I thought that as soon as I saw him I would feel an overwhelming sense of love for him. But, I have a confession to make… I didn’t.
I mean, I did love my son desperately, but in those first few weeks I didn’t FEEL a lot of love for him. At least not the gooey, lovey-dovey feelings that I expected to feel. What I felt more than anything else was terrified and stressed. I felt so overwhelmingly responsible for my son and his well-being, but I didn’t feel overwhelmingly connected to him.
I vividly remember the first time my mother-in-law saw my son. I could see the love on her face. The first time she saw him she cried. It was beautiful, but honestly, it made me angry. I hadn’t cried when I saw him. How come she felt all this love for him and connection to him, when I didn’t …and he’s MY son!
Then throughout the first few months well-meaning fellow mommies would make comments to me, saying things like, “Isn’t the love you feel for him just amazing and overwhelming?!?” – stuff like that. And I would smile and nod and then go crying to my husband because I was convinced that something was wrong with me. I did love my child, but it was not in any way like the love that people described. It wasn’t at all like the love that I had expected to feel.
Over the past 9 months I have slowly realized as I prayed and worked through some of my fears, as I read other mommy blogs and as I talked to dear friends, that there wasn’t really anything wrong with me. Some women do feel the gushy-gooey, lovey-dovey feelings for their baby right away, but plenty of other women (like me) don’t. There’s so much to deal with in those early days, when your hormones are out of control and your sleep is sporadic, that for some of us all the other feelings drowned out the lovey-dovey feelings.
For me my relationship with my son didn’t start with a thunder bolt of beauty and revelation, or with an all encompassing overwhelming feeling of love. Instead it started with a small, but unbreakably strong seed. A seed that I have had the joy of watching grow as my child grows. Each day I know him better. Each day I love him more. Sometimes now I am completely awash with love for him. Sometimes it’s so strong that I feel my heart will break from it. Sometimes I feel like I have so much love for him that I can’t get it out fast enough.
But, it wasn’t that way at the beginning. And now that I’m past those early days of motherhood I know that’s ok.
How about you? What did you feel when you had your first child?
Rejoicing in the journey - Bethany Stedman