Last summer, Mr. Wand (poor guy, I can’t think of a better pseudonym for him. Maybe The Wizard?!) and I were ready for a baby. We had done everything together we wanted to do and we were ready for “something new,” as he put it. We did all the prep work before “starting to try”—doctor’s appointments, genetic testing, prenatal vitamins, stopping birth control—so I still don’t know why I was in such a state of shock when it actually happened!
As I stared the positive pregnancy test—the result we specifically set out to achieve—I have to admit that my first thought was, “What did I do?!” Let’s call that panic, which quickly turned into denial.
A trip to the drugstore and three additional tests later, the denial morphed into disconnection from the entire experience. I wasn’t sad or anxious about being pregnant, I just didn’t feel immediately maternal in the way I thought I would. Some quick web research revealed this feeling to be quite common (thanks Mayo Clinic, Psychology Today and all other credible and non-credible sources!).
By 10 weeks, I had given it a lot of thought and spent a lot of time rationalizing my feelings so that I didn’t feel like a “bad mother” or even someone who didn’t want to be a mother. Of course I want to be a mother. It’s just now that I was actually doing it, it was different than I expected. (Which I would imagine is setting me up for a lifetime of discovering almost the exact same thing about parenting.)
I finally landed on two reasons for my lack of early connection. Focusing on these helped me get past that initial place of apathy to where I am now, which is full of love, hope and anticipation.
1. Pregnancy is spending 40 weeks on the verge of something really big.
Perhaps it’s because what happens at the end of this long period of time is something that I can’t comprehend yet. I have always wanted children. I’ve thought about it for years. But once it happened, maybe it was only natural to be in awe of something that I had been planning for a long time. I can listen to a thousand other moms tell me: “There is nothing like being a mom,” “It is love at first sight,” “You can’t believe you can love someone so much,” but until I am actually experiencing it myself, all I can do is imagine how that feels. And honestly, I have to have faith that I will feel that way.
2. Having a baby is a major, permanent life change.
Most of us approach change with some anxiety, worry and wondering. We manage that worry with planning, preparation and lots of thought. I’m starting to discover why we get those 40 weeks to prepare for baby. Because at the beginning, it feels like all the time in the world. There was a long period when I didn’t have to worry about picking a name, writing a birth plan, buying maternity clothes, selecting a pediatrician or painting a nursery. I didn’t have to do anything except adjust to being pregnant and keep myself healthy. That I could manage.
Remembering this is what got me through the first few months of pregnancy and calmed me when I started to feel overwhelmed. As it turns out, the baby and I were growing together, getting to know each other, becoming comfortable together. I hope this continues for the rest of our lives.
Were you connected right away? Or did the idea of being a mom need time to grow?