Warning: When you have a baby, you are expected to be instantly thrilled, overjoyed, and/or [fill in the blank with any adjective that conveys euphoria]. In the early weeks after my daughter was born, my husband would say things like, “We can’t imagine life without her” or “We love her so much.” I wanted both of those sentiments to be true for me, but at that moment, they were not. I did not feel like I loved her. I could still imagine my life without her.
During the early weeks of my daughter’s life, I fought insomnia. My husband went back to work, and I had panic attacks because I was not sleeping. With such a big, new responsibility, I could not relax. When my husband would make comments about loving our daughter and not being able to imagine life without her, I would cringe on the inside and hope those words would ring true for me one day.
Until they did, though, I would constantly say, “Yes, I adore her” when people talked about how much I must love here because I did adore her. I would stare at her endlessly while she slept, and I enjoyed having her in my arms for hours. And adoration was enough to get us through those first couple of months. Through the never-ending wake-ups, through the days when I barely was able to do more than care for her, and through the times when I felt like I had no clue what I was doing. My adoration of her carried us through until she was sleeping through the night at eight weeks (yes, I was lucky that she did so), and when I began sleeping more.
After our first couple of months together, my love for my daughter grew quickly and fiercely. It became second nature to say, “I love you”, and to declare how much I loved her to anyone who would listen. She is now two-and-a-half-years old, and I can enthusiastically say I cannot imagine my life without her. She and my husband are my world.
Warning to New Mothers: Your body will go through the most rigorous nine months of its life with pregnancy, and this rigorous odyssey will culminate in labor and delivery. It IS okay to not instantly fall in love with your new baby. You will soon enough. And if you don’t, there is help out there if you are dealing with postpartum depression or anxiety. Talk to your doctor, a counselor, or a friend/family member. And remember: adoration can go a long way.