Thursday, 29 March 2012

Baby Love

I'm going to write about something I have been thinking alot about recently. 

Ava turned 6 months yesterday and it got me to thinking about when she was born. About those first few weeks and about how hard they were. 

Particularly as things are going so well right now. She's amazing. She giggles ALL day, she can entertain herself for a reasonable amount of time to let me get the odd thing done around the house and she really is just the most adorable, gorgeous, cute and amazing little thing I have ever met.

But I didn't always feel this euphoric about her presence. When she was first born I loved her. There's no doubt about that. But in a different way. In a sort of biological, animal, protective way. I cared for her. Fed her. Looked after her. I cried when she cried. And I hurt when she hurt. And I did everything in my power to stop her crying. And to stop her hurting. 

We had a rough first few weeks when she had bad colic and I spent many days treading the floor with her. Trying to soothe her. To stop her crying and to make her feel better.

But the love I feel for her now is so different to what it was back then. It's grown every single day. Become more powerful. And I finally have that overwhelming rush of pure, helpless love that everyone talks about. 

But it didn't come straight away. 

I loved her. Yes. But it was a kind of functional love. I was tired, emotional. Pregnancy and then labour had shaken my hormones up like a snow globe (my boyfriends analogy, but a good one). Everything was still settling back down again. I couldn't stand to see her hurting. But I was so tired I was almost robotic. 

Feed. Change. Soothe. Wake in middle of night. Feed, change, soothe. So on and so forth. 

I did what I had to do but I didn't feel like I could properly connect with her whilst she was so distressed.

I remember my Mum asking me about feeling 'lucky' and the absolute sadness I felt inside when my reaction wasn't the expected one. She told me about how she used to pinch herself when I was a baby. Because she just felt so lucky. And I didn't have that. Of course I felt blessed. But I didn't feel 'lucky'. She was my baby. I cared for her deeply. But she was here through biology. Not luck.

I cried every day for about two months. I remember countless conversations with my boyfriend where I was convinced my baby didn't even like me. I convinced myself that she settled better when she went to him. That she cried less. Looking back he'll confirm that this was in my head. 

Now? Now I feel like the luckiest person in the world. Ever since her colic cleared up my feelings for her have grown stronger and stronger with each day that passes. Sometimes I'm overwhelmed by the power of my feelings. Of how strongly I care for her. So much so, that sometimes I do the macabre parent thing of trying to imagine if she was taken from  me. If something terrible happened. But I can't allow myself to explore the thought for anymore than a few seconds. I can't see the horrible fantasy through. Because its just too awful to bare thinking about.

I have some kind of kissing disease. I kiss her warm, smooth head about a million times a day. 3 times as I carry her from her crib after she wakes from her nap. 9 times as she is jiggled on my lap as I do my online banking. Another 12 times whilst I feed her lunch. I've had to stop kissing the top of her head so much as my lipgloss was leaving a gooey, oily slick on the top of her head. Took us ages to work out what that was.

Did I have post-natal depression? No. I really don't think so. But I think it can be really difficult to connect with your baby when they are in so much pain. I would never have hurt her. Would have kneecapped anyone who did. But I just wanted her to stop crying. NEEDED her to stop crying so I could bond with her a little better.

And at 9 weeks old she did. The colic just sort of disappeared on it's own. And we started to really get to know each other. I discover new things about her every day. She's cheeky. She hates getting her face wiped. She loves rolling around with her nappy off. And she's alot smarter than she would have you believe.

And now?

Now I just don't function without her.


Unknown said...

This is one of the loveliest blogs I have ever, EVER read.

Ava is a beautiful little girl and the fact she's such a happy baby is only a reflection of the world you and her Dad have created for her.

You're an amazing Mum - and one day she'll tell you that.


Dawn Young said...

Your comment just made me cry a lil bit! xxxxxxxxxxx

Unknown said...

Awwwwww!! Don't cry! xx

Unknown said...

This was such a lovely read. I don't have any children but I could imagine feeling the exact same thing you did when your baby had colic! It must have been so stressful but look at your both now! Ava is beautiful! xx

Dawn Young said...

Thank you! :)

And if you do ever have a baby with colic, remember this post and that it does get better haha! xx

Hannah said...

What a lovely post! I admire your honesty but I'm also glad that you managed to work through those difficult early days and come to a better place.
I think if we're honest - parenting does go in cycles like that over the years but people don't tend to talk about it.
I especially loved the bit about kissing disease lol and your header photo is beautiful!

Dawn Young said...

Thank you :)

It's only since I have become so honest about how hard it can be sometimes that I have found out that we all go through exactly the same! It's probably why so many mothers question how good a parent they are. Because nobody talks about the bad stuff!


Adele said...

This was such a wonderful read, I really enjoyed :)
Would love you to stop by my blog & check out my latest outfit post!
Happy Tuesday hun xoxo

Dawn Young said...

I shall do so :) x