I’ve had two different conversations with two different friends recently about connections with our children. Our discussions covered from the moment that your child arrives to our relationships with our parents as adults. It’s amazing the bonds that can form in such a short amount of time…and the guilt that happens when they don’t.
I’ll admit it. After William was born I did not immediately bond with him. I was a classic terrified new mom and my fears inhibited my feelings toward him. He terrified me and the easiest way to deal with that was to give him to someone else, whether it was nurses, Jason, family, friends, etc. When I was alone with him I couldn’t get past the idea that he was solely my responsibility enough to enjoy him.
Then the guilt hit, making everything so much worse. I replayed my friends experiences with their newborns and it sounded so picture perfect. The immediate bond, feeling an abundant amount of love for this person that you just met, and I couldn’t help but to ask myself, what is WRONG with me? Now my fear was coupled with doubt and lack of confidence and William and I didn’t have a chance.
After a couple of weeks I realized that I wanted to step outside of my house again and see people and do things that I enjoy, and of course I had to bring my baby with me. My confidence grew with each outing and soon we were inseparable. Thankfully our story has a happy ending, but we had to work for it.
Our experience made me realize that it’s not always instant with everyone, but sometimes amazing bonds form out of our control. My very close friend Kate at Mom I Am told me that whenever her boys were hungry, she could feel it in her stomach. Of course she was nursing. Even she was amazed at how her body reacted to theirs even though there was no longer a physical connection. That always astonished me and I’m a little bummed that never had anything like that with either boy.
I did have a realization recently, though. Both sons have been in a child care setting since they were 10 or 12 weeks old, so not home with me. Some days when I’m at work, I get a very strong, almost overwhelming feeling that I need to hug and cuddle either one or sometimes both of my kids. At first I thought that it was just my brain missing my boys and needing a physical connection with them at that moment. Then I started paying attention to these feelings and realized that there was really no pattern to them. Sometimes I was busy at work, sometimes it was slow. Sometimes I was talking to someone, sometimes alone in my office. They seemed so random that I couldn’t find any trigger.
That’s when it hit me, maybe this was them needing me. It could be for so many reasons – a scraped knee, feeling ill, just needing Mommy, whatever, but it’s them thinking of me. I hope that this theory is true and we have this connection when we’re apart.