August 2, 2018
A week after Finn was born I shared this image + this caption to my Instagram page:
“Did you bond with your babies immediately? I did with Mabel. But with Abigail, and now Finn, it has taken me a little extra time to get there. I think that childbirth is so shocking and so surreal that it is nearly impossible to wrap my mind around the entirety of it. This meeting of my child, who I know that I love, but I don’t actually know at all. I kept telling Jim that I felt a bit detached- but that wasn’t quite the right word. Almost more just a state of shock that he is actually HERE and REAL and MINE. But with every snuggle, every nursing session, every coo, and every little thing I experience with him, I find myself falling completely head over heels for him.”
Here’s the thing. I lied to you guys. Because I wasn’t actually falling head over heels for him.
Not then, at least.
It’s no surprise that it has taken me over 10 months to write this post because, well, Mom guilt like whoa.
It’s true, it did take me a little while to bond with Abigail. If you were to ask me or Jim which transition was the hardest for us- we would both agree that the whole 0 kids to 1 kid thing was the one. And I think that played the most into my bonding with her. First time Mom and all of that. But, by six weeks? I was a goner- totally enamored and infatuated with my new baby girl.
And, as I mentioned, it was from the very first second with Mabel.
But with Finn?
I don’t know. I can’t explain it.
I was so, so glad to know that a little boy was coming. I have always wanted a son. I was so happy to have a son! But I was so scared about him.
I kept reading all of these things about what it is like to have a boy and to tell you the truth- I wasn’t particularly thrilled about any of it. Noise? Pee? Trucks? Dirt? Spit? Endless Energy? Like- I wanted HIM- but all of the stuff everyone told me was going to come with it just had me….really stressed.
And then he came- and it was shocking. Looking back- maybe some postpartum stuff that I didn’t recognize? I wasn’t emotional. In fact, I’d say the complete opposite. Totally void of any emotions.
At the time, I prided myself on that. I didn’t feel crazy, I wasn’t swinging back and forth with up and down emotions. But truthfully, I didn’t feel anything at all.
I knew that I loved him. but I didn’t FEEL like I did. I took care of him every bit as wonderfully as the girls (maybe even more!) but I was just meh about it.
I took the pictures and I wrote the captions and I chronicled his babyness. But I just wasn’t FEELING it. At all.
Until he got sick. He had just turned 4 months old and had an unexplained fever for a few days during the peak of flu season. I ended up taking him to urgent care (where there was absolutely nothing wrong with him???) and when I got home with him- I literally felt a cracking open of my heart to him. It was an actual physical sensation where, for the very first time, I felt that- rock you to your core, change who you are, love.
And shortly behind that came the sweeping guilt of the past four months of not having that.
I hadn’t realized it, really. Until then. And I didn’t want to tell anyone about it either.
What kind of Mom was I??
Jim told me that the fact that I took care of him the way that I did, particularly when I didn’t feel anything- shows just how much I love him. But that still felt irrelevant to me.
I wanted a re-do. To go back and feel all of the things I should have felt.
I can look at the pictures from that time and remember exactly how I felt. And I look at them now and feel something totally different. It’s so strange.
I remember reading my birth story a few times after I had him and feeling literally nothing. But I read it the other day and I cried. So, a pretty drastic difference there!
Basically I had an epiphany.
And it is this:
That I absolutely love and adore him because he. is. mine.
It doesn’t matter that he is a boy. It doesn’t matter if he loves trucks, hates trucks, pees on everything (or not), is loud or is quiet. It doesn’t matter whether I’m good at being a “boy mom” (because I’ve been super super worried that I’ll be terrible at it) but I have had to let that go too- because my fear of myself was keeping me from loving him fully.
It doesn’t matter if I don’t understand all of the sports, all of the mud and bugs (or not), the super heroes, or any of the stereotypical little boy things that I have read about (and have yet to experience, personally).
It matters that he is mine and that he is loved.
And he is both.
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