Gemma Raine is three months old today! What a wild ride. Life is so sweet right now. She truly is a happy, smiley, easy baby to take care of. But I want to open up about how it wasn’t always easy. Bonding with her did not happen overnight for me. It was a journey, learning how to mother and learning how to love that deeply.
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When I saw those two little lines on our positive pregnancy test (almost an entire year ago) I was overwhelmed with emotions. Yet, at the same time, it was all a daze. “Hi there Little One,” I remember whispering those words to her.
I loved her but sometimes it didn’t feel real. Was it all a dream? I couldn’t hold her or touch her, I didn’t even know if she was a girl at that time. She had such a long way to go before I could meet her. There was a fear that I would never meet her. But I did love her.
When I saw her first ultrasound I wasn’t prepared. I didn’t expect to see her so clearly. Wouldn’t she just be a tiny unrecognizable dot? I remember that first glimpse so clearly. I could see her arms and legs. Even then she was wriggling around inside of me.
Fast forward to the moment she finally left the womb and they placed her in my arms for the first time. It’s a moment I had been dreaming about for so long. I couldn’t wait to see her sweet face and feel that incomprehensible love I had heard so much about. The deep bond between a mother and her child.
They laid her on my chest and I coo’d at how beautiful she was and how good it felt to finally hold her. I was in awe but I felt a little empty. Maybe it was because I could feel her absence in my womb. An emptiness inside of me from where she once resided. I was waiting for a click, a magical moment and I was left disappointed.
A nurse asked, “do you want to try breastfeeding?”
I was excited and let the nurse help me latch her on. Surely this was when I would feel connected to her in some way. I mean she grew INSIDE of me. That had to count for something, right?
“How is it?” Dallas asked, his eyes were still bright with joy and adrenaline.
I wanted to say it’s magical. I wanted to say it’s breathtaking and beautiful and deep and bonding and unexplainable. That’s what I wanted to say, what I wanted to feel. Instead, I was honest.
The little bundle of joy in my arms, drinking from my body, she was alien to me. Foreign. Did I really just spend nine months, 39 weeks to the day, physically connected to her? Then she leaves my womb and it’s like I don’t recognize her at all.
Now don’t get me wrong. I loved her. I thought she was beautiful. There was a fierce need to protect her because she was so tiny and helpless. But it wasn’t what I had been imagining for nine months. I didn’t weep when I held her… Okay, actually I did but they were remnants of my labor tears, not because I was so deeply, head over heels, in love.
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My life turned into autopilot. I fed her, I changed her, I held her, I limped to the bathroom and I ate some food. Then I repeated the entire cycle again.
Feed, Change, Hold, Limp, Eat, Repeat.
Was it wrong that I didn’t feel any fairy-tale connection to her? I blamed it on my struggle with breastfeeding. You can read that story >> here.
There was fear and guilt in those first few weeks. When would it hit me that I was holding my daughter and not just a tiny babe that I needed to feed, change and protect. When would I feel intimately close with her?
It turns out there was no big moment. There was no hit-you-over-the-head, blink-of-an-eye, instant. I didn’t make a 180 degree turn, I didn’t drastically change at the drop of a hat.
No. Instead, there were a million tiny seconds. A coo, a stare, a sweet snore and snuggly nap. Then a smile, a grasp of the finger, a lullaby with droopy eyes. Somewhere along the way I recognized that my love and connection with her was growing. I hadn’t even realized it at first.
I look at her now, 3 months old, as she sleeps next to me and my heart bursts with love for her. She can find me from across the room and I know that she recognizes me. I peak over her bassinet in the morning and when she gives me her morning laugh I know it’s just for me. Her mother.
But it didn’t happen overnight.
So take heart sweet mama. Don’t be ashamed and don’t be afraid if it doesn’t click instantly. It takes time to build trust. Sometimes it can even take time to fall head-over-heels in love. Keep on keepin’ on. Before you know it you’ll look down at that child of yours and you’ll be overwhelmed at the bond the two of you share.
3 month update:
At our doctor’s appointment last week Sweet Gemma weighed 12lbs and 5oz. She is also measuring 25inches long! Our girl is starting to grow out of the smaller 0-3month sized clothes but I’ve yet to put a 3-6month outfit on her. I don’t know if my heart can take it.
She spent one day rolling over from tummy to back but has yet to do it again without help. She likes to roll onto her side from her back but no farther. We are working on tummy time and she tolerates it a little more now, but she will still get tired easily. Her fisher price chair is one of her favorite toys because she loves sitting up and seeing everything that’s happening around her.
Nights are consistently getting better. She sleeps through the night every now and then. If not she will usually wake up every four hours or so which is still a good chunk of sleep for me. She is fully on formula now and has taken to it pretty well.
She loves playing with her daddy, except when he tries to toss her up in the air. (that’s still too scary) and she will drop almost anything she’s doing to find her mommy when I start talking. She loves to talk and will coo and babble to people and to herself.
We love you sweet girl!