I admit it. I’m one of those people who dreamed of a big family long before I should have been dreaming of having babies. At one point in my teenage years, I was convinced I wanted 10 little ones running around. When I reached the point where having babies was a reality, which for me was when I was 20, I planned out getting pregnant with my partner and we did just that.
Thirty-seven weeks after our first try, I welcomed my first son into the world after a short induction. I remember seeing this eight pound, eleven ounce little boy and thinking how surreal it all was. I nursed him, spent 24 hours in the hospital and went home completely responsible for this new life.
During those first few weeks of engorged boobs and sleepless nights, I remember staring down at him and wondering what was wrong with me. Here was this baby I had wanted since as far back as I could remember and I wasn’t madly in love with him. I loved him, sure. What I wasn’t feeling was that all-encompassing, mad passionate love everyone talked about. I didn’t meet this little person and feel like my world had changed. I didn’t look at him all googly-eyed and mushy, wondering how I had ever lived before him. He was just there. I would have jumped in front of a speeding train in order to protect him, but I didn’t have all those feelings everyone told me I would have.
“I didn’t meet this little person and feel like my world had changed.”
What was wrong with me? What type of mother was I? What was I thinking? Why didn’t I love my baby? Why couldn’t I talk to anyone without feeling like the worst mother on earth?
Somewhere around the six month mark, I fell in love with my son. Slowly, I started to get that mushy feeling everyone talked about. I started to notice his perfect eyelashes and how tiny his hands were curled around my finger. I saw my eyes and the curl of my lip on his face. I felt that ache when I left him to go to the store, as well as that panic when I woke up and he was still asleep. I felt like the mother I thought I was supposed to be from the moment I gave birth and saw his face for the first time.
What I have learned giving birth to four boys is that I am human and not a super mom. I’ve learned that giving birth to someone doesn’t mean an automatic rush of storybook love. I’ve learned that what I feel and what you feel isn’t the same. I’ve learned that those feelings do come in time. I’ve learned that for some people, you have to get to know someone to be IN love with them. I’ve learned that I’m an amazing mom, but for me it took time to be what I wanted to be immediately.
“I’ve learned that giving birth to someone doesn’t mean an automatic rush of storybook love.”
Most importantly, I’ve learned I’m not broken, that I’m okay just as I am. And so are you.
If you’re ever feeling alone or worried about talking through the things you are dealing with and are in the greater Jacksonville area, please come check out our support groups at The Jacksonville Doulas. Our support groups are free and there is not a sales component. They are simply there for you to find support, speak your truth without judgment, and to find parents going through similar situations to offer you some peace. Because ultimately, aren’t we all just looking for that familiar connection?