On August 25, 2012 I gave birth to the most beautiful baby I'd ever seen. And I felt nothing. Everyone had told me it would be this moment where your whole life changed and the center of your universe shifted and everything became brighter. When I eventually felt something it was only fear.
I wanted my husband, and I wanted my mother to go away. I didn't want anyone to hold her because I didn't want them to hurt her. My head kept saying 'don't mess up, if you mess up she will die before your husband even gets to meet her and it will be all your fault.'
When I came back here for moral support I felt better, it seemed I wasn't the only one who didn't instantaneously bond with my newborn and that was comforting. Everyone assured me that love would grow over time. I had no problems caring for her, and I did love her. I didn't ever not love her. It was just not the way I expected it to feel.
It has changed, and evolved. I feel a fierceness, a desire to protect her. She makes me smile, she makes me laugh, but I feel like I am not loving her as a mother should.
Every time I think of going somewhere with her all I think of is worst case scenario, someone harming her, me hurting her accidentally - like dropping her, someone stealing her. So I rarely go out. Once I am out I'm fine, but when I'm inside the outside world is frightening. I want to protect her.
When we are home I feel weary. I hate myself for thinking 'oh dear god is it nap time yet' or 'will you please sit quietly and give me a few minutes to myself'. I have a bad habit of handing her off to my husband as soon as he gets in the door.
I've never felt like such a failure in my life as I do as a mom.
I'm supposed to love her endlessly and want to be around her all the time. I thought I would be like my mother and find not greater joy in the world than simply sitting and watching her play all day, but I find excuses to lay her down and walk away... to do dishes, fold laundry, feed the dogs, answer a text. Anything to get my space!
I don't ignore her though. We spend the day together. We read books, we watch Blue's Clues, we play airplane and do tummy time. She is so beautiful and brilliant and when I'm close to her my heart swells, but when I'm tired, when I step away... I feel like it fades. I feel like my mother's love only lasts within close proximity to her and I don't know whats wrong with me.
I hear second time moms talking about how the love was more instantaneous the second time, and how the love will only grow in the family not be divided and find myself thinking that maybe I could have another. Maybe if we had another baby, this time I would get it right. Maybe it would make me a better mom to Chloe.
I'm still waiting, and I hope it comes around. I love my daughter, I'm just waiting for the earth to move.