When I found out I was pregnant with the princess I was so excited, I loved being pregnant! I was one of those annoying people who flew through the pregnancy glowing and radiant, declaring to all and sundry how wonderful it was. I found out what I was having so I had named and connected with her already, her wardrobe was filled with pink, I did a little video message for her the night before I went in for my induction,I had my birthing ball, Gordon Ramsay’s Autobiography for light reading after a shower and straightening my hair while my little princess slept, I had read Gina Forde, I was going to breastfeed, it was going to be love at first sight, we were going to bond like no one had ever bonded before, I was ready to be a mom and couldn’t wait…..
And then she arrived! I’ve spoken about my horrendous birth briefly before so my beautiful images of me meeting my new little princess and holding her in my arms and telling her I loved her didn’t quite pan out how I imagined! My first memory of seeing her through my general anesthetic haze was me thinking “look at the size of her and why is her head so squished and out of shape and most importantly is she mine?” I felt absolutely no connection whatsoever, it could have been anybody’s child in the cot beside me, she wasn’t even wearing her little pink Next babygro washed in Persil non bio that I had washed, hung out on the line and ironed to perfection, I should probably point out at this stage I don’t do ironing to perfection, she was in a faded hospital babygro and a hosptial blanket and I was hemmorrhaging away on the table. Hang on, this wasn’t how it was supposed to be!
All I remember is Bru’s proud face beaming from ear to ear( me probably thinking “what the hell is smiling about”? ah bleeding to death here) and feeding “our” daughter,I still hadn’t claimed ownership, I still wasn’t convinced as I had gone into an operating theatre, went to sleep and woke up with a baby beside me. My perfect birth experience couldn’t have been less perfect, there was no putting my baby on my chest after my very quick and successful labour with no medical intervention and no stitches, seeing her little face for the first time, crying with tears of joy, giving Bru a big congratulatory hug, wrapping her up and putting her to my breast and snuggling up in pure “new mommyheaven”…
No siree, I wasn’t even the first to feed her but I’m glad Bru was, I vaguely remember them putting her beside me but I could barely see her, next thing I knew I was back in theatre. I don’t even know to this day where she was when I went back in. I spent the first night in Special Care with a lovely midwife called Valerie and she fed and cared for her while I was just an observer from a far drifting in and out of sleep. I remember at one stage Valerie left the room and “the baby” beside me started spluttering and choking and I couldn’t even move to help her.
The next day I was moved to my room and could hardly lift my head off the pillow but it was time to start feeding this little person. She was attached to my milking machine(it is no longer a breast as you know it) by one of the nurses as I didn’t have the strength to lift her and still nothing, here was this little stranger sucking away and I didn’t even know her, no connection whatsoever. I didn’t really have much to do with her the next couple of days as Bruno and my family changed her nappy and looked after her, she was attached to me every so often for a feed but she never latched on properly so I was feeling none of this breastfeeding love.
Of course then just to make sure we really didn’t bond they sent me off to a different hospital and stuck her in Neo for 3 days where she was looked after by the staff there and Bruno and my “mil” called in to feed her. When I got back we had our first moment alone while I waited for Bru to come in and although I knew she was mine and of course I knew I loved her I just felt detached. Jesus what was wrong with me? I had read so much about this fantastic instant bond with fireworks going off all around and a love so strong and scary that would overwhelm me, I was more in love and attached to my Difene and my next fix of it. She was on formula at this stage as my breastfeeding plans went out the window once I moved hospital and she was having trouble latching on anyway and I had mastitis which I didn’t really notice because I was so sick but I do remember it was pretty sore….
I spent the whole 2 weeks in hospital just waiting to get home to start my new life with my little princess and for our bonding to begin but I don’t think anything prepares you for how hard the first couple of months with your first-born is! I found it really tough, I was still quite sick and on anti-b’s and iron and oh just had a little c-section and 2 general anesthetics too and just wasn’t prepared for the all-consuming mental anguish of being a first time mom. The only way I can describe it is being in a constant haze of guilt, confusion, insecurity, worry, lack of confidence and good lord the tiredness. If there hadn’t been a bond in the hospital there definitely wasn’t now.
I just felt like a machine, I couldn’t relax, I love the way they tell you to rest and sleep when they sleep – HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Not a hope, if you’re not cleaning the house, you’re checking her every 2 seconds to see if she’s still breathing even though the horse noises indicate she is, you’re doing bottles and freaking out over the boiled water in the 2 different kettles, washing babygros and more babygros and vests and more vests and your tracksuits(you get to wear nothing else), going to the toilet(which becomes a rare occurence) or fighting with Bru who’s turn it is to have a shower, actually you end up fighting a lot over who’s turn it is to feed the baby or do the bottles or change the nappy or get the sudocream upstairs, your relationship goes out the window. We were both just consumed by the bundle making horse noises in the moses basket in the corner, I couldn’t even relax watching the T.V, my brain was in over-drive with the responsibility of caring for this new little being who had just waltzed into our perfect lives and caused havoc, me and Bru don’t fight for crying out loud and here we were arguing like school kids about how to use the sterilizer and how long he got to spend in the bathroom and how come he had time to shave….
Christ I couldn’t wait to get to the 6 week mark, all the books said it got easier, at around week 5 she got constipated when we changed formula, she fed every 90 mins as she was so hungry so after a quick chat with my local health nurse and my sanity we changed formula. I can honestly say I have never been so obsessed with poo in my life, I think I cried all day because she hadn’t had a dirty nappy and was a bit distressed, even though to be honest I was in more distress, I just had to make it to week 6 and everything would be rosy and life would be stress free, she would be sleeping the night and we would be bonding like mo-fo’s….
And it came and went and nothing changed, it was still as bloody hard and I think I even had another cry that she was 6 weeks and it was still wasn’t any easier
then week 7 came and week 8 and week 9 and she started to see and she started to smile and she started to lift her head and she started to recognise me and she kept pooing and I got to have more showers and OH MY GOD I fell so in love with her, her little fingers & toes, her smell, her long dark eyelashes, the bald patch on her head, her little pouty lips, I inhaled her! I’d sit and watch her sleep in amazement, I’d leave the telly off just so I could hear her little breathing, I’d wait impatiently for her to wake up just so I could see her little smile and her little legs and arms go crazy every time I spoke to her. I took her everywhere with me in the house, I couldn’t bare to leave her in the room on her own and when she started to gurgle and call for me from her basket, I melted and left all my fears and stress in the first 6 weeks and got on with bonding with “my” beautiful little princess….
p.s what was your experience? did you bond immediately or did it take a while?