Before I became a mother I thought I would immediately bond with my babies the moment they were born. Just like so many things in parenthood, though, reality didn't match my expectations. Turns out, sometimes bonding with another human takes time. Despite breastfeeding difficulties, postpartum depression, postpartum pain, and feelings of inadequacy, slowly, but surely, my body recovered and let me know I was bonding with my baby.
Some of these signs were pretty subtle, like a faint ache in my heart when I looked at their tiny hands and feet or smelled their sweet baby heads. Others were less subtle, like the inexplicable tears resulting from a slew of mixed emotions — happy, overwhelmed, sad, excited, and exhausted — that I couldn't seem to control. Others weren't really subtle at all. I mean, unless you call shooting breast milk out of my nipples and across a room when you hear your baby cry, subtle. At the time, I totally didn't realize that these signs were just my body's way of telling me that I was bonding with my baby and, in the end, there was nothing to worry about. It might not have been immediate, but my newborn and I were forging a relationship that would, and will, last forever.
This might sound sentimental, but I never knew my heart could grow in its capacity to love, until I became a mother. It totally can, though. The first weeks of motherhood were so emotionally draining and physically taxing, to be sure, but I discovered that if you stop and listen to what your body is telling you, you just might feel your bond with your baby grow as each day passes.