Before you have a baby you hear people talk about getting that overwhelming ‘rush of love’. You read websites and magazines where celebrities tell you how ‘overcome’ they were with emotion for their new baby, so it’s only right that you believe and assume that naturally this will happen in your situation. It’s seems obvious to think that because you’ve carried the baby around for, what felt like four hundred years, why wouldn’t you feel anything but love, straight away. Well, this isn’t always the case with everyone and it certainly wasn’t the case with mine.
I had been in labour for a good 30 odd hours when my bundle of pink arrived and I am being completely honest when I say that I felt, well, nothing really. Possibly confusion, shock, a bit of ‘what the hell’, some more confusion and exhaustion but certainly not love. I remember wanting to feed her as she was crying and feeling incredibly protective, that’s something that did kick in straight away, despite my bewildered state I practically karate chopped the porter guy away from her, when he tried to wheel her down to the ward, thinking he was trying to steal her (sorry about that) but there was no instant ‘love‘.
I had to stay in hospital overnight and I knew I had to look after my new baby, feed her and hold her close but still, I was recovering, bleeding, sweating and in pain, I felt void of emotion. The first night with her was exhausting, feeding her whilst head bobbing myself awake, I was shattered. The next day my husband had to take her off to have a heart mummer checked and I remember sobbing when they left the room. Having her with me then suddenly gone was unbearable, but still, it wasn’t really ‘love’ that I was feeling, it was the attachment.
Once home, I survived on sugar mostly to get through those first weeks. The classic baby blues kicked in with me a few days after the birth and I remember saying to my husband during one particularly down day, that I felt nothing, my heart felt empty, I was so confused. I remember saying to him, what if I never feel anything for her? I was distraught, a real roller-coaster of emotions. Our poor bodies, after being pumped full of hormones for all those months, to suddenly have everything gone, it’s no wonder the blues can kick in. In my memory, my sadness lasted a few days but my husband tells me it was a little longer, possibly a few weeks. One minute I would be fine, the next, sobbing for apparently no reason. Still, I would look at this little person and I knew she was mine, that I needed to look after her, keep her safe, all of these things but the overwhelming love didn’t come.
Then I reached magical month three. I’d been told that this was when things would get easier and for me and it was like a fog lifted. Things did start to get a bit easier. Suddenly my days had slightly more structure other than getting up, sitting in my kitchen with top off, watching Game of Thrones, feeding, inhaling dairy milk, napping, then all of this on repeat until bedtime. I managed to start a loose routine with my girl, I could, ‘dun dun deeeer’ go out! As in, walk into town and enter an actual shop, things started to fit into place a bit more. I started to feel more attached to her now that my head was a bit clearer. I remember the moment like a flash went off over my head, I can’t remember where I was but I looked at her and just knew, it all came at once in a rush. My heart ached and in that moment I knew that I would die for this girl, it was her over me, I loved her. In that second, nearly four months down the line *BOOM*, there it was. She was a grower, it had taken me time to get to know her, even though I’d carried her, we needed to bond and for me, that took a few months.
We need to know that it’s okay not to get that ‘rush of love’ feeling, don’t worry about what other people say, or worry about what we read on the internet, a lot of that is a load of crap anyway, remember people can lie, not everyone is always honest. I’m certainly not alone in how I felt, a simple Google of ‘not getting that feeling with a new baby’, brings up numerous sites and chats about this. I found a Mumsnet (rolls eyes, I know!) chat in the same vein here. Falling in love with a brand new ‘being’ can take time, sometimes things just take a bit longer to develop, your love may well be a grower, like mine was.
If you feel like the baby blues are taking hold of you then please voice your worries with a partner, friends, family member or your GP, please don’t bottle things up. The NHS has a good page on the baby blues and postnatal depression here.