Menu

Motherhood isn’t always ‘love at first sight’

It’s the act of caring for your baby that builds the love of a mother.

Motherhood isn’t always ‘love at first sight’

I remember being wheeled into the OR for an emergency C-section. I called for my husband, and when I finally saw him come in, I went out.


When I woke up hours later, my husband brought in this beautiful, tiny, wrapped-up baby to my arms, and all I could think was, Are you sure she’s mine?

Since even before I was pregnant I had dreamed of the moment when I would see my child for the first time. I imagined the love I would feel, the amazing experience of labor and birth, those first hours together in bliss.

Only... after an emergency C-section it had been nothing like I imagined it would be.

Recently I was talking to a friend whose first birth was long and laborious, and she confessed to me that the first time her baby was placed on her chest all she could think was, I’m so glad labor is finally over.

Or my mother-in-law’s story. She also had an emergency C-section—hers at 26 weeks—and she didn’t get to see her baby for days after the birth since she was recovering from her C-section while her baby was trying to survive in the NICU.

So what happens when your plans don’t go as planned, and it’s just not love at first sight?

Those first few days, even the first months, were really difficult for me since I felt guilt and sadness when I didn’t feel this amazing, overwhelming love for my child the first time I saw her.

It was the first time I had ever experienced mom guilt. I felt like a bad mom. But the truth is, I wasn’t a bad mom—I was just a first-time mom who had no idea what to expect, or how to bond, or even how to adjust to my new life as a mother.

At the time I really believed that since I didn’t get to bond with her those first few minutes of life, I had somehow lost my mom card.

I worried she wasn’t going to think of me as her mother.

It seems silly now, and I can honestly laugh about it from where I sit today. And I want other moms to know that if you don’t feel immediate love and bliss, you’re not alone.

The truth is that I have a lifetime to bond with my daughter. And now, six months later, just thinking about her makes my heart explode with joy and love and other feelings I cannot even explain. The truth about experiencing this overwhelming love for your child is that it is not always instant— it grows, like every other relationship, with time.

As more time passes, you share more experiences with your child and your bond grows stronger. Your child loves you more and recognizes you more, and the truth finally settles in:

As long as you both live, you are the only person in their world that will be Mom.

No one else in the world can replace that role. Not your caregivers, not grandparents, not anyone else.

You will always be Mom.

As for my mother-in-law, her son did survive after long months in the hospital and many surgeries. Today, I can promise you that there is no greater love in the world than the way my brother-in-law gazes at his mama.

He loves her so unconditionally; anyone can see it. She took care of him the minute she was able to and has taken care of her son ever since, with a beautiful love only a mother can give. A rough start didn’t inhibit a lifetime of love.

I do get sad thinking about my birth experience, but that sadness goes away the minute my daughter wakes up in the morning with a beautiful smile on her face.

It can take time, mama, but with time you’ll see that there is no greater love you will ever know than the love you will feel for your child.

Join Motherly

They say necessity is the mother of invention—and nothing makes you more inventive than motherhood.

Sometimes that means fashioning a diaper out of paper towels and your older child's underpants (true story). Sometimes that means creating an innovative and life-changing weighted baby sleep sack and totally crushing it on Shark Tank. Tara Williams is the latter.

Keep reading Show less
Shop

14 sweet 'just thinking of you' gifts for every mama

A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs.

Who says you have to wait for birthdays or holidays to give your bestie a great gift? A sweet surprise that tells her you've been thinking of her might be the pick-me-up she needs in these more-than-trying times. We've rounded up some of our favorite go-to gifts that are certain to be a bright spot in her week. But be warned, you may want to snag a few for yourself. (You deserve it, mama.)

Here are some our favorite "just because" gifts to give our hardworking mama friends.

New Mother face + body care duo

volition face + body care duo

This correcting oil and stretch mark minimizer is perfect for the pregnant mama looking to keep her pregnancy glow. The correcting oil brightens the skin while reducing dark spots, and the stretch mark minimizer works to smooth her ever-growing belly.

$70

Allover roller

esker allover roller

This jade roller goes beyond your typical face roller and can be used anywhere on the body. It works to increase stimulation and reduce puffiness and is perfect for applying any oils to the face or body. Plus, it feels like a mini spa treatment.

