I savored every single minute of my first pregnancy (within reason, of course; I mean, you can only enjoy it so much when you feel sick for three months straight). Since my husband was deployed for the majority of the pregnancy, it was just me and the little bun in my belly for seven months. For lack of a better phrase, we were basically BFFs. I would stop what I was doing every time I felt her move and kick; I talked to her, sang to her, and imagined what she’d look like when she was born. I was totally attached to her before we ever met face to face—that little girl had me wrapped around her finger.
And then I got pregnant again, a little sooner than expected. Of course I was happy, but it also didn’t seem real, even after going to that first appointment where I saw the baby’s heart beat. Sometimes I didn’t feel pregnant at all, mostly because I was too busy solo-parenting my toddler to notice, and since there’s a lot less pomp and circumstance and anticipation regarding second babies, the excitement surrounding the whole ordeal was minimal.
Actually, I spent the majority of my pregnancy feeling sad and nervous, because our family of three seemed so perfect and cozy, and I couldn’t imagine another little person getting all up in our business. I loved Julia so, so much, and was really worried that I wouldn’t feel that way with my second born, especially since I was feeling a serious lack of bond with her already. Of course, I never admitted that beyond barely whispering it to my husband a few times, but it weighed extremely heavy on my heart.
Since I never voiced my fears about not bonding with my second child, I read different blogs and articles about bringing home another baby, hoping I’d read about how normal it was for those thoughts I had. They all said that your heart would just grow; they said that you’ll find room to love that next baby just as much as your first—maybe not in the same way, but in a different way. I tried to connect with her during my pregnancy. I’d take time to slow down at the end of the day and try to enjoy the moments when I’d feel her kick, but that connection would only last a few minutes. To be honest, even when I was in labor—literally in the throes of contractions—I still didn’t feel connected to her. When they placed her on my chest I felt joy and relief, but there wasn’t that euphoric overwhelming and intense love-at-first-sight moment for me.
But you know what? That euphoric overwhelming and intense love-at-first-sight moment was there for her.
While I was too busy and too tired during my pregnancy, and while I didn’t directly talk to her in the womb or imagine what she’d look like, she was bonding with me. She heard my voice and she listened as I chatted with her sister. She was memorizing my scent and familiarizing herself with noises around her. We had a hard time coming up with a name for her, unlike her sister’s name that we figured out before we even knew she was a girl. But while I didn’t have a name to call her, she already knew my name and who I was to her.
I didn’t actually realize any of this until she was a couple of weeks old. I was nursing and rocking her to sleep, and in the midst of having a random conversation with my mom, I looked down and instead of eating, she was smiling at me. Then she started cooing. She’d eat a little and then smile some more, and that’s when it hit me. I’m her happy place. I was too busy to “bond” with her during the nine months she grew inside me, but during that time, she was soaking in everything about me. I’m her happy place; I’m her person!
I can tell you now that without a doubt I love Madilyn with every fiber in my body. It was a gradual and slow love, but sometimes that’s the best kind. Her smile literally makes me cry because she’s so beautiful, and the way she stares at me with her big brown eyes captivates me down to my core. It took me more time than I’d like to admit to bond with my little girl, but when it happened—and it did happen—it washed over me like a refreshing waterfall and took over me something fierce. She’s my everything and I truly can’t imagine our family without her now.