I’ve never liked babies.
I remember expressing this fear to other mothers when I was pregnant, and they all said the same thing, “Oh, it’ll be different when you have your own. Just wait.”
And so I waited. I waited the long months until he was born, and out he slithered — a red potato with the jowls of a Saint Bernard and the haircut of a 70-year-old man.
“Oh, the first few days are always a little rough, but pretty soon you’ll wonder how you lived without him!” everyone assured me.
With every 2 AM wakeup cry and biohazard diaper blowout, I waited for that all-consuming love that everyone had promised me, but all I found was exhaustion, frustration, and confusion. All my girlfriends were posting on Facebook about how beautiful their newborns were, how their hearts were bursting with love, and how they had felt an instant connection. So what was wrong with me?
Besides a little postpartum depression, nothing.
Sure, some parents get that Hollywood love story with their babies. It’s love at first sight, with all the extreme emotions that come with it. And some parents fall in love over time. And that’s perfectly normal.
I wish someone had told me that.
I wish someone had told me of the love that grows through service to a helpless newborn.
I wish someone had told me about how my heart would fill with love, but it would just be a tiny bit every day.
I wish someone had told me that I might not notice this love at all until one day, when I’d wake up and realize that I was in love with my chubby, short dictator.
So here I am, stepping up to be that someone for you. Maybe this is your first child, or maybe it’s just your first child that you haven’t felt that instant love for.
IT WILL COME.
You will definitely feel that love. It might not be today, it might not be for eight months, or it might not even be until your child grows into toddlerhood, but I promise it will come.
If you’re anything like me, you probably feel like a terrible parent because you’re not totally head-over-heels for your baby. But here’s the thing. Are you feeding him? Are you holding him? Are you changing his messy diapers? Are you trying to connect with him, ineffective as the actions may seem? Then you are a good parent.
That love is there, and eventually you’re going to feel it. I promise.