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I’m Her Happy Place (Bonding with my Baby)

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.

Bonding with my Baby—what it was like the second time around

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!

Bonding with my Baby—what it was like the second time around

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.

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10 Comments

  1. This is so sweet. I can relate – the second pregnancy has been so much different, and I didn’t really get excited to meet this baby until recently. Before it was just a baby… now he’s OUR baby, and we’re all anticipating him coming and getting to know him.

    1. Yes, it’s still crazy to me how different they are! You’re getting so close! I’ll be curious to see how the transition and everything goes for you 🙂

  2. This definitely made me tear up; such a sweet story to tell. We don’t have any children and I’ve always wondering if people experienced different things with their second child. Thank you for sharing, I loved reading this post.

  3. Thanks for sharing your story. Oddly enough, I feel like the complete opposite happened with me. It took me a while to bond with my first, and there may or may not have been good reason for that. But with the second baby, while it also wasn’t immediate, it did come quicker, like in the first week or so. I think part of that was knowing that she will eventually say “I love you” back to me, since my bigger one does that now. I definitely had trouble ‘seeing into the future’ when my oldest was born.

  4. Jessica — absolutely! When expecting our second, I couldn’t imagine she could ever be as loved as our first. I just couldn’t. It was unfathomable to me. Our son was absolutely awesome and hilarious, and I couldn’t wrap my head around how another kid could fit into our world and be as great as he was.

    But she was. She fit perfectly. She is so much like her brother, but so different in her own little ways…

    Fast forward to number 3, and it was much easier. I knew what it was like to have another, to love another, to include another into the family. I found the 2-to-3 transition so much easier. I was better equipped for some things, but oh my, there is so much love, and so many laughs, and watching the older siblings with their baby sister, and watching the youngest laugh and giggle and just love her siblings —– priceless and wonderful. 🙂 Congrats on your girlies, Jess!

  5. I seriously love how honest and vulnerable you are here. There are such high expectations for perfect moments all the time for mothers. Reading your bonding story just warmed my heart.

  6. I also felt the same with my second pregnancy. It never felt real, I didn’t feel connected while trying to keep up with a 1 yr old. And even when she got here I did not feel the same at first as I did with my son. I felt like I cheated him for bringing her home and I felt like I cheated her because I didn’t feel as attached to her! But eventually I felt that, like you said it was the way she would look up and smile at me and snuggle into me!

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