I have to get something off my chest, real quick. It’s not a big deal, but someone has to say it : I didn’t fall in love with my children at first sight.
A lot of thoughts crossed my mind after I gave birth to my first child – the two clearest thoughts were “OMG! cishe ngafa” and “I want another one”.
When I first held my son, it was like meeting this small, shrieking stranger and I didn’t know where to place my heart. Holding him in my arms felt very different to holding him inside of me. Here he was, with his own body, breathing his own air, outside of me. It was a lot to get used to. I had feelings of relief, awe, and even confusion… Plus newborns are ugly, so there was also that.
I was really pleased to meet him, and I knew I would kill or die for him, but I didn’t feel gushing rivers of sentimental love at all.
It was the same for my daughter. The feeling of my heart pumping custard came later. Probably around the time my milk came in. And it came all at once, like the milk…
Both times, it took me a while to understand my feelings about having a child, and find love in there.
I asked older womyn about this, and I found this to be a common, albeit unspoken experience. I’d carried some guilt and weirdness about it, and I wished someone had told me it would happen.
When you give birth to a baby, you are also born anew, as a mother. This is probably the most terrific and terrifying thing. We really don’t talk about it openly or honestly enough.
Thinking about it now, it makes perfect sense that I felt that way. My babies and I were new to each other, after the birth and we are getting to know ourselves and each other in this relationship which will continue to grow and change for the rest of our lives. No long ting.