When Love at First Sight Takes Longer

When you’re pregnant, there’s a whole lot of time to ponder the moment when you meet your newborn, and the vision often includes feeling instantly overcome with such joy and love that we you instantly transformed. It’s that classic movie moment where a beatific mother and child are embracing and tears of joy abound.

But what if it doesn’t happen? What if it’s not love at first sight when you meet your baby?

Then join the club, because for every mother who had that “perfect” moment, there is a mother who absolutely did not.

I’ll be the first to say that when my baby came out, I was like, ‘Oh, she is hideous.’ Just very bruised and I just didn’t feel that connection. It took me about two weeks … It wasn’t instant for me, so if it’s not for you, don’t feel like something is wrong.
— Veteran Mom
I was expecting this euphoria and amazing rainbows and glitter in the background, but it was like ‘I like you and I know I love you, but I don’t feel, like, gushy.’ I didn’t really until a few weeks into it, which was also kind of scary.
— Veteran Mom

Carrying a baby during a long stretch of pregnancy doesn’t guarantee it’s love at first sight the minute they’re born. It’s one thing to have your baby nestled in your womb and quite another to have them outside your body and needing immediate attention. The moment may be filled with a mash-up of emotions from exhilaration to trepidation.  

 There are a whole host of reasons why you might not feel immediately in love and they’re all valid. Maybe you’re in the throes of processing childbirth, especially if it didn’t go as planned; maybe you’re beyond fatigued or overwhelmed; maybe it’s your temperament to proceed slowly when getting to know someone, your baby included. Whatever the reason, the important thing to know is that it’s normal and doesn’t foretell that you won’t love your baby, because you most assuredly will—it may just take some time.

I feel like she came out and I loved her, but that instinctual thing didn’t really kick in until three weeks in.
— Veteran Mom
You have all of these expectations where it’s going to be the happiest moment of your life, the symphony is going to play and you and your husband are going to cry … I loved her, obviously, but I love her now more than I did the day she was born. It’s a love that has grown for me.
— Veteran Mom