One of the things I always tell future dads to be is that there is one thing NO ONE tells you, and it’s something I did not realize until after we had Eli.
I used to get somewhat upset when people would talk about the mother/child bond which pre-dates the actual birth of the child. I remember, during Jessica’s pregnancy, how amazing it felt when the baby kicked. How cool it was when it was moving around. We got our own little doppler to listen to the baby’s heartbeat. Granted, with Eli, there was the added concern because Jessica had had so many miscarriages. I spoke to the tummy daily and did what I could to bond with the baby before he was born. I did the same with Brenna. But it just wasn’t the same. And I felt that I was missing something or, more specifically, that there was something wrong with me.
It was ok, I said, because once the baby is born, I’ll connect immediately.
But nope. And this is the part that fathers never get to hear about. The truth of the matter is that mom has a FULL nine month head start on building the bond with the baby. So while it *seems* as though she has bonded with the newborn immediately, the truth is, she has taken time to do it. And while I cried equally at the moment of the birth of each of our children, I did not have an immediate bond. I knew/felt that they were beings that needed to be cared for. I knew how to go through the motions of caring for them. I “loved” them and protected them as any good parent should, but I did not feel a true emotional connection to them.
I have since had conversations with several people, and have warned many dads to be that this would happen (and to a person, was told that I was absolutely right – so it was not just me) and have come to accept that this is totally normal.
So, what’s my point in bring this all up? Because I’m going through exactly the same thing right now. The truth is, bonding comes from a collection of shared experiences and with the three new ones in the house, I just have not had those experiences yet. While we are working on building a life under the same roof together, there just has not been enough time. So, it starts with learning each others personalities, quirks, strengths, and weaknesses. It comes from mistakes made and little successes. And we’ll get there. In the meantime, I will do everything within my power to protect those kids and provide them with whatever we can to ensure they have the things in life that matter. The bonding will come, in time.