The most unmaternal mother, ever?
This mom just can’t seem to get worked up about her baby-to-be.
By Tamaryn Watkins
I spent some time with family over the weekend. Somehow I got handed my sister's new-born, twice. It felt awkward. Holding a baby felt totally foreign and it made me panic. It was like holding a bag full of squishy hammers. I didn’t quite know what to do with it. This made me panic a little, I won’t lie. Why? Because I’m 26 weeks pregnant, myself. Also? It’s not my first pregnancy. I have five year old son, too.
A baby called "it"
Being that I’ve done this new-born thing before, I should KNOW how to hold a baby, right? That maternal instinct thing should kick in and it should tell me how to comfort a baby and it should make me WANT to hold a squidgy new-born, right? Except that’s not the way it is with me. I kept referring to her new baby boy as “it”. As in “hey, I think it’s having a crap. Its face has gone all red.”
I’m not very maternal. I can’t seem to help it. I don’t immediately start cooing when I see little baby booties and my uterus most certainly does not skip a beat when I smell freshly-applied baby powder. I don’t like admiring other people’s babies or children and whenever a colleague shows me a picture of their kid, I never really know what the appropriate response is. Well, actually, I do know. It’s “wow, he/she (it) is adorable. You are so lucky!” Except I can’t fake that convincingly, so I don’t really try and this usually results some weird looks from other people, as I expect that they’d imagined that we’d bond over this whole parenthood thing.
Second-time pregnancy fears
Going back to that feeling of panic. The truth is my second pregnancy worries me. It was easy to be blissfully ignorant the first time around. We had no clue what was really on the other side of that mountainous belly, but this time we do. While I might not remember how to hold a new-ish baby, I definitely do remember the sleepless nights, the crying (his), the post-natal depression and more crying (mine).
People keep asking me if I’m excited about another baby. Here’s another truth. I’m not excited. First, because a rounded bump seems to be an excuse for people to want to invade my personal space bubble, and rub it. Secondly, because I’m worried that it won’t all come rushing back and that I’ll have to learn to be a mother, all over again.
So far, my coping mechanism has been denial. Not easy when you’ve got your head stuck down a toilet bowl. Not easy when people keep darting in for unsolicited belly rubs. I haven’t bought anything baby-related; I haven’t read anything baby-related. But denial can be seen as ungrateful.
I’m not ungrateful. I love my first Kid, beyond belief. But this one that’s currently taking up occupation in my body, I have no idea who he is. All he represents in my life right now is upheaval and uncertainty. How are we going to manage with two children? How am I going to manage with two children? Am I going to have enough love left over for a second baby? Will I love my first child any less because of the second?
What if I really have forgotten all of it? What if I’m even worse a mother, the second time around?
Have you felt a deep bond towards your unborn baby?