You don't have to love your baby yet

You don't have to love your baby yet | The Chicago Doulas | Birth and labor support

Everyone talks about it.  They GUSH about it.  It's that oxytocin-filled, mama bear, new baby love, and everyone says it's awesome, primal, and inevitable.

But is it?

While lots of women immediately fall in love with their babies the moment their warm, slippery bodies are placed on their chest after birth, many women don't.  That's not to say the immediate postpartum period is not filled with a rush of intense emotions, but it's possible that love may not be one of those initial emotions, and that's okay.

How do women feel after giving birth?  

Exhausted.  Exhilarated.  Overwhelmed.  Anxious.  Sore.  Confused.  Relieved.  Happy.  Sad.  Ecstatic.  Mourning the loss of a birth that didn't go as planned.  And everything in between.

Know that if your baby comes out and you wonder if it's even yours, freak out at the possibility of taking care of a newborn, and have anxiety about what the next step is, it is totally normal. 

In the days after giving birth you might look at your new postpartum body in the mirror and miss when your abdomen was round and taut and filled with baby, and you'll be a little sad and upset with your baby for being born.

And when you retrieve your wildly rooting baby from the bassinet only to have him or her settle immediate in your arms, sans food, you might look at this newborn face and wonder why your sleep cycle has been interrupted for the fifth time that night for this strange creature that you feel compelled to take care of.  But love...not sure yet.

But some time--it might be as you look down at your wide-eyed newborn nursing that very first time or it might be months later when you finally get a toothless grin of gratitude...

...you will love your baby.