Here’s the truth: I didn’t instantly fall in love with my kids.
I didn’t have post partum depression. I didn’t have horrible birthing experiences or pregnancies. I planned both kiddos so it’s not like they were a surprise. I’m just a regular ol’ mom who popped out a kid and thought, “I love you in a very, ‘It’s my job to protect you and keep you alive’ sort of way” who ended up falling in love as she got to know said humans.
With my first kid, the falling in love was easy. He wasn’t a difficult baby, I was in denial that my life had changed (totally helpful coping mechanism by the way), and he had an infectiously cheerful disposition that made him fun to be around. The older he got, the more fun he became. So when baby number two came out, I was instantly frustrated that my husband got to play with the fun kid while I did the tedious task of keeping the other one alive.
What I hesitate most about saying that is the possibility that she could read this one day and think, “Holy shit, my mom hasn’t liked me from day one.” That couldn’t be further from the truth. The truth is that I was terrified.
For the first time in a long time, I thought maybe I had bit off more than I could chew.
Baby number two wasn’t easy. She’s more sensitive than her brother. She requires that life be less frantic and extroverted. She requires thought and intention. All things I actually learned to love about her five months later. But that’s just it. We learned to love each other. And that kind of love … the kind that requires commitment and choice … it’s special.
I love her brother because I understand him. In a way, it’s the easier kind of love because he is so convenient. When someone feels like an extension of your own personality (the good, bad and the ugly), it’s effortless to connect with them. She’s more of a mystery. And the more time we spend together, the more I want to know about her. It’s the kind of love that makes me more curious about the other people in my life and what makes them tick.
What no one told me is that connection with your kids will look different each time. So, go at your own pace. Get to know one another. Enjoy the opportunity to learn more about yourself and these tiny humans who may not be anything like you. It makes the moment when it all comes together so much sweeter. I promise. Even if it’s 6 months, one year or 16 years later.