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Love at first sight? Not necessarily..



Did you also imagine that magical moment when you’d hold your baby for the very first time in your arms, cuddle him or her and feel that rush of love and feel all glowly and fullfilled at that very moment? Yes? Ok, Then have some of you had that moment when you delivered your bundle of joy, had him/her plonked in your arms, looked at that tiny face and not felt much? Did that confuse you? Did you feel guilty for not feeling anything? Well worry not and guess what…It’s normal!!

 

MOTHERHOOD5rosie

 

As you can guess from the above para, this post is about not feeling guilty for not feeling all maternal the moment you first lay eyes on that li’l cookie of yours whom you so looked forward to sine 9months. I remember A warning me about it and me thinking Naa…that can’t be possible..I’ll surely fall in love at first sight. I didn’t…

Don’t get me wrong, I didn’t hate my kid or anything..But I felt kinda blank..I didn’t have a horrifying pregnancy or delivery but yet, when the Doc delivered her and showed her to me and said, ‘See your baby girl..’ I was at a loss…Instead of feeling like, ‘OMG! What a gorgeous angel I’ve brought forth!’, my first thoughts if I remember were, ‘Ain! Really? Ok, now pls stitch me up quick before I bleed out..I’ll do the cooing bit later..’  Then later when i saw her, i still felt nothing except for, “what a cute baby!” and in the coming hours, “Why the hell am I not lactating!?!” But nope..no maddening rushes of love..

The 1st time I felt anything more substantial was ont he 3rd day when I was supposed to be discharged but was detained since Pravi’s jaundice levels were a bit high and had to be taken to NICU for 24hrs. God! The amount I wailed!! Out of the blue, I had a double whammy of mommy feelings flooding in and I couldn’t see her go. I even kept a used napkin of hers under my pillow and in my pocket all the while so I could smell her on it in her absence(pls say that ain’t weird). Then every single time I went to the NICU, I saw her and would be overcome with tears and melodramatic thoughts of, “Oh my baby is so brave, xyz..”.

When I returned home, again those feelings seemed to have receeded and I seemed to be a trance state for almost a month before I felt ‘Mommy-ish’ again…Since then I’ve become the Mad-Momma for sure but that’s not the point of this post..The point I want to make here is that IT IS OKAY NOT TO FEEL OVERWHELMINGLY MATERNAL AT THE BEGINNING.

The reason behind this post again is the fact that this topic seems to be taboo amongst most people. While I was feeling guilty for not feeling maternal, I asked some new moms about this lack of feeling and they all vehemently denied it. I then poked and prodded at some experienced mommies and out came the truth..Many of them felt the same way I did! Hallelujah! I wasn’t a weirdo after all!

I honestly  feel such things shouldn’t be kept under wraps. it is NORMAL. There are a ton of reasons why one may not feel instant love for ones baby:

  • Stress. This could be due stressful situations at home.  Or even the sheer worry of how you’re going to handle things to come can be terrifying to think about. Its funny how the entire 9mts seem to be full of pampering, mood swings, etc, but a few hours before you’re going to pop, the enormity of the situation hits and all you can think of is, ‘Oh Shit! I’m gona have a poor, defenseless baby..Me!! ME!!! How the heck am I gona do this?”

My thoughts on this now: After 6mts I finally realise that no matter how much shopping you do, how many books you read, how many friends you talk to or how many nieces and nephews you’ve taken care of in the past , there’s nothing that can prepare you for the time when you have to handle your own baby. So just let go and take things as they come. Believe me after a few hiccups you’ll learn the ropes and be an expert..

  • Disappointment. This could be disappointment with the sex of the baby or even the type of delivery. I’ve had friends terrified after delivering a baby girl simply cause their in-laws wanted a boy..or many women suffer the truma of a long, hellish delivery which was unexpected. Or it could even be a case of expecting and wanting a normal delivery and having a C-Sec in the end..The possibilities are endless..

