By Contributing Mama Jordana Bales
It’s been 5 weeks since I had my second daughter, Lila Drew, and I can finally say I’m starting to really like this little girl. In fact, wait… let me take my emotional temperature… yes, I think it may be love.
When Ava was born, two and a half years ago, I was shocked that I didn’t immediately feel an outpouring of love for her. Wasn’t I supposed to be filled with maternal warmth and tenderness? Where was the mother instinct of immediately and without thought sacrificing my own life to save hers?
The only automatic maternal action I had was telling my husband to go with her to the NICU rather than stay with me immediately following her birth. And I was shocked at my unselfish regard – I wanted someone to watch out for this little creature and since I was still on the operating table, Michael had to go with her and leave me. A nice action, yes, but it didn’t feel like a result of maternal love. Concern maybe, but love? Not so much.
My mother, a few days after Ava was born, asked me, ‘Can you imagine your life without this baby?’ I thought to myself, ‘You mean like two weeks ago?’ Yes, I could imagine it. Now with Lila, I have the same thoughts. Can I imagine playing with my toddler without uttering the phrase, ‘Please don’t step on your sister’s head….again.’? Can I imagine not waking up in a pool of breast milk? Could I imagine not having two crying children? You mean like two months ago? Absolutely.
I never would have admitted that I didn’t feel an immediate bond with my children but after chatting on-line with many women, I realized that it was not all that uncommon to have to wait a bit to experience motherly love. In my experience, bonding takes time. After all, for the first three months or so they really are like little poopie warm loafs of bread. They eat, they sleep, they poop, they spit up. Repeat. Sure they smell good and look cute (after they go through that awkward scrunchy, old-man, newborn phase) but that ain’t enough to get my love.
After 5 weeks, Lila’s doing a bit more – I think I saw a smile or two (I know, I know it’s gas) and I believe I may have heard some cooing. It’s not enough for me to fall instantly in love, as many mothering books and celebrity blogs promised – but I am falling for this little monkey, a little more every day.