her very raw and vulnerable new mom feelings, I could sense she felt what I did. I quickly told her my story and heard her take a huge sigh of relief. 

Moms. Tell people the truth. New moms need to hear that their expectations of loving their child, at first sight, may not come to fruition. AND IT’S NORMAL!

So mama, it’s OK if you don’t cry after the birth of your child. It’s OK if you don’t feel an overwhelming rush of emotions. It’s OK if it’s not what you expected it to feel like. It’s OK. We know you love your child. But I promise you, with some time, you will fall in love with your child harder than you could have ever imagined. And it will all be so worth it. 

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