My thoughts on this now: Ok, there’s nothing one can do about ensuring the sex of ones baby so if it was a self expectation then the only thing to do is let go; and if it’s the extended family creating fear in your mind, well then I have just 1 word for you..IGNORE! We’ll all have tons of people passing judgement on everything we do at every stage of life and if we start worrying about each and everyone of them we’d be a very sad bunch of people right? Wrt the type of delivery, my best advice would be not to pin your heart on a particular type of delivery. In this day and age when conceiving a child is becoming such a concern, its moot as to the type of delivery we have. The fact that we can have our baby is a blessing in itself. So don’t let such thoughts fester.

  • Exhaustion. Popping your baby is truly very exhausting. Make no mistake, a womans body goes thru a real trauma during delivery. Plus it seems like all the aches and pains which we suffered through in silence in those 9mts finally catch up with us and one just feels like a puddle of nothing..

My thoughts on this now: No arguments about this one gals..This exhaustion fades only with proper rest and time. My only advice here is to rest and not to think of yourself as superwoman. If you have help, then take it. Abroad it’s hard and impossible to have help unless parents come down but in India we’re lucky enough to have family help along with domestic help. So instead of trying to do everything alone, accept help..It helps in faster recovery of both, body and mind..

  • Depression over your body. Nowadays most of us obsess over our weight right at the beginning. Even then the weight gain is inevitable and there are those who find it tough to take this in their stride. To add to this, some are given the impression by their friends and family that the moment you pop you’ll look just like before. So it comes as a shock when in most cases this doesn’t happen and  the thought of getting back into shape is enough to cloud any other thoughts as well!

My thoughts on this now: Well, I have just one thing to say here which A had told me a few months after her delivery last year which stuck to my mind.. It took 9months for your body to get this way..It’s natural that it take a minimum of this same time to get back into shape. So don’t fret..instead, start exercising when you can and eat healthy..Visit a dietician if required..Rest assured you need to take efforts to get back into shape. So it ok..wallow in self-pity for a while and then snap out of it and start doing something about it!

These are just my thoughts and everyone’s does differ…My intention here is to just warn expectant Moms that this is a common occurance and not worthy of feeling guilty. There are several reasons which will feel insurmountable in the beginning but as time passes will iron themselves out..Just give yourself time and feel reassured that you’re a good Mom, ad doing your best. Those maternal feelings you feel are eluding you will surely wham into you in good time.

 

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Comments

  1. Seriously ! i wish i would have read this before having a baby. I would have prepared myself accordingly.

    I almost had the same kind of experience and it was strange when people were congratulating me and I was like omg! i am in so much pain and they are smiling at me 😛

    Sometimes i feel bad and guilty but it took me long long time to fall in love with my sweetheart .

    • M glad I had u A :*

      • I wish i had some friend to understand me that time..All i got to hear is this is how life is when u become a mother which is so untrue….Motherhood is a journey and its completely on you how u take it .

        • Seriously..its as if ppl encourage u t get depressed when ibstead they shud b helping u gt out f it!!

          • May be they thought we will get stronger by this :D:D Once i didn’t sleep whole night and when one of my relative asked me to get up early i told her i cant…i am sleepy…she replied that all mother sleeps in sitting position only 😛

            I was shocked because i can never sleep in cars or flying …So basically i pictures myself not sleeping at all..lolzz

          • Haha! yea right! The sentence I’d get was, ‘now u really know how difficult it in to bring up a child.’ N I wanted t scream that I dint think it was easy but I dint expect it t b so hard so soon!

      • You kindoff speak my words, I so much felt the same. Loved reading your post.

        • Hi Jaish, Thanks for commenting because i thought its just three of us who felt the same..lolz

        • Thanks for comin out and saying it Jaish.. Most women wudnt b able to…it takes alota heart to come out and say thi..kudos to u!

          • Thanks Anamika and Zara 🙂 Already with a C section I felt half doped and they had asked me to keep my hand horizontal so it was quite numb. Then they showed me a teeni weeni baby looking at me. I have never seen a newborn in my life 🙂 Even I have no idea what was running through my head. They asked me to hold her I was too scared so I said its ok. And they took her away for cleaning. Its definitely takes some time for us to accept. Im sure most moms would have been blank with so much happening at one time.. So no regrets.. Cheers!!!

          • Yup! No regrets whatsoever 🙂 Journey is totally worth it 😉

  2. this post is so refreshing. :). Agree every bit of it.

    • Yea..it’s impt not to hide such stuff ya..people around make us feel so guilty fr not feeling maternal when it’s so normal..

