When my (almost) adopted daughter, Clementine, was born, I was taken aback by all of the bonding talk, questions and advice from people in my life. OK, maybe I was full-on defensive, but I know I shouldn’t take it personally. It didn’t help that the first paragraph of my first post for Babble started:
“Coincidentally, while today is my first day blogging for Babble it’s also the first day that my foster daughter, Clementine, is legally free for me to adopt. So I can actually start the adoption process! You’d think I’d be jumping for joy and buying loads of “MOMMY LOVES ME!” onesies, but I’m not. I love Clementine and I’m totally going to adopt her, but it doesn’t feel all that special.”
I started writing for Babble when Clementine was two months old and “Sandy” was six months old. I hadn’t slept more than two or three hours a night since Sandy was born. My goal was survival. Feed babies. Keep babies safe, dry and feeling secure. Laundry piled up around me. I was happy, but happy was buried somewhere far behind my daily rally to push through each 24 hour cycle — there was no distinguishing between day and night. I had a lot of anxiety then, but the one thing I wasn’t worried about was bonding. In July, I wrote “The U.S. Baby Bonding Epidemic That Wasn’t”.
So, when someone sent me a link yesterday with the title “It takes six months for mothers to enjoy their new baby, a study reveals” I was intrigued. Turns out, it’s not really a study but rather an unscientific poll. Nonetheless, I think many moms share the sentiment. The most helpful advice I received was “It gets better” — and indeed it did. I’m madly in love with Clementine. We’re 10 months in and I couldn’t imagine life without her.
I think that by not stressing about bonding actually freed up some mental and emotional space for the process to happen. I hope that other adoptive parents can also feel reassured — bonding will happen!
Also from Rebecca this month: