Sunday, September 6, 2009


So, speaking of being grateful, before Emily was born, I was nervous about how I'd feel about her when she was born. I was worried I wouldn't bond with her. I wasn't sure what everyone meant, precisely, when they go on about bonding, but I was worried that I wouldn't do it, or wouldn't do it right.

There are loads of reasons why I was worried about this, a lot of them when boiled down, point to my anxiety about reproducing my mother's mothering, which involved a lot of neglect, manipulation and eventual abandonment. I'm pretty sure she was mentally ill in some way or another, and that she suffered from post partum depression at least after my sister was born, if not after my birth as well.

I thought I felt connected to Emily while she was still in my womb, but I wasn't sure that was real. I spoke to her, and rubbed my belly, and did everything I could to care for and protect her. But I wasn't sure it was real or if I was going through the motions.

I was worried that when she was born, I'd be repulsed or cold or somehow feel wrong or disconnected from her.

I am giving thanks to the PTB every day for being wrong about that. The moment that she came out and I had her on my chest, I was totally in love. She was immediately so beautiful and precious to me, I feel silly, in retrospect, for having been concerned about bonding.

Despite our ongoing problems breastfeeding (more on that in another post), and some dark moments, where like Whozat, I worry she is rejecting me or doesn't love me when she won't latch, I feel she has bonded with me as well.

When she's not nearby, as she isn't right now, I feel like I'm missing an arm. Or a vital organ - you can live without an arm. I am dreading returning to work: I thought six weeks' leave would be great - nice to have longer - but I'd probably be bored and stir crazy and eager to get back. Couldn't be further from the truth!

Don't get me wrong, especially coworkers and supervisors reading this - I love my job. I was out with some new mommies the other night, and we were trying to not talk about our babies, so we started talking about our paid jobs. I was trying to explain why my job is difficult to telecommute, despite it being an IT job, and I was illustrating the troubleshooting we do. I had a huge wave of appreciation for how much I really like my employer and my job. That hasn't changed. I just wish I was going to have more time to be a full time mom to Emily.

I'm just glad I'm no longer in school so I can dedicate evenings and weekends to being with her and available to her. Because I feel so connected to her, very little else matters. If that's not bonded, I don't know what is!


TheFeministBreeder said...

Leaving my boys was the hardest thing I've ever done. The first time I only got 5.5 weeks, the second time I made sure to take my maximum 12, but each time I stayed up crying for days before. I always say that having a baby changes your brain chemistry. Even women who live for their jobs find themselves wishing for a year or so of maternity leave after they meet their baby. It's only natural. Nothing wrong with that.

Whozat said...

That "missing limb" this is a perfect description of how I feel.

Peeper's 10 months old, and I still just don't know what to do with myself when we're apart.

(Not that it happens often!)

It just feels so wrong.

Melodie said...

I got teary just reading this - remembering the love I felt for my girls the first time I saw them and also feeling worried that maybe I wouldn't. Nothing beats the love a mother has for her children. it's just amazing.