Is Baby Bonding the Same as Love at First Sight?

According to science, we have 5 days left till the predicted due date.  That’s roughly 120 hours, give or take a lifetime.

 

So naturally I should be feeling some sort of way right about now.

 

Well I do…

 

… I feel uneasy.

 

While I’ve been jumping through hoops these last few months to create this space to write about my thoughts, redecorate the house, establish the nursery, finish my Bachelors degree, apply for a Master’s program, pay off all the bills, make sure insurance and health issues are in order, and take care of preggo pants (the wife)– I haven’t really sat down and expressed my deepest fears with anyone.  And since this blog is self-righteously named The Scared Dad, it’s time to address what I’m most scared of.

 

I was talking to a friend today whom, like many, is anxiously awaiting the birth of my child.  She and I go way back, and she and her husband had just had a child of their own.  This child changed them, and changed their dynamic and brought out the best in them.  Although I’ve seen this with my own eyes, I’m not saying this with my words or observation.  Saying that their child brings out the best in them, is their own declaration.  Both hubby and wife have rejoiced in the life of their child and have told me many times how much of a good thing the baby is to them both as individuals and as a family.  And I can tell, having their baby has brought a very specific swagger to them both.

 

I have another friend who had his first 3 years ago and his second just recently.  And while getting used to being a father took some emotional life out of him, he stands tall and proud to be the father of his two beautiful, smart children.  And while being the seemingly perfect father came natural (it seems), I could tell, and I felt many times that finding that well-balanced niche between being a father and being yourself is a struggle, yet if he were in front of me right now he would tell me how instantaneously your life changes when you see your child for the first time.

 

Over and over, and through and through, expecting parents hear stories of how great kids are and how they instantly change your life for the better.  All we hear as expecting parents are accounts of how ALL parents instantly fell in love with their children from first sight, and how they knew–THEY KNEW– that they would do anything… even take a bullet for their newborn.

 

I worry I won’t.

 

I worry I won’t have this immediate feeling of pure enchantment.

 

I worry that this instantaneous overwhelmed unconditional love is something I’m not capable of.

 

And as I know I will take care of this child till my dying day with every ounce of protection, knowledge, love, and discipline he deserves, I’m sincerely scared that I won’t bond with my baby the way everyone describes it to be.

 

As ridiculous as it sounds, I’ve looked into this.  This is a common fear, as well as a common experience with many people.  There are mothers and fathers all over the globe who feel the same way, and have asked the question aloud.

 

What if I don’t bond with the baby?

 

Well there is no answer.  There is not a guaranteed, “you will.”  There are, however, many people who will sell this to you; “Oh don’t worry, you’ll instantly fall in love… you just wait till you see his little face…”  or, “are you out of your mind?  OF COURSE you’re going to love your baby.”

 

But I feel like these are false promises like– “there’s no greater feeling than sex,” or “Django is a really good movie.”

 

I have a friend who just married the love of his life.  She’s got two kids from a previous relationship, and he loves the shit out of those kids.  How do I know… because he’s not the kind of guy who would pretend to love kids to get in someone’s pants.  They got married before the wedding because he wanted to legally be their father as soon as he could.  That’s a very respectable thing to do, from the outside in… but to him it was the only thing to do… because it’s the right thing to do.

 

While I know the right thing to do, I still worry.   I know that I will have a very special relationship with my son.  I know this.  That is not my fear.  I am so militant in emotion that I deal with pain, death, and sorrow differently than most, as well as pleasure, excitement, and joy.  My fear is being so calloused, and hardhearted for the emotion of love, that I will miss this moment in my life… that maybe I’ll force it, and have to secretly live with the façade that while I love my child, I didn’t love him from the first time I saw him.

 

So while this may be ridiculous in the nature of your thoughts… this is really a taboo that’s never talked about.  Because realistically, it’s really a deep and dark stigma that nobody wants associated with them.

 

But as I finished my conversation up with my friend… she shone a light in my darkness with this…

text

 

Post to your own Blog here


Posted in Did He Really Just Say That?, Fearwith 8 comments.

