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Emotional bonding with babies

I still say I’m not a baby person even though we’ve had one.  Considering that fact, I was surprised at how easily and automatic it was to bond with N even when he was just a tiny yellow bean.

I’m definitely not a touchy feely person and was horrified on the rare occasion that anyone out in public deigned to touch (or try to) my bump.  The OH didn’t really want to get close to it in case something went wrong so was quite hands off (although obviously proud that he was going to be a dad – what male wouldn’t be chuffed at being able to show his virility!?).

It took a long time before I decided I wanted or was ready for a baby.  For years I didn’t think I’d ever have one or that I’d be bothered by having one, but once I’d got past my 30th year, it was definitely time to start thinking about it.  So why the seemingly sudden (so it seemed to my friends) change of heart?

For me, I didn’t see having a baby was going to be something that I felt I needed to do, I didn’t feel one calling to me and I very definitely wasn’t broody when I saw other babies.  But I did think that when I got older, that I might have regretted not even trying.  If it happened, it happened and it would be great (I hoped) and if it didn’t, well we’d tried.

Luckily it was a really easy pregnancy, and I felt really close to the baby, even when I couldn’t believe there was really a baby growing inside me.  Until we had the first scan, we were still a bit disbelieving as showing no symptoms made it all a bit alien.  Once it started moving, then it was like there was a little personality in there trying to make a point, especially when I was out dancing and I’d feel kicks left, right and centre along with the music.

Once N had arrived (not from Mr Tesco as his dad keeps trying to teach him to say!), I immediately felt like we bonded and had an emotional connection;  that was despite having had a c section and breast feeding not working.  It was reassuring that even me not really liking babies had no problems with the emotional bonding side of things.

Given my experience where everything seemed to kick in automatically, I find it really interesting to hear about other people’s experience, especially those who love kids and are naturals with them.

Quite often you hear it’s the dads that struggle with bonding because the mother is often the parent needed more in the early stages by the newborn.  Quite often mums who don’t bond for a while have had a traumatic birth, had to be away from the child for some reason or had post natal depression.  I’d not have expected to hear about parents who’ve gone through a straightforward pregnancy and are expecting no complications to still not feel like they’re emotionally connected.  But I have known prospective parents like this and find it intriguing (I swear I was born to be an anthropologist or something studying people).

It must be hard as everyone around is getting excited on your behalf, while you’re still in the ‘next stage of life’ phase rather than being excited yourself.  It also can’t help where both the mother and father are feeling the same.  I suppose it means that every stage is approached rationally, with parents not going mad in the spending or preparations side (because really, babies don’t need that much), maybe it’s a good way to be in terms of preparing without getting lost in the fairytale of what life might be like with a baby and then being hit like a sledgehammer if it doesn’t meet those high expectations.

What was your experience?  Did you bond from the start, or did it take time?

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  1. I do wish there was more in pregnancy books about how not everyone bonds straight away. I recall with my first it was such a huge shock to the system, the pain of childbirth that I just felt numb and a bit cheated for weeks after which did affect the bonding in hindsight x

    1. So true. Not everyone bonds immediately, and the expectation is that you will, so it can be hard for new mums when there’s still lots of hormones making you all over the place with emotions. Maybe some of the parenting websites, books and antenatal classes need to be more open about the problems that might be encountered and therefore where to go for support and help so mums don’t feel they need to keep concerns hidden.

      Thanks for popping by.

  2. I’m not a baby person either, never felt broody and also left it to chance. I had worried what my reaction would be once B was born.
    I had two “normal” births at a midwife hospital. Looking back now I can see I bonded with M quicker than B, maybe by a week. My mother in law suggested this was because my 2nd labour was so much quicker I was more alert and didn’t need as much time to recover. I’ve wondered if it was because I was more confident handling a baby. Whatever the reason I don’t think it matters because I am very close to both of them now.

    1. It’s just so different for everyone and I think it can worry new and prospective mums as everyone just assumes they bonding happens automatically and it doesn’t always.

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