I didn’t fall in love with my baby right away

Everyone knows the scenario. A woman is in labour (and absolutely exhausted), the midwife is shouting ‘one more push’, and finally, a baby is born. The cord is cut and the baby is handed to mum, who feels this overwhelming rush of love they’ve never felt for anything in their life, right?

Well, that didn’t happen for me.

While I was only in active labour for four hours, I’d had what some may call a nightmare of a pregnancy. Due to my EDS I had spent a good portion of it in a wheelchair, I was having hydrotherapy for the SPD and PGP that I developed (if you’re not sure on those, click here for more info), and I’d broken my foot because my EDS couldn’t keep up with the constantly increasing weight that comes with being pregnant. In the early weeks of pregnancy I contracted a viral infection which increased my risk of miscarriage, and baby developing foetal hydrops. And those were just my issues. Add in having scans for little one three times a week because she refused to be active, growth scans because my doctor thought that at full term she would weigh less than 5lb, steroid injections as I’m high risk for preterm labour, and a short inpatient stay towards the end of my pregnancy because my hips wouldn’t stop dislocating, we were essentially living in our hospital 5-6 days a week.
So it’s safe to say I was relieved when she was born, and she started breathing around 30 seconds afterwards.
I was so excited to be passed my new baby, and to feel this huge rush that every woman I know had been telling me about since I announced that I was pregnant that I pushed through two second degree tears, a dislocated hip, failed pain relief, a small haemorrhage and an incompetent midwife just to hold her. The midwife handed her over to me, and I was so amazed that this tiny (yet huge?) person had been with me for the last nine months.
But I didn’t feel that huge rush of love that everyone was talking about.
To be honest, I panicked a little bit, and I thought something was wrong with me. She felt more like a really cute stranger that I had a really strong urge to protect (and cry all over). I tried to breastfeed her twice, but as I’d been given diamorphine too close to delivery, my new bundle of joy was a little dopey, and kept crawling past the breast to suckle on my neck. Cute.
I continued to feel this way for the next few days. I had panic attacks whenever I was left alone with her because I was terrified I was going to break her, I couldn’t sleep if I was alone with her because I was terrified something was going to happen to her, and in the end, including the time I was awake and in labour, I didn’t sleep for three days. I got so worked up about that initial meeting with my daughter that I couldn’t think about anything else. I was convinced I was broken, and that it meant I was going to be a bad mother and this was all a very bad idea. Don’t get me wrong, I thought she was adorable; I was so proud that I had made her, and I wanted to take care of her, but I was just so disappointed that I didn’t get that first meeting that people claim to be the best moment of their lives.
Looking back on it now, I realise it’s totally normal. The birth and pregnancy I had with my daughter was far from normal, my body had been through a whole ordeal, and I was exhausted. I was hormonal, sleep deprived, very drugged from labour, and did I mention they handed me my baby for the first time while stitching me up with no pain relief?
Ouch.
How did you feel when you first met your baby?

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Paige Piper

Mum, musician, artist, professional sick kid.

14 thoughts on “I didn’t fall in love with my baby right away

  1. I think that many women don't feel an immediate bond but don't like to admit it. With my first I was shell shocked and the all consuming love didn't happen straight away. Your pregnancy sounds especially difficult and your reaction was totally normal given the circumstances. I think it's important that we talk about this subject so that women don't feel guilty#pocolo

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  2. Aww you are so not alone on this. I had a straight forward pregnancy and delivery with my first but I still didn’t get that rush of love the second he was born. I was exhausted, in pain and pretty scared if I’m honest of this tiny human I had no idea how to look after! I think many women don’t get the rush of love but are probably too embarrassed to admit it because it’s all anyone goes on about when talking about becoming a parent xx #blogcrush

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  3. It's such a tough time and I think all women expect that rush of emotion. But I was the same as you with my eldest, I had no idea what to do with him! I don't think it's abnormal, it just takes a while to adjust. Thanks so much for sharing such an honest post with #pocolo

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  4. I can identify with this. I never had that instant thing you read about with my tribe. It always took a few days to kick in. Childbirth is traumatic I think being honest like this post will help other women realise it's not always like the movies ! #blogcrush

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  5. I have often heard this … very common, especially after all you went through. But also, it is such a huge responsibility, and I certainly remember that panicky feeling of \”will I be ab able for this??\” when our first-born came along! Great post #BlogCrush

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  6. A lovely and honest post! I can certainly relate with \”can we do this?\” when my first son came along. With my second son, we were like… \”oh okay, hit repeat\” but with more confidence. #BlogCrush

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  7. I found the transition from 1 to 2 kids really hard and that made it difficult to bond with my second child. I remember speaking to my mum about how I was feeling and she said just to give it time and spend some time focusing on my baby without adding extra pressure of worrying about how I would cope in the future. It really worked and soon I was madly, deeply in love with my little bundle! Thank you for sharing your experiences for other mums who might be panicking about this too #blogcrush

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