I have someone who comes to my house once a week to do a combo class with me and the baby. She takes me through meditation guides framed to help me adjust to being what she calls “a newborn mom” and then the last half of the class she leads Kensi and I through an infant massage lesson.
During yesterday’s session, she took me through a really great exercise that I wanted to elaborate on – which is deconstructing the myth that you will fall instantly in love with your baby. This is something that can obviously be a source of anxiety for me because ever since Kensi was born, I’m like – ok is something wrong with me? Why am I not falling head over heels for this blob? How come it’s not like in those stupid diaper commercials when the baby is put on the mom’s body and they look at each other longingly?
I was increasingly feeling guilty because god – there are people out there who are STRUGGLING to have a baby and here I am with a healthy baby that I struggle to adore. But then she asked me a bunch of questions that made me check myself (b/c I obviously already wrecked myself):
- Tell me how you and Dan met? Was it love at first sight?
- Tell me about Frankly? You obviously adore her. Can you tell me what it was like when you first got her?
And that’s when I was reminded of something really important about myself that I must have forgotten and failed to acknowledge during this whole crisis of post partum depression and anxiety. I AM SLOW TO WARM.
That’s just inherently who I am.
So no – I didn’t fall instantly in love with Dan, but somehow Dan is now the most important person in my life. It was a relationship that evolved into what it is now. Hello – we were together for SIX YEARS before we were like ummm should we get married?
Similarly with Frankly – I remember how much work she was for the first 3 months. I was always on edge in the condo with her because I was worried she would have an accident, so I never felt like I could really enjoy her (because of the fear she would defecate on me if I held her too long lol). And now I’m OBSESSED with Frankly.
And then I went and thought more about this and drafted a list of things in my life that I came to really enjoy but took a considerable amount of time to evolve to that point:
- Jobz jobz and more jobs. The past 5 years, every job that I’ve held – it took me months if not up to a year to really enjoy it. That’s because I needed time to 1) learn my job and feel competent and then confident at it 2) forge friendships at work 3) get accustomed to a new routine
- People. There are SOOO many amazing friendships that I have in my life but if I really think about it – none of them were instantaneous. It took a lengthy amount of time to develop and achieve a closeness and depth and none of that was created overnight
- Music. Sometimes I’ll hear a song and I WILL fall instantly in love with it (hello Starboy or as some of you might remember, my Wrecking Ball ala Miley Cyrus phase). But other times, it takes time for me to appreciate a song or an artist. Great example: Elton John! I’ve heard his music a bunch of times but then one day years back I REALLY listened to ‘Tiny Dancer’ and it really hit me and I thought holy shit, this song is really good. I should listen to his other music. And since then, I’ve seen Elton John perform live twice because I’m so obsessed with the man.
- Sushi. When I first tried sushi I thought no m’am not for me. But then after trying a bunch of different rolls over time my palette evolved and of course I grew to love it, and subsequently shed a tear when I had to give it up during my pregnancy (haha not, I still snuck some pieces in).
Based on my above list – I’m reminding myself to be gentle and kind and to acknowledge the person that I am in relation to Kensi. I love her because I am taking care of her and she’s thriving, but I’m not in love with her because it’s only been 8 weeks and so far, she takes a whole lot from me and offers very little reward in return (unless rewards are now being defined as dirty diapers in which case I would be rich).
I’m also reminding myself to trust the process and to review the list of all the things in my life that I love and are important to me (Dan, Frankly, Elton John, etc). None of these love affairs were instantaneous, all of them grew and evolved over time – and Kensi should be considered no different.
I need to let go of my guilt and just trust that it will happen because it’s happened every other instance in my life before with anything that’s been important to me, so just TRUST.