When I fell in love with my daughter

Guest post by Sandra I.


They told me I would love her the moment I felt her. I honestly don’t think I did. She felt a lot like indigestion and really, how much can you love the stomach pangs of indigestion?

I never wished pregnancy on anyone. I hated it. It was possibly one of the most uncomfortable ten months — yes ten! they tell you it’s nine, but if you do the math, 40 weeks divided by 4 weeks in a month… — of my life. The first three were spent hunched over a toilet every morning, or trying to eat something before I got there so that I’d have something to throw up because the alternative was to throw up bitter green bile that looks like loose sludge with little yellow bubbles to accentuate its disgustingness. No toothpaste on earth gets rid of the taste of bile in your mouth. How much can you love a bout with bile after your morning bagel?

They told me I’d forget the pain of labor when I saw her. But twenty four hours that felt (again) like the worst indigestion ever (like when I eat that pizza with the Louisiana hot sausage I so love, but that kicks my ass every time), coupled with an epidural that only worked on half of my body and a catheter that ended up giving me the worst UTI known to man is just a little difficult to let go. I still shudder when I think of being on that hospital bed, my legs heavy and numb, my stomach growling and my mouth sticky because Nurse Ratched won’t even let me have a glass of water… only ice chips. I hate ice chips.

When we met, I was exhausted and STARVING and although I felt something, I wasn’t sure it was love; I had never had this type of relationship with anyone before and she was sweet and cute, yes, but was this love? They told me I would love her immediately and I worried because I didn’t know.

I thought it would be like falling in love with a man, where you got a rush and butterflies in your stomach; I thought I would moon over her and love would sweep me off my feet. It never happened that way.

Three weeks of crying — both of us — and changing diapers and all the stuff that happens after labor they never tell you about (and I won’t either, because it’s SO not right what happens to you) and I was getting the hang of things, of the colic, of the weird schedules, of everything. But I still wasn’t sure because she was a lot of work, and what is there to love about feedings every two hours until your boobs are about to fall off and 12 dirty diapers a day?

I don’t know exactly when it happened, really. I thought it would be like falling in love with a man, where you got a rush and butterflies in your stomach; I thought I would moon over her and love would sweep me off my feet. It never happened that way. All I know is that one day, after I had already loved her a long time, almost forever, I woke up and opened one eye and my love smiled at me and cooed, drooling on my nice, freshly washed sheets, and I knew I was in love.

Comments on When I fell in love with my daughter

  1. That was just beautiful. I felt the same way. The first weeks were horribly rough and I felt lost, but one day it just clicked and I was completely in love with my daughter. She’s 16 months now and not a day goes by that I don’t look at her with awe and complete devotion.
    Motherhood’s a strange thing.

  2. It’s VERY nice to know that I’m not the only one who doesn’t love being pregnant! I thought i was suppose to be a fertility goddess, but instead I look like i have a fatal illness (what with losing an incredible amount of weight and my skin being so pale it’s yellow…) *sigh

    but that love thing sure sounds good…

  3. Amen to “all the stuff that happens after labor they never tell you about” being “SO not right”…but I usually tell anyone who will listen and freak the beejezus out of them or gross them out or both.

    Great job capturing the way love for your baby can sneak up on you.

  4. When I had my daughter (now 14) I did love her from that first kick. I loved being pregnant and even loved giving birth. But once she came and I looked at her, I didn’t feel the way I thought I was supposed to. I thought she was pretty scary looking in fact- all scrawny and squinchy. I didn’t start to see her with love until she was around 4 months old. For those of you who worry about this. Don’t. It will happen eventually and then you will understand what everyone was talking about.

  5. YAY! i'm not the only who didn't know if they were "in love" with their child from birth… yes i did love my son (despite the his odd coming into the wordl) but i couldn't tell if i was "in love" with him

    i remember the exact time i fell in love with him. my father was carrying him down the stairs and i was right behind them. my son then stretched out his arms to me to be held by me. now even though i loved him a whole ton, i love him even more than i could ever imagined.

  6. Thanks for sharing your story! I too did not feel any connection to my son while I was pregnant. (He's six now) Being pegnant just made me feel fat and angry all the time. Thankfully, I had a really easy delivery (they broke my water at midnight, he was out at 12:31am!) but he was slimy and has little white spots on his nose that I kept saying looked like pimples. Sleepless days and nights of non-stop crying and changing diapers followed and the PAIN (oh, the PAIN) of trying to breastfeed…

    I don't know when it happened exactly either, but you're right, it just clicks. You look at the little thing and realize… wow. This life came from me. Just a short time ago, this person didn't exist, and now here we are. And it's love. =)

  7. Very lovely story!! And now I know I am not the only women in the world who can not stand to be pregnant. I have a 7 and 5 year old and am expecting #3 and it hasnt gotten any better!!

    I loved them while pregnant but not the way I do now. Now I can not imagine my life without them..even when they are driving me insane 🙂

  8. I'm so glad you posted this. I have had a few friends who didn't love their children immediately and definitely didn't love being pregnant, but there continues to be a stigma around the whole motherhood thing. It is absolutely normal to dislike pregnancy and even to dislike your own child.

    A friend of mine had an unplanned pregnancy that put lots of strain on their finances and she expressed dislike to me quite often in the first six months of her daughter's life, because I was the only person who didn't judge her.

    But it's like I said to her, someday, you will love your child, and it's ok to not love her until then. I'm glad you posted this so other mothers know they are not alone.

  9. I am so horrified to get pregnant and have a kid. Thanks for posting a realistic story. There is so much fairytale out there, and I never know what i’m *really* going to experience, but this sounds pretty reasonable 🙂

  10. I’m so happy to read this article, and everyone’s comments. So many people don’t realize the strain and depression of new parenthood, and how it impacts our relationship with our children. It’s not just difficult to know that you care about your new baby, but the love you feel is more like the love you feel for a sibling than what you imagine you should feel, but it’s impossible to tell anyone that. No one can understand, and no one wants to believe that this isn’t an instantaneous love and adoration. I don’t know when I fell in love with my son. I just remember leaving a girls night early so I could be home in time to put him to bed. That must have been the moment I realized the depth of my love for him. I didn’t feel anything, it just happened.

  11. Thanks so much for your honesty. As a non-biological parent, it’s nice to hear a bio-parent talking about how loving your child is not something that happens immediately and instantaneously, as a result of elevated hormones or something. I’ve written a post that’ll go up this week about learning to love my step-daughter, and how it’s kind of harmful to assume that everyone just immediately and inevitably loves their child.

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