Don't feel bad if you don't feel an instant bond with your newborn baby.
A dear friend of mine gave birth to her first child recently. In line with the general craziness, insomnia
and complete shake up of life that goes with the arrival of a precious little person, she felt like something was missing.
She said, “I don’t feel like a mom yet. I don’t have that bond everyone talks about. I think I’m doing this wrong”.
I’d like to – straight up and firmly – YELL at everyone who somehow insinuates that the moment you lay eyes on your child for the very first time, you will feel instantly bonded and that you’ll live forever in this bubble of parental bliss
that is dominated by gurgles and cutesy booties.
Parenting is NOT LIKE THAT. Not from the moment you meet your child; not when they walk and not even when they leave home to become some world-renowned artist or activist. Yes, there are cute moments, and moments of incredible joy that’ll make you leap into the sky.
But they are the punctuation marks on this journey. The sentences in between are the true footsteps that you’ll take with your child. Those sentences are the hard work, the sleepless nights and the seemingly infinite notion that you might just be screwing this up somewhere. Parenting is HARD.
Parenting is NOT some life-affirming experience that suddenly gives you purpose and clears the path of every other piece of life administration. You are NOT suddenly removed of all other responsibilities and nothing but parenting will pull you in as many different directions at the same time.
Absolutely no experience will tear you up inside as much as becoming a parent does. And that’s why the notion that, immediately after giving birth you’ll feel some kind of otherworldly magic rain down on your life, is total and utter rubbish.
Yes, when my daughter was born, I looked at her, overwhelmed with love. And total terror. That terror only ended about two years later – when she was a walking, talking, eating personality that could tell me exactly how she’d like things and whether or not she was happy. If I were to be completely honest, I’m still a little scared each day that I might just be screwing this up entirely, but that I’ve raised her to be too polite to tell me.
Parenting will make you question every choice you make (right down to the shampoo you use). It will make you question your character – you might be able to command a boardroom with confidence, but I don’t think the same can be applied to commanding the attention of toddler
who is hell bent on decorating the walls with koki pens.
Hang in there, moms and dads who are frightened by the seemingly happy families portrayed on television. The truth about that magical bond that’s supposed to arrive when you create life is this:
It doesn’t just arrive along with this precious bundle. That bond will be formed in the every day of your parenting life. It’s in the history you create, the holding of a sick baby at 3am and it’s in that moment where your kid flings their arms around your neck when you pick them up from school at the end of the day.
The magic isn’t given to you, the moment you see your baby. You make it, every single day of the rest of your life.
When did you feel that magic moment with your kid?