Thursday, October 18, 2012

on the love rush

Well, like the famous philosopher Paula Abdul says, two steps forward, two steps back.

Things have been improving with my emotional relationship with Linnea. I still don't feel that love rush that everyone talks about (I am currently attributing this to my personality trait of being slow to warm to strangers), but I feel somewhat bonded to her, and very protective. One of the turning points occurred at her 2-month vaccination visit. After weeks of not being certain that Linnea could distinguish me from any other person besides as a food source, it felt really nice to be able to comfort her after her shots. As if I was the only one who could do it. [This was probably not true, but I'm going to live in the land of fantasy here.] This day did a lot in building my confidence in our bond.

However.

My sister-in-law Brooke, who was 10 weeks behind me in pregnancy, gave birth the same day as Linnea's vaccinations. And her birth went well, and the baby is beautiful and sweet and calm and I am so, so happy for her because this is something that she has been wanting for years.

But.

Brooke, unlike me, was completely blissed out over the experience. She has been over the moon in love with her daughter, as is her fiance. And while I am so relieved and happy for them, an unexpected side effect was that it totally reinvigorated my initial doubts and struggles that came to bear during my postpartum period, and some of the issues with which I am *still* struggling.

I still am not completely blissed out over motherhood. When Linnea is awake, I enjoy my time with her. I am excited that she is smiling and cooing at me; I like tickling her feet and belly; I cheer her on as she starts batting at her overhead toys on her activity mat; I find myself staring at her face as she sleeps. But I still don't feel like I know who Linnea is, and it's made me nervous about what kind of relationship I have with her. There are times when I wish I could just have some space for myself, where I don't have to be ON all the time. I am worried that my going back to work and having Linnea in daycare will exacerbate these feelings.

I do not want to give the impression that I begrudge Brooke her babymoon, nor am I wishing anything negative to occur EVER EVER. I am super excited and proud of her, so thrilled at the newest addition to the family. But the juxtaposition of her experience and mine is making me question if I've been doing things all wrong, if I'm too rigid to fully give myself to my child, if I am in fact missing the mommy gene.

I am being reassured that these feelings are normal, and that over time, my love for her will grow as we get to know each other better. And it's entirely possible that things will happen gradually, and one day I'll wake up and find I'm already there. Or maybe I am already there, and I am totally overthinking things. It's so hard to know, and at after 10 weeks, I'm still finding myself questioning.

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