There was that final push and right after a wiggly baby girl was handed right off to me to hold for the very first time. Sure, there was instant love, but was it as ginormous as what other people try to describe? Not really. Doesn’t that sound terrible? I feel terrible for saying it now, but bonding didn’t come instantly for me. I was so tired and in so much pain from her breaking my tailbone on the way out that I was forcing it.
Don’t force it.
I feel like a lot of people make it sound like we need to feel instant perfect bonding with our newborn. However, that’s not how it happened for me. I had to spend some time with her, care for her and watch her settle down in my arms before I realized that she was so perfect- and was mine. Bonding is still happening and I take advantage of those extra cuddles when I can- especially when I successfully get her to calm down. It’s my way of rewarding both of us for getting through a fussy fit. We did it, baby girl, we changed your nasty diaper and now I can enjoy kissing on your belly to get the happy arm flapping.
Feeding wasn’t instantly comfortable for me either. I chose to breastfeed and some women brag that they feel the warm fuzzy bonding from having that quiet time with their little one. For the first week, breast feeding sucked- pun intended. There was cracking, blistering and the cluster feeding was a total killer. I was tired and uncomfortable which made breast feeding a dreaded chore. Now that I’m using the nipple shields I can relax while I feed her, but dang is she a piglet. Don’t stress out right away if you feel like your newborn is shredding you to pieces. No one is forcing you to breast feed anyways, if it gets that bad no one should tell you what to do- You’re the mama. Now I can enjoy the quiet time with her and watch her fall asleep slowly. While my husband is sleeping (that jerk…) I enjoy the dark quiet time in our room with her getting her fed and back to sleep. Slowly, it has become a time where I get to study all of her perfect little features, I can memorize her features now so that as she grows I’ll always remember where she started.
And most importantly for my bonding with Audra- I got close. Literally. I take the time to bring my face close to hers and we enjoy the time to study each other, make noises towards each other and feel her tiny breathing against my cheek. It’s pretty amazing when she responds and gets calm seeing my face up close. It really is the type of thing that will make your heart melt. I’m not always the most emotionally available person, but to her, I’ve completely opened up.
So don’t beat yourself up and know that you have time to build a relationship with your child. This is the most important relationship you’ll have and in the very beginning you two are “strangers”. Bonding gets stronger over time- as it should. You’ll love them even more by learning that you are the most important person to them for their care. You’ll see so quickly how much they love you already and trust me…you can’t help but give them your heart.