Comments

  • Calvin E says:

    You know what? Thank you for such an honest look on this subject. When my wife was pregnant last year and it was getting closer to the arrival of my little girl, a lot of people were like; “you’re gonna love her to death” “You’re gonna be all googoo and gaagaa…” But I didn’t feel that way and for that I thought I was wrong. But putting it all in perspective, the baby was a new person in my life and naturally it would take time just like anything else. I loved her because she is my baby, but almost a year later, I find my love is definitely stronger and I know that it’s because the relation and the bond has been built. It wasn’t automatic for me! Thanks for making me feel better! This was on point!

    • You know what Calvin,

      You are the reason I write. So I can connect with the same situated kind of people. You know, my wife ased me just two nights ago if “I love him yet?” Well, I got silent, and yes of course I love him, but not in the sense of what she was asking. I love him to the point I want the very best for him. I want him to succeed and be a better person than I was/am… but that giddy feeling hasn’t flowed in yet. He’s cute as a button, and I love to play with him when he’s awake… but apparently (from what I’m told) the father’s bond comes later.

      So I’ll wait.

      Thanks for reading, and reaching out to me with your story! I sincerely appreciate it!

      Robert

  • Magen says:

    Glad to see you are having this discussion. I think this is a primary concern for the parent that doesn’t carry the child. Even though as Tatiana says above that relationship alone isn’t enough to be IN love with your child.

    As I search for ways to incorporate dads into the pregnancy process as much as possible one thing I am looking for is forms of prenatal bonding. Would love to hear people’s thoughts on prenatal bonding.

    • You know Magen,

      How I tried to bond prenatally, was by reading Where the Sidewalk Ends poems before nighttime. I didn’t always remember to do it, but I would. I also chose my favorite music to play through the belly buds. Other than that tummy rubs is about it.

      Thanks for reading!

      Robert

  • jasmine says:

    If I were in your shoes with a son on the way, I would love him because he’s half of the one I love and probably scared/hesitant to love him because he’s half of me so you hope he loves all of himself (the parts you gave him) and it’s really an overwhelming fear of will he love me?

  • Tatiana says:

    To answer your question on the title, No.
    Yes, you will love your child at first sight bc chances are you already love him. However, the kind of “I’m crazy about you, where have you been all my life” kind of love takes time. With Ellie it took weeks… Maybe even months. I loved that little girl bc she was mine but it wasn’t until later that I fell IN love with her. It probably would have happened sooner had I stopped pressuring myself to feel a certain way. The culprit: hormones, ppd, physical pain after the birth and exhaustion. I didn’t spend quality time with her during the first few weeks and that weakened my ability to bond with her early on. Chris, however, got to spend a lot of time with her. He was her primary care giver even when I was home and guess what… She is daddy’s little girl and they have an AMAZING bond.
    Fastforward 3.5 years later and things have reversed. I enjoyed every second I got to spend with Nico during the first few weeks and all I wanted to
    Do was hold him. The bonding with him came before we even left the hospital. My reasoning: we got to spend time alone. Just the two of us. I didn’t force myself to love him but it happened. Because of school Chris spends less time with Nico than he ever did with Ellie but I saw the change in him after he spent spring break with him. He started saying things like “I know how to calm him down, I got the touch.” Surprise! He does have the “I can put him to sleep quick” kind of touch but it took time… He might reject my conclusion, but it’s based on my observations.

    This is a long way of saying, spend time alone with Jacob and let Arleen do the same. Skin to skin does wonders. And if u look at him wondering if you are in lover or not, just wait, it will happen. Maybe hrs, days or weeks. Bonding happens after individuals have spent time together and they get to know each other and that’s when you actually fall in love.

    • You know… first and foremost thanks for this response. I actually got a lot of feedback from a daddy group I’m part of on Facebook as well.

      I knew it was common but really didn’t understand HOW common.

      It was the look, and reaction that a friend of ours gave me when I had initially mentioned it… and he made me feel like I was a complete sociopath for feeling this way. But after having read what you went through with Ellie, and being so close to you guys… it does make me fell that much better about it.

      Thanks again!

Pingbacks & Trackbacks

Leave a Reply to jasmine Cancel reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *


by Bliss Drive Review