Will I love my baby?
Updated: Dec 19, 2023
Will I love my baby? This was a question I asked myself throughout my second pregnancy following the birth of my my first daughter. After my first daughter, Arabella, was born I didn't get that immediate "rush of love" that I'd heard so much about. I felt relieved that she was here safely, tired from the work of birth and shocked that she was a girl, we had wanted a 'surprise' but I was certain she was going to be a boy. I'd achieved the birth I wanted, fully supported by my husband, Martin, and my health care team throughout, but 'love' was not a feeling describing how I felt. 'Shock' would be more appropriate.
You can read Arabella's breech birth story blog on the website.
When we got home from hospital I asked my Martin if he loved our daughter and he replied "I know I need to take care of her but I don't know if I love her yet" oh the relief I felt when he said those words. It wasn't just me.
The thing is, when she was born I hadn't heard many people describe their postnatal feelings the same as mine and I felt like I'd failed, I felt guilty for not feeling 'how I should' and jealous of the people who felt the immediate love for their baby. I also thought if I told my health visitor how I felt, that I didn't feel 'love' for my baby, she'd be taken away from me. Something, with hindsight, I know not to be true.
Falling in love with my baby
It was 6 weeks later, walking in the park, looking in her pram that out of the blue I thought "oh wow I love you" - I can remember that walk and that feeling so clearly, even 6 1/2 years later.
I have since listened to other's talk about their postnatal feelings of love for their baby and found reassurance when others say they felt the the same as me. I wasn't just me.
Second time round
When it came to my second pregnancy, I was keen to find out the sex of our baby as I hoped this would help me bond with her before she was born. I talked to her in my tummy and visualised her, but most important to me, I accepted that I might not feel the immediate "rush of love" for her and I was ok with it. I knew love would come in time. I talked to Martin and my friends and family about my feelings and found this really helped.
As it turned out, after I birthed my second daughter, Adeline, as soon as I saw her and heard her cry, I felt it, an overwhelming rush of love, I cried and told Martin "I love her" between sobs.
I share Adeline's home water birth story on the Positive Birth Leeds blog.
I guess what I'm saying is, however you feel when your baby is born is valid and talking can really help you process and accept your feelings and remove any shame or stigma. If you feel worried at all, speak to your friends, family, midwife or doctor.
You are doing an amazing job and if you need to chat, I'm always happy to listen.
I teach group and private one-to-one Hypnobirthing courses to help you get informed and feel confident, relaxed and empowered for your baby's birth.
Alternatively get in touch to ask about private 1:1 course availability.