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'I'm not a bad mother'

 
This mom found that it took effort to love and bond with her baby.
By Heather Janse van Rensburg
Article originally in Parent24

The first person to tell me I might not immediately bond with my baby once he/she was born was Oprah. She had a candid tell-all show where moms came clean on all the things they wish they were told. This was one of the things that came up.

I had a lot of trouble bonding with Babyice while I was pregnant. I never thought the pregnancy would result in an actual live baby, it hadn’t before. Why would it this time? I know. I’m not rational. I loved it when he kicked me, but couldn’t get around to talking to him. I didn’t even finish his room.

When he was born it was a little unreal. There was this baby, he was mine. We’d made him and he was beautiful. I loved him, but not like you hear people describe all the time. Not like you think you’re supposed to. For the next few days and weeks we went through a rough time. We were struggling immensely with the breastfeeding, he wasn’t sleeping much and crying a lot. Not ideal, but I didn’t want to send him back (whether or not I joked about it).

I was told to talk to him and to cuddle him and to pass kisses on to him, but this was difficult.

What do I do with him? What could I possibly say to him? It is not as if he understands me. It’s not as if he is going to answer me. He doesn’t really do anything, just eats, sleeps and poops. I have found, however, that my love for him has grown with every passing day.

Over time we have gotten to know each other and now I can have a full on conversation with him. It certainly helps that he is more animated and alert and that he smiles at me and I can tell he is happy/comforted when I hold him. I smother him with cuddles and kisses. He is too gorgeous and his personality is emerging.

When he wakes me, from a nap or in the morning, I can be less than pleasant. I’m not a morning person. I’m a grump when I wake up, but then I peek over the cot, he spots me and flashes me a gummy smile, all my irritation and grumpiness dissolves. I just want to pick him up and devour him. He has the cutest feet, they regularly get kisses.

Just before his birth a friend reminded me not to worry if we didn’t bond instantly and that it was completely normal. I’m glad I was reminded of this. I still felt guilty for not having those maternal feelings I was "supposed" to have, but I remembered that I was not the first mother to experience this.

So if you don’t instantly bond with your baby, don’t worry. You are not a bad mother. Some people do instantly bond and I don’t think that makes them better mothers or in any way different to someone who doesn’t.

I love my baby more than anything in the world now. You will too.

Did you bond instantly with your baby? Or did you struggle just like Heather did? Share with us below.

Read more on: breastfeeding  |  bonding  |  baby
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