People say that you can’t describe the kind of love you have for your child until you actually have it… and while I would agree for the most part, I’m going to try anyway.
You know that feeling in a new relationship when you’re just starting to fall in love and you’re completely infatuated? That feeling where you can’t stop thinking about the other person and you miss them the second they leave the room. That feeling where you stare at them and can’t believe they’re yours.
It’s kind of like that… 1000x. Mixed with a primal desire to protect them against anything.
But for me, those feelings didn’t come right away with Amalia, it took a minute. After talking to friends, I learned that this is more common than you would think so I hope my story helps you feel less guilty if the same thing happens to you.
When I was pregnant, I was so excited to feel the love I described above, but it didn’t happen for me right away. Whenever we’d go for an ultrasound I felt like Miranda in sex and the city and had to almost pretend to get excited when they showed her little arm or her nose.
I figured that it was a coping mechanism to not get too attached because I was so afraid of another miscarriage. After trying to get pregnant for so long, I felt extreme guilt about this, but figured that the second I met her, love would wash over me immediately… Right?
When I first saw Amalia, I was exhausted and emotional from labor but felt almost nothing towards her. That night when she stopped breathing for a minute (a story for another day) I felt a sense of panic that I didn’t know was possible. In that moment, I knew that protecting my baby would forever be the most important thing in the world to me, and that if anything ever happened to her, I would never be able to handle it.
But still, Anel described butterflies in his stomach when he looked at he during those early days, and I had none.
Her first month at home was a sleep-deprived blur and while I didn’t have PPD or PPA, and despite the fact that I was exclusively breastfeeding, I had a hard time connecting with Amalia.
Note: When I originally wrote this post, I didn’t know what was going on and was too embarrassed to fully express my emotions. You can read my update on PPD here.
And then something magical happened. I don’t know when it was exactly but sometime between one and two months I had this moment with her before I was putting her down for the night and my eyes welled up with tears and my entire body was filled with butterflies. I loved her from day one but I fell in love with her in that moment.
I smothered her in kisses and literally couldn’t stop crying and kissing her (thanks hormones).
Since then, my love for her grows more literally every day and just when I think I can’t love her anymore, I somehow create more room in my heart.
When she smiles, my heart bursts. When she cries, my heart aches. And when she gives me hugs and kisses, my heart explodes.
When did you fall in love with your baby? Was it in utero? The second you met her? A while later? I’m interested to hear your stories!
Photos by Julia D’Agostino.