Monday, January 25, 2010

Things people don't tell you... and then you have to pretend

I recently gave birth to a beautiful baby girl. And I can say that now but wasn't so easy to say right away. The something that people don't tell you is this. After giving birth the mother's hormones are extremely out of proportion to the emotion that SHOULD be emoted during such an occassion. It's not uncommon to not love your baby at first sight. I came to realize this sure as the day is long and the grass green. When I expressed such emotion, I was met with quizzical glances or stares and twisted up contenances. Well, when I read other people's reaction to my honest feelings, I adopted feelings of guilt. I was, then, sure I was an unfit mother, misguided professional adult, a selfish human, and lying spouse.

So, to all the new moms. You are entitled to your feelings. The first two weeks of your baby's life is NOT a good indication of the later 12 months. I am not going to share any cliches with you because I did not find them comforting in the least bit. In the first two weeks, I was sure that this, too, WOULD NOT PASS. And I was sure that this WAS NOT NORMAL nor was I. Research shows that mothers don't fall in love with their child at first sight. And why is it that nobody talks about that?

Nobody talks about that because by doing so we might just imply that we, in fact, don't love our child. And in doing so, we might scar the child for life. And in doing so, our spouse would start to doubt their decision and our ability to mother our child. And in doing so, we might relagate motherhood to a very low status within the humanity of the world. In the end, we fall in love with our baby. But this realization is gained over time far beyond the first two weeks of the child's life. No woman in her right mind would chose a random male on the street and immediate be madly in love with him enough to bring him home, give him all of her money, and write him into her will. All the same is true for the new baby that appears in your midst.

So, you have to pretend that everything is fine and good and wonderful and happy. For the sake of the people with whom your speaking, you say things like, "I couldn't imagine my life anyother way." But in reality, you CAN imagine your life back the way it was. You CAN imagine your life without the extra responsibility. Or you might tell the on-lookers, "She's the best thing that has happened to us as a couple." But, really, the best thing that happened is that you became a couple in the first place and lived your lives together despite not having the child. But again, you have to pretend everything is fine and good and wonderful and happy so that the third parties don't pass judgement.

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