Bonding is something I heard about over and over during pregnancy.
‘The baby must be put on your chest straight after delivery so mum and baby can bond’.
‘Skin to skin is best, that improves the bonding’.
‘When you have a baby it’s love at first sight’.
‘There’s a Hollywood moment and you instantly love them with all your heart’.
That’s not actually what happened with me. I had the baby and he was put on my chest and I saw him for the first time, he lifted his head and looked at me with his big blue eyes but instead of an I-love-you moment I had a who-the-hell-are-you moment?! He was all puffy and wrinkly and had blood on him and white stuff. I was exhausted and I felt like he was a complete stranger. There were complications so he was taken away from me, he wasn’t well and my husband went with him to the neonatal ward. I say that I’m lucky that I didn’t see all the tubes down his throat and oxygen mask on (my husband said it was horrible) but I’m not sure how I would have felt if I did see because I didn’t feel a connection at all.
I was left alone in the delivery room, I was stitched up, taken to my room and then they wheeled me down to meet him properly. He was all rugged up, given to me to cuddle and feed but I still felt nothing.
That night I went back to my room and he was kept under observation. My head was spinning too much from the drugs to sleep and I was really angry at my brother for announcing the delivery on facebook so I was frantically messaging people to advise them that bub had arrived while texting him to remove the post immediately. I did keep thinking periodically:
Shouldn’t I be worried?
Shouldn’t I want to be with him?
Am I bad a mother?
OMG I’m a mother now ... I didn’t feel like one.
I thought I had bonded so strong with him during pregnancy, I was so happy to be pregnant. I spoke to him daily, I played him music and jumped with joy every time I felt him move but then he arrived and I felt nothing. I saw him one more time that night and was left alone with him and I kept thinking ‘you’re my baby’ over and over waiting for it to sink in.
The next morning he was put in my room and when he cried I jumped to his aide, the motherly instincts were there but it still felt surreal.
I went home and took care of him and I think I loved him but I still wasn’t sure how I felt about the whole situation. Four weeks later I was at home with my mum trying to cut his long nails. He flinched and I cut his skin, drawing blood. I burst into tears in a huge panic yelling at mum to get tissues because I had cut off his finger. I calmed him down saying sorry to him over and over while mum calmed me down telling me it’s ok, he’s not hurt, he’s just in shock. I sobbed and realised that I did love him, I loved him so so much and he’s my little baby and I want to do everything I can to protect him and make sure he’s ok. I never want him to hurt again. The bonding began.
Every day the bonding got stronger and stronger and then he made eye contact and smiled at me. He really smiled at me, not just a milk drunk smile. He looked at me and smiled because he wanted to. That sealed the deal.
Now I think back to that moment we first met and I have so much love pouring through me at the memory. The cute little thing looking at me with a big puffy face. God I love him, just took a little while that’s all. Now I will love him forever.