I'm not afraid of being an adoptive mom. Certain concerns sneak up over time and as my daughter gets older, sure, but over the course of the 18 months my daughter has been on this planet and in our home, I haven't worried about whether she would feel loved or love me back. However, the first time she clung to my neck with her tiny arms, I realized I felt relieved to have my baby hug me for the first time.
Having a young baby involves giving another human being an endless amount of love, without receiving much in return for a pretty extended period of time. Of course, that doesn't change if your baby is adopted, either. Biological or otherwise, babies are needy. So, when they hug you for the first time it's such a lovely feeling of confirmation. You realize, in that precious moment, that all those months of feeding and rocking and burping were completely worth it. Honestly, perhaps that's the most apt description of motherhood: the longest delay of gratitude ever.
In other words, when your baby gives you a hug for the first time, it can be quite monumental. Hugs take more coordination and effort than kisses, so they feel especially well-earned when they finally arrive. Then they fill you with all the feels, including the following:
I felt a tiny twinge of relief when my daughter hugged me for the first time. The love I had been lavishing on her for months felt fully reciprocated in that moment.
Completely overtaking the twinge of relief was an enormous surge of love for that tiny being with her arms wrapped around my neck.
First baby hugs are like drugs (or so I'd imagine, as I'm not really well-versed in narcotics). Like tiny happiness drugs that make you feel like you'd probably hand your baby the keys to the car if they were capable of asking, just to get another amazing hug.
Does your baby ever make you feel completely unworthy of their unabashed love for you? Like, you just aren't sure you could possibly be good enough, as a mom, to earn such love from them? I know that's not really the case, but gosh, mom guilt is complicated and sneaky.
Like most milestones my daughter reached, the first time she gave me a hug also filled me with utter fear that I wouldn't be able to protect her every minute of her life. In our day-to-day life I don't experience that fear very frequently, but I sure do when she does something extra lovely or hits one of her milestones. Her entire life flashes before me and I just want to never let her out of my grip.
You know those early hugs with your partner when you were first dating, and you just felt completely present and connected? That's how I felt when my daughter hugged me for the first time. I felt totally connected and present in that moment. Her hugs are still rare enough that that feeling hasn't completely dissipated yet, although I guess it could over time.
Maybe every hug she ever gives me won't make the entire world stop turning for a few moments, but I hope it does.
I was so proud that she had managed to figure out the concept of hugging, let alone the actions required to complete a hug. Babies' little brains are so much bigger than we give them credit for. They can understand much more at an earlier age than I ever anticipated, especially before I became a mom and saw it with my own eyes.
A Little Silly
Honestly, that's a lot of emotions to attach to a single moment with my first born baby girl. Still, it really was a very special moment filled with complex emotion that I'm glad I'll be able to remember forever.