When I saw my friend Rebecca last summer, the afternoon before we took off to return to France, I asked her what it was like with two kids. She's a mother to an exuberant nine-year old like me, and a precious boy of five. She loves those kids fiercely, as I do my Juju. She knew what it meant to worry about the bond with a new child. Would there be enough room after the all-consuming fusional relationship with the first child?
She answered with her wide brown eyes and her round accent that still lets the southern shine through. "The bond was instant," she said reassuringly.
I still had to see for myself, doubting Milam that I am. But armed with her advice, I wasn't worrying too much.
Then a month and a half later my baby came and was laid next to my groggy head after a c-section that wasn't planned. I don't remember much after the incision and the tugging feeling that made me ask them if the epidural was working. But I do remember stroking my baby and smiling goofily (got the pictures that Remi took to prove it). And feeling just fine, truly happy.
It could have a lot to do with hormones or the fact that it is a second child, but I have to say Rebecca got it right. The bonding happened quite easily, naturally. Despite the painful recovery after Cesarean, the late night and early morning feedings, I really did love my little Alex right away. It could also be that I know he is my last little one and I am appreciating these baby moments that I know will go so quickly. Doesn't hurt that he is a good sleeper!
And if you are a mom or mom-to-be reading this and shaking your head saying the bond didn't or won't happen right away, don't worry. With my first, though I felt that same euphoria as I came off the anesthesia high, those first three weeks of nursing difficulties and sleep deprivation took their toll. Though I adored my little one, I was more anxious as a first-time mom. There is no timetable or "right" way to bond. If dealing with your little one still feels like a struggle, that is perfectly normal. There are good days and bad days. And I hope there are more good ones for you (and for me).
I just simply wanted to sit back and admire how flexible and roomy our hearts are. How when we think our hearts are full, there is room for more. It's what I tried to tell Juliette before her brother was born, to reassure her that I would love them both. And thankfully, it's true. Her heart is stretching, too, making a connection to her little bro'. May wonders never cease...