Tuesday, October 25, 2011

Mom Confessions: It wasn’t love at first sight

I think I’m going to write a series of posts confessing certain things about motherhood.  Maybe you’ll have felt the same way.  Or maybe not and I have, truly, gone “round the bend” this time.
Several weeks ago I read this in Parenting Magazine.  For some reason I stumbled upon it again yesterday.  Now, more than ever, I’m certain that the good people over at Parenting Magazine are not themselves parents.  I believe they are aunts and uncles who Skype frequently with their nieces and nephews.  The only real time they spend with children is on holidays or special occasions.  I find most of their “confessions” rather moronic.  I’ve done, said or felt every single one of their “secrets” and have never really felt guilty disclosing this. 
Here’s my “confession”
Moms (especially on TV) talk about “falling instantly and head over heels” in love with their newborn.  Midwives and L&D Nurses like to say things like, “Mom, your only job is to fall in love with that baby.”  I’m thinking… “Yeah that’s my only job - that and giving birth to the baby.”  I don’t get it.  Personally I don’t share that “eros” sort of love with my children.
When I first saw my child,  I WAS NOT HEAD OVER HEELS IN LOVE!  Don’t get me wrong.  I thought it was amazing that he was a whole live person – really amazing considering from where he’d just arrived.  I felt a sense of, “Hey, I know you!”  I immediately recognized the rhythmic moves of his arms and legs as the same movements he’d made inside me earlier that same day.  But I wasn’t “in love.” 
During those first moments I was all concerned about the statistics of it all, weight, length, breathing, APGAR score.  Since I felt like I’d been pretty much turned inside out, after the statistics were gathered I was keen to have someone else hold and “ooh and ahh” over him.  
For some reason I started thinking about adoptive parents.  I know tons of them.  Do they fall instantly in love?  I thought, “He could be taken away and given to someone else and he wouldn’t be the wiser.  He doesn’t need “me” specifically, just a mom.”  I wondered how I’d feel if suddenly he wasn’t there anymore.  I’m not thinking about anything tragic – just if he were to be “erased.”  Would I feel a loss for one that I’d loved?
When we got home with him I was functioning in a sleep deprived haze for a week or more.  Subconsciously, I was thinking, “When will this baby’s mother please come and get him so I can get some sleep?” 
A couple of weeks in my thought was, “When this baby’s mother comes to get him, she’s going to be mad at me because I’ve probably done everything wrong and ruined him somehow!”
A short time later I was thinking, “I’m going to miss this baby when his mom finally comes.”
The feelings kept evolving and eventually I thought, “When this baby’s mother comes to get him, I just might hide the baby and/or claw her eyes out.” 
One day I realized he was mine and loved him.  Maybe it happened the first time he looked at me and knew who I was.  Maybe it was the first time he stopped crying when I held him.  I don’t know.  I do know the love wasn’t instantaneous. 
Last November when baby boy #2 arrived, I went through the whole process again.  That time I was expecting to love him when I first saw him.  I was disappointed when I didn’t, but this time I was confident it would come. 
So there I said it.  It’s love, but not love at first sight.

Do I look "in love?"
I really wanted someone to take the baby from me!
Oh, and Parenting Magazine lists this as one of their secrets (Nearly one in five moms admits medicating their child to get through a special event like a plane flight; one in 12 does! it just to get some peace and quiet on a regular night.)  I’ll contend that It’s WAY more than one in five.  Hell yes I’ve done it.  I’ll do it again too!  By myself, I’ve taken a 6 year old and a 5 month old on an 1 ½ hour ride to the airport, plane ride, layover, longer plane ride, and a 2 hour drive to my final destination.  There was Benedryl employed.  Oh yes, Benedryl was employed!

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