  3. Damn count me in….I felt absolutely nothing for almost 3 days post delivery as my kiddo was in nursery.then finally wen she was given to me during discharge I was surrounded by all weird relatives with all kind of advice….then post partum depression took its toll on me.can u believe I asked my hubby to take me out right on 11th day coz I just didn’t want to be home with my baby anymore..shot can’t believe I actually did that.but thankfully my mom in law understood my position and me and my hubby went out for lunch and I came back much lighter….whooooho….it took me almost a month to fall in love with my kiddo….

    • I so know what u mean doc..I used to make hubs tk m eout fr icecream every night nite no matter how late he came just so that i cud have a break! ppl wud get horrified when i told them i was leaving my week old bby and goin to njoy myself but i feel it was refreshing n infact helped me alot!

  4. i ve heard of postpartum depression from so any ppl.. they even told me that they had to take meds!
    i THINK that my reaction would depend a lot on the kind of birth i ll have.. as in traumatic birth or simple delivery.. but thats just an assumption now..i think i ll be ecstatic but then u never know as one cant predict at all!
    to be honest i dun mind the non motherly feeling. i can accept that but i am scared of depression n crying n all !!

    • Shef at 1 point i thot id have t tk meds…when Pravi was 4weeks old i wen t my doc and broke down in front of her..i told her to gimme something to feel like myself gain but she was like no…she said to wait to complete 2mts and if i still felt as dark as did, to come back and we’d see….and as usual she was right…it’s an adjustment phase when u need ppl around u to understand and help instead of judging…

  5. Everybody had warned me that it will NOT be love at first sight – that I was too prepared – when the baby was kept on my chest – more than love I was shaky and overwhlemed with unknown fears and responsibility – but possessiveness and passionate love came soon after – and I was going on arguing with myself in my mind – but ppl had said it takes time to warm up :D. I guess a lot depends on your mental state and how the delivery goes. I had attended a lot of classes and sessions – I had also read and heard so many birth accounts – so I was a lot more prepared than most!

  6. Navneet Thethi says:

    Happened with me too, it took time for me to fall in love with my boy, even whn i feeded him the 1st time, i didnt felt much for him, but when the next time i heard him crying for the feed, it was the moment when it struck me that OH My!! this cute little small life is totally dependent on me n iam his momma…then startd my journey

  7. Wow! Wonderful post and you’ve mirrored exactly what I felt after my son was born. Ok I wasn’t totally blank but didn’t get the OMG feeling either. Apologies but my first thought was ‘eww, new borns look so wrinkly and ugly!’ And post partum depression, yup had it too, not to the point of taking meds but I would simply feel like crying. Nobody around me (family included) understood why I was so damn cranky. I only wish I had read something like this earlier and was better prepared. When I spoke to my friends who had babies later (confided is the right word), I got similar reactions and we were able to empathize with each other so well!

  8. OMG…such a real post…all the flash back came in front of my eyes after reading this ….I fell in love with my daughter at the first sight only…but I was unable to handle her. I had no idea about handling babies.Oh my god how did I deal with all the depression and guilt..All thanks to my very very supportive husband…but after reading this post the leftover guilt has also gone from my mind…Now I am feeling very proud about myself that I have raised my angel single handedly…

  9. Hugs Zara, and thanks for sharing. Even my SIL told me the same thing, don’t expect to feel all maternal right away. But I didn’t know this was such a common feeling. I feel relieved now

    Being a doc, I see many women have varied reactions after delivery of their babies. But most are like “Uhh OK, he/she is cute but I am not feeling so OK right now” type expression. One lady I remember was cooing to her baby from 5 feet away while they were suturing her abdomen up…she was that thrilled.

    I am so glad you shared this. All this while before I felt the baby move, I didn’t even feel too connected to my baby inside me. I was wallowing in my own sorrows of nausea and fatigue. Now I do feel some love and affection….with a pang of guilt. You really spared me from a lot more!

    • Varsha m glad u find this helpful! I so know what ur talking about..some women feel that connect right away n looking at that is enuf to make us feel a tiny bit inadequate at times..but worry not..it’s absolutely normal fr the feelings to kick in a bit later 😉

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