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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.

13 Responses to falling in love… slowly

  • Paula says:

    Sharing the unspoken side of motherhood- the truth Hope Lila's head is okay (the visual made me laugh)

  • Yvie says:

    I love what you've said. Your honesty has reached through my heart. When I gave birth to my son, when I first took glance of him, I felt that my heart is going to burst, I am not sure if I did cry. This feeling was only for a while. days and months went ahead and I always felt tired and I can't even carry my own son. 🙁 I felt guilty about this.

    Thank you for sharing this very honest post.

  • Kristen M says:

    I too love your honesty. I only wish I had been able to read this (and believe it) before the birth of my first child. Thanks for sharing your feelings.

  • Mom says:

    Jordana, I'm happy to say that I feel a strong motherly love for YOU, but I can't tell you exactly when it kicked in. It seems as if it's always been there (even if you didn't always know it). I am proud of you as a mother, a daughter, a writer and (yes) an advisor.

  • Aunt Marcia says:

    I'm in love with both the girls…and Lila Drew's baby farts sealed the deal. She's one of us….love you too…A.M.

  • Gabriella's mom says:

    A beautiful post. I remember how upset I was when nursing Gabriella didn't go as as I had imagined it would be. I felt horrible about it and felt even worse that she cried as I attempted to nurse her. We got through it and she didn't starve as you know. Lila is a gorgeous baby, you are doing it and you deserve a big gold medal if you ask me!

  • Annie says:

    I felt this way about 6 months ago with the birth of my second daughter. I couldn't and wouldn't explain it to anyone for fear of being a bad mommy. And just like your first paragraph says one day while she was smiling I realized that I did in fact like her, that I was falling in love with her. Thanks for letting me know I'm not the only one who felt this way

  • Michael B. says:

    In the next 5 years, let’s put away another $650. Then 5 years from now we can decide to do one of two things. Option 1, get another DUI (come on, rearranging the letters like this is a little clever) to avoid having any surprise baby turtles. Option 2, purchase an iPod nano and ask the doctor to replace the DUI with it. That way, our arriving little turtle can listen to our own customized party mix for 9 months.


  • Citizen of New York says:

    Wow… I never saw this side of motherly love! You have taught me a great deal about parental love. I guess even newborn children take a while to interact with in order for love to arise, huh. This has inspired me to explore more into emotional psychology 😉

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