I had many reservations about how to adjust to life with another baby before Juliet’s birth. The biggest one being how I would ever love another child as much as I loved Drake. These thoughts plagued me the last month before I gave birth, and I cried quite a few times thinking about it. Drakey was my first baby — the one that taught me what love really was and the one that made me a mother — how in the world could I love another human being as much as I loved him?
In some ways I saw the baby as someone who would change the life I had grown accustomed to as a family of three. The routines I was used to were now going to be thrown into chaos as we adjusted to this new person in our home. My time spent with Drake would also be changed. What if I didn’t feel attached to the new baby because of all these things? Worse yet — what if I resented the baby for the upheaval and for taking time away from the child I already loved so dearly?
I comforted myself with the reminder that when Drake was born, I didn’t naturally bond with him either. Movies and TV shows always show a new mom instantly falling head over heels in love with their new baby and while that might happen often, I fully admit that I didn’t have that moment when Drake was born. Instead the emotion I felt at his birth was relief — relief to be finally done, relief the pain was over, relief that baby and I both survived the long labor. But instant love… no.
I remember peering down at him after the nurse handed him to me, this tiny bundle, and wondering when that overwhelming wave of love would hit me. It didn’t. The first time I was woken up by his cries, I didn’t feel it. The first time he latched on, I didn’t feel it. Then came our breastfeeding issues that spiraled into weight loss, formula battles with Mr. Chocolate, and sleep problems, and I felt like we were just barely surviving. I knew I cared for this little being, but overall I felt more responsibility and obligation and less overwhelming love. It felt like I had welcomed a stranger into my life – a stranger who demanded my time, energy, and sacrifice without regard to my feelings.
Then something changed. Not overnight, but slowly. I can’t even remember what started it all to be honest.
It might have been a smile, then a laugh. Then recognition when I walked in the room. Little by little a personality started to shine through. I started to learn what I had to do to elicit those smiles and laughs. Slowly we moved past being strangers and one day I woke up and realized I had fallen utterly and absolutely head over heels in love with this baby. It wasn’t love at first sight, but rather a love cultivated as we learned about one another and worked through our challenges and trials. It took time but when it finally happened, it was more than I ever thought love could be and every day I find I fall more in love with him.
Remembering this experience, I told myself that if Juliet and I didn’t bond instantly it was ok. Love isn’t always instant as my experience with Drake showed me, but that doesn’t mean its any less wonderful or special when it takes time. Then they placed this little baby girl on my chest and I looked at her and she looked at me and a wave of love washed over me so unexpectedly. All the fears I had stressed and worried about over the last few months melted away. Looking at her face was like seeing a dear friend after years of separation. I felt complete, whole, and in love. Love works in such mysterious ways.
Was it love at first sight for did it take a little while for the bond to develop? And did you bond differently with your second child than your first?