$65

Kombucha making kit

farmsteady kombucha making kit

What could be a more perfect gift for the health-obsessed friend? This kombucha making kit comes with everything you need to brew your own homemade green tea kombucha. They'll think this is the tastiest gift ever.

$45

Laetitia lipstick

cupid & psyche laetitia

This red lipstick is perfect for your makeup enthusiast bestie who is looking to spruce up her life in quarantine. Crafted in the United States, these bee and vegan-friendly and cruelty-free lipsticks are created to flatter all complexions. Cupid and Psyche Beauty makes finding the perfect red lip way too easy!

$23

Jigsaw puzzle

inner piecec jigsaw puzzle

Mamas need to destress now more than ever during quarantine. This adorable jigsaw puzzle is perfect for the mama who needs a brain break! The 500-piece puzzle designed by artist Ray Oranges features an abstract gradient design that fits a standard frame when completed. Bonus: It's printed on recycled paper and the company donates $1 from every puzzle sold to youth mindfulness programs.

$30

Matilda's Bloombox

matilda's bloombox

If we have to be stuck inside, we might as well have some gorgeous florals to brighten up the space. Matilda's Bloombox locally sources blooms, delivers them to her door and provides simple tips on how to arrange it into a beautiful bouquet.

$39

'I Am Enough' bracelet

I Am Enough bracelet

Let this dainty bracelet serve as a constant reminder to your bestie that she is enough. She'll wear this on her wrist and read this daily oath to herself, "I Am Enough."

$35

Glow assorted teas

vahdam low assorted teas

This tea gift box set covers the entire spectrum of flavors from sweet to spicy. Individually packaged in beautiful tins, your gal pal will feel like a queen sipping her morning tea. Originally $40, this set is currently on sale for just $24. We'll take two, please.

$24

Find your voice journal

find your voice journal

Journaling is a great way to ease anxiety and will slow your bestie's racing mind before bed. This gift is perfect for first time journalists and includes prompts, daily quotes and coloring pages to help her unlock her potential and find her voice.

$22

Premium frother

shore magic premium frother

This gift is fitting for your latte-sipping bestie who can't go a day without her coffee. All she has to do is add two scoops of collagen to her favorite drink, and she'll have a perfectly foamy drink ready in seconds. Skipping the drive-thru line has never been so easy!

$25

Bath soak infusion kit

maude bath soak infusion kit

Say hello to hydration! She'll be feeling smooth and relaxed as ever after a long bath soaking in these salts. This vegan + cruelty-free set incorporates dead sea salt and dehydrated coconut milk powder for an ultra hydrating experience.

$32

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

Tiny Tags 'mama' necklace

It's a hard-earned title she answers to a hundred times per day. Whether she's new to the club or a seasoned professional, this delicate script 'mama' necklace is guaranteed to be a perfect fit.

$105

Superfood honey

Beekeeper's Naturals B.Powered honey

With a lack of sleep and jam-packed days, getting through the afternoon can be a real challenge. Send her a powerful pick-me-up in the form of a therapeutic blend of royal jelly, bee pollen, propolis and raw honey. It makes the ideal companion for tea, smoothies, yogurt or even on its on.

$17

Calming midnight mask with melatonin

Who doesn't deserve a reminder to pamper themself every once in awhile? Even better, this mask does all its work at night while you're sleeping with no extra effort needed. It's an amazing plant-powered antioxidant-packed mask that has melatonin, wild dandelion leaf and hyaluronic acid to rehydrate, repair and reset facial skin. It's so good, you might want to gift it to yourself. We won't tell, mama.

$68

We independently select and share the products we love—and may receive a commission if you choose to buy. You've got this.

Shop

Two weeks. I cannot believe that it has been two weeks since my second son was brought into this world. Two weeks since my husband and I welcomed baby Simon, the final piece of our little family.

But, here is the whopper: It has been two weeks since I have been the mom of a toddler and a newborn. I am now responsible for taking care of two tiny humans.

It absolutely blows my mind how much my life has changed in the last two weeks. It's definitely not all rainbows and unicorns around here, but things are going pretty well. This is me being cautiously optimistic.

What I have done is learned a lot about myself, my kids and my new life in the last two weeks.

Keep reading Show less
Life