Dear Is This Normal,

Is it normal to not yet feel a connection yet with the baby?

Signed,

Not Bonding Yet

Dear Not Bonding,

Oh mama, this is so so so so very normal, I can’t even tell you. We have this very romanticized view of pregnancy and childbirth and motherhood that makes us believe it should all be beautiful and magical and transformative from the very beginning. But you know what? Pregnancy is hard! Lots of moms did not enjoy it (myself included). I mean, just look at childbirth. The most RIDICULOUSLY hard thing, like, pretty much ever? And don’t even get me started on postpartum recovery. 

If we’re being honest, the first weeks and months of motherhood are … sort of underwhelming? At least in terms of beauty and magic. In terms of level of difficulty, it’s off the freaking charts. You’re dealing with this immense upheaval in your life and now you have to keep this other strange little person alive as well? Plus, in the midst of all that, you’re expected to form this immediate and unbreakable bond with a stranger. Bonding happens differently in every family. In fact, studies show that approximately 20% of new parents don’t feel an immediate emotional attachment with their new baby. You are far from alone.

I think it might help to let go of that romanticized (and often unrealistic) version of bonding that you were expecting. It can take weeks or even months to begin to feel a connection to your baby, especially if you had a traumatic birth, a c-section, had trouble breastfeeding, or suffer from postpartum depression. Right now, when you’re in the newborn trenches, don’t get caught up in the fact that your heart doesn’t swell when your baby cries at 2 A.M.,  and don’t feel guilty over the frustration you feel when you have to feed them 20 minutes after you just finished feeding them (because breastfeeding a newborn is bananas). You ARE bonding with your baby. Just think of all of the little ways you tend to them, the ways you soothe them, and the gentle care you take when changing their diaper or giving them a sink bath. 

Those are moments of motherhood and those moments mean something. Every time you touch your baby, you’re bonding. Every feeding, every diaper change, every moment spent rocking her to sleep. Your bond is built, brick by brick, in all the ways you care for your baby.

So, give yourself grace, mama. Don’t rush into this. Give yourself time to heal and adjust to this new season of life.  Give yourself a chance to get to know your baby! It’s OK to not feel a super strong emotional attachment with them just yet. It doesn’t mean you don’t love them, and it doesn’t mean you’re not a good mom. It just means that this process, for you, is going to take some time. 

Hell, I have friends who didn’t feel truly bonded with their baby until the first time the baby smiled at them! And as we know, that can take months. It’s going to look different for everyone. Keep doing what you’re doing and don’t put any more pressure on yourself. You two will get there, in your own time.

All in Good Time,

Is This Normal

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