Family, Pregnancy

When It’s Not “Love at First Sight”

July 8, 2015

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Photo by Gina Zeidler 

As we were preparing for Ainsley’s arrival I heard a lot of people talk about the amazing “love at first sight” that you feel when your little one is born. People went on and on about how the minute you become a mom you are instantly changed and overwhelmed with all the feelings. Me? I was a little skeptical and more than a little worried about the whole thing. You see, when someone tells me that I’m going to feel a certain way there is a degree of stress and pressure to feel those same feelings. And if you don’t what does that mean?

Here’s the thing that people don’t tell you: You might not experience overwhelming love at first sight. I know I certainly didn’t. I loved Ainsley from the moment I saw her: she was our long-awaited and much-anticipated miracle baby, for goodness sake! But I was also exhausted, clueless, overwhelmed and navigating a whole new world with a baby I hardly knew. I didn’t know anything about her personality or her likes and dislikes and I wasn’t confident in my skills as a mother in the least, because no amount of babysitting can ever prepare you for being a mom.

I was deeply committed to being her momma, in awe of her presence and her cute little features, thankful beyond words for her presence in our life and grateful for her safe and healthy delivery. But I felt so guilty about not having the emotional love response that others had told me I would have. I carried that guilt around with me like a dirty little secret that wasn’t appropriate to disclose.

The other night while on vacation, Joe and I were laying in bed after Ainsley went to sleep just chatting on and on about how much we loved her and how much FUN she has started becoming in the last month or so. Now that she is 4 months old, she is smiling, babbling to herself, giggling and responding to us in new ways everyday. She grabs the puppy’s tail and makes funny faces to things, her eyes light up when we sing to her and she tries her best to sing along. She’s becoming a real person with real likes, dislikes and personality traits. And over the past couple months I’ve started to fall deeply in love with who she is as a unique individual, beyond the fact that she is our baby.

I told Joe, “I think I’ve always loved her, but now I really understand what that all-consuming love for her is about!” Sounds horrible, right? I mean, you’re “supposed” to love your baby that way from day 1. But with all the sleepless nights, hazy days, raging hormones, baby (and mommy!) tears, and so many unknowns, I found it sort of difficult to really make that connection. And now that things have settled into a routine and we’re getting to know our little person? Gosh, it just keeps getting better and better!

So if you’re a new mom or soon-to-be mom or even thinking about having kids in the future, I want to encourage you. You don’t have to feel any certain way at any certain time. Maybe you’ll experience that great “love at first sight” moment like some people do, or maybe, like me, it will take you a little longer. Whatever your journey, there really is no “right” way to do things or a set of benchmarks that you need to reach and different moments in your development as a mom. Just like your baby reaches developmental milestones at different times, moms reach those moments at different times, too!


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  • Reply Alessandra July 8, 2015 at 5:00 pm

    Thanks for posting this Madison! This is something I’ve always wondered (and worried!) about – it’s great to hear your perspective. THANK YOU for being so brave and sharing.

  • Reply Rachelle July 8, 2015 at 6:02 pm

    Thank you so much for your honest posts about motherhood! As I get closer to wanting to have a baby in the near future, your openness about the whole process makes me feel so much better and less scared about many parts of it. Just wanted to let you know how much these are appreciated!

  • Reply Jumi July 8, 2015 at 6:17 pm

    Thank you for posting this. I am starting to mentally prepare and think about children and I worry about this a lot. Thanks for being honest. It’s great to know that some things take time. Like you I worry excessively when things don’t go the way that is considered the norm. Reading your posts is always a dose of reality

  • Reply Amber July 8, 2015 at 6:53 pm

    My baby is 17 months old now, but I never had the “love at first site” with her. Honestly, I didn’t do well at the baby stage. I am so lucky my daughter started walking at 7.5 months, and God knew exactly what I needed! I work 45+ hours a week and when I was at home, there was no way I could just sit on the floor with her and let my house become a disaster. Once she started walking, life changed..completely! Now, I can’t get enough of her and can’t believe she started walking when she did, but I needed that more than anything.

  • Reply Sarah Crosby July 8, 2015 at 6:58 pm

    I agree with this 100%! I am so glad your wrote this!! I was known for babysitting in my small town and so I thought I would bawl and just be so in love with my new babe when our first was born. He had reflux and I was a nervous wreck the whole time (something my mom and friends make fun of me for now! ;)) – I had babysat TONS of kids before after all. It wasn’t until that 3 or 4 month mark that I finally told my husband, I not only love him but I actually like him now!! lol No one told me I might now enjoy my child after he was born! I felt like the worse mom ever. Now, after talking to several of my friends, I know it isn’t a crazy thing. I will say the more kids I have the quicker I have bonded – I think it has to do with level of relaxation as a mom ( at lease thats how it is for me!!)

  • Reply ali grace | cookies and grace July 9, 2015 at 2:52 pm

    Once again, I adore your honesty. And that photo is gorgeous!!

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