When I got pregnant with my first child, I was like most first time mothers. I read every book, article, and website I could so that I knew what I was getting myself into: From the week-by-week development to going back to work after delivery. Just about everything I read and the women I listened to told me about how wonderful the instant mother-child bond was. I was ready for that instant love, devotion, and absolute joy the moment I gave birth to my daughter.
Needless to say, I found out rather abruptly that the ‘instant’ mother-child bond is not something that happens to every woman and every pregnancy. I didn’t have the instant feeling. Maybe it was because I had an emergency C-section @ 35 weeks, maybe it was because my body was failing me, maybe it was because my preemie daughter was having issues, maybe it was because I wasn’t allowed to see her until more than 24 hours after delivery because we were both having issues, I don’t know. But what I do know is that NOT everyone has that instant bond and it isn’t something to be ashamed of, like I was for so many months.
It is a horrible feeling not feeling that ‘bond’ the moment you give birth, or even upon holding your baby for the first time. You feel ashamed, depressed, and unfit as a mother because you don’t feel it. It’s not that you don’t love your child, and it’s not that you wouldn’t do anything to protect them; it is just that bonded feeling is not there and you beat yourself up over it wondering what is wrong with you. If you are reading this and feeling that way now, please stop. You are not unfit and there is nothing wrong with you!
I found out later that it just doesn’t happen with every pregnancy and nobody can explain why. I had the instant bond with my second daughter, so I know the two different feelings. My first daughter is now three years old and we are truly bonded as much as I am with my ten month old. I recently read a study that suggests that the level of oxytocin hormone plays a big part in how bonded the mother becomes to her child. Now, how to we adjust the level, I don’t know.
What I do know is that I want every mother who did not feel that instant bond to actually speak up and not lie about it. By perpetuating the instant bond lie, we are making women feel unfit, ashamed, and completely all around horrible about themselves. Now, I don’t feel the need to lie about it. I did in the beginning because I was ashamed that I did something wrong by not having that bond.
My oldest daughter Joey at 4 lb. 11 oz
Two days after birth
Tina is currently a stay at home mom to her two young girls. She spent over a decade in the corporate world as a computer geek team lead and project manager. She talks about her stay at home life over at The Floundering SAHM. Tina is also blogs about online freelance writing at The Floundering Writer.
Thought up by Dawana, author of A Bittersweet Existence, as a way to share stories from a variety of Moms in one place regarding the trials and tribulations. A Stay-At-Home Mom herself who often thinks she is losing her mind, Dawana has found a great deal of comfort in the stories from other Moms and wanted to share them all in one place. If you’d like to submit a story, please feel free to email Dawana by clicking here.
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