Women love to tell their birth stories, often sparing nothing. Luckily, I consider myself a birth junkie so I enjoy hearing every minute detail. No matter what took place from the time the mom knew it was time to head to the hospital to the moment her baby was placed in her arms, every single mother told me that as soon as their baby was placed in their arms, they fell in love.
Don’t get me wrong, I loved my babies with my first embrace of their floppy new bodies. I felt immediate momma bear instincts to care and nurture for my young. But that heart-bursting, I-feel-like-I-might-pass-out-because-how-deeply-I’m-in-love-with-them, well that didn’t happen at birth. In fact with my oldest, Evelyn, it didn’t happen for a very long time. I was struggling with breastfeeding so much that I became resentful of my little piranha instead of falling in love. I also am (to a fault) too logical about feelings and I didn’t know how to be in love with someone I didn’t know. But when it did come, oh how it overcame me.
Because of my experience with Evelyn, I was prepared that I might not experience the same emotions I heard countless other mom’s speak of with my second baby. I struggled knowing that I was different–wondering if there was something wrong with me because I wasn’t like every other mother I knew. I felt guilty and ashamed to admit it, and when my second baby girl, Penny, was placed on my chest, I loved her, but again–I wasn’t in love with her.
It didn’t take long though and seven weeks and one day into Penny’s life, I can identify the exact moment I fell in love with my second daughter. That morning I was feeding her and she kept interrupting her nursing session to look up at me with these heart-melting toothless grins with milk still dribbling down her chin. She finished eating and with a full tummy and a look of satisfaction, I laid her next to me in bed. We sat and stared into each other’s eyes. I spoke to her telling her how much I loved her and what I wished for her. She slowly drifted off to sleep, nestled beside me.
I sat and stared at her for what felt like hours and in that moment, a wave of emotion that is impossible to describe came over me. The kind of feeling I imagined most new mothers were describing–what I so desperately had hoped I would feel.
In that moment, I fell in love with my daughter.