The Things New Moms Don’t Talk About

Being a new mom, I tend to read a lot of articles about babies. Not that I am looking for instruction, but more to see if other people have experienced what I have experienced. Some articles are helpful. Some…not so much. Like the story about the mom who’s 3 month old died during their first day in a daycare. I happened to read that the night before Lil G was to go to her first day in daycare.

One article I read, spoke of the secrets that new mothers don’t talk about. One of which stuck out was the myth that moms experience an outpouring of love the second the baby pops out of the birth canal. I can’t speak for all moms, but this simply wasn’t the case for me. Oh, I love her now with a love that defies any description. I would do anything for her, but it took me a while to get there.

When I delivered my baby, I didn’t feel a rush of anything, unless you refer to the placenta and all the leftovers from the birthing process. When she cried, I didn’t feel some emotional release, or some magical bond that suddenly appeared, stretching across the room from me to her tiny body. I didn’t feel the ache in my breast that told me that suddenly, this child should attach to it.

They handed me this tiny, pink being. Head full of the softest hair. I stared down at her, taking in her little features, amazed that I just expelled this from my body. That this was the final product of 9 months of wait and worry.

After I was moved to my room, and I convinced my husband that he would be best served going home to sleep instead of trying to sleep on the shitty fold-out chair the hospital had, I sat in my equally uncomfortable bed. The nurse had parked Lil G alongside me, in her own little bed. I simply stared at this baby that shared my DNA. And stared. And stared. Equal parts shock and curiosity. I would be leaving the hospital in a couple of days, and I would have to take her with me. I knew nothing about babies, and caring for babies, and what the hell was I thinking that I could this?

Occasionally, she would open her eyes and stare at me, a blurry face to newborn eyes. She seemed ambivalent about me, and I didn’t know how I felt about that either.

Soon, we go home, and still find myself just staring at this baby. Still shocked that she is mine. Curious about who she is. But did I love her? I only met her a few days prior. I knew she was mine, and I had to take care of her. I didn’t really feel anything beyond a sense of duty. Then, I felt like I was a shitty mom. After all, I had heard countless times at how moms were overcome with so much love the minute their baby was born. I felt broken, like something was wrong with me. Had I made a mistake? Was I not Mommy material after all?

As time went on, I grew to like her. She was cute. Had a cute little cry. Tiny hands and feet. I liked the way she curled against my body when she snuggled. I liked the way she smelled. How soft her hair felt when it brushed against my cheek  or how her skin felt when I kissed her. The way she would look at me with a quizzical look when I would feed her. It was almost like she felt the same way I did. I know I belong to you. I know you are important. Let’s just see how this plays out.

Then one evening, weeks later, I was holding her while sitting on the couch. We stared at each other, which is what we often did, and then it happened. We finally recognized each other. She smiled. There you are, Mommy! I love you!

I smiled back and fell hopelessly in love with her.

My daughter.