{Not} Love at First Sight

Have you ever felt guilty for not feeling a certain way? Have you ever thought you would react a certain way and your reaction was completely different?

Recently someone asked me if I ever experienced postpartum depression and it got me thinking back to those first few days. I do not think that I experienced postpartum depression, at least not in an extreme way, but I did feel guilty. First, let me explain.

During our birthing class, we talked about how when a woman gives birth naturally, she has such a rush of hormones at the point of delivery that she is so overwhelmed with emotions (including love) when she is handed her new baby. I do not feel like I had these. I felt one major emotion.


It was over!

Now, I could sit here and probably come up with 800 excuses why this happened…the cord was too short (i.e. he only made it onto my belly) so I couldn’t even really see my son until the cord was cut (we requested delayed clamping), I was instantly being given shots and getting stitches (THAT was more uncomfortable than the pushing!! What was even going on!!), I was so focused (maybe worried is the better word) about that first latch going well, (if you read my birth story, you know this…) I was sitting pretty much completely naked in a room FULL of strangers…etc.

I fully expected to have that instant when you place your new baby on your chest and you fall completely in love with that tiny human…but I didn’t have that.

We left the hospital and really, I felt fine…you know, as fine as someone who just gave birth can feel…

I kept mentioning to my husband that this didn't feel real. That it was SO crazy that he was finally here! I had been dreaming about being able to cuddle my baby who I had carried for nine months! We DID have that bond. My body nurtured his until he was ready to make his way earth-side so I could continue to care for him. I just didn't feel as much love right away as I thought I would.

Then I felt guilty. I’m his mother; I should feel this overwhelming love for my newborn baby. I thought maybe we needed more “bonding” time…have you ever tried learning to love someone who does NOT reciprocate? Who instead screams and cries for anything and everything? It is hard! It was so hard to feel love when someone does not show any signs of loving you back. So I cried. I think I cried as much as my newborn those first few months. I cried every time he cried because I couldn’t figure out what he needed. I was stressed, scared, overwhelmed, and tired!

But you know what happened? I continued to care for my baby. I nursed him, rocked him, changed him, and sang to him. I grew to know him and to know his cries. His cries meant he needed me.

Today, I love my son more than I ever thought was humanly possible! I can’t tell you when it happened. I can’t remember when I stopped feeling guilty. (In all honesty, those first three months are such a blur now.) I didn’t have that instant “love at first sight” moment, but I still love him beyond anything I ever thought possible!

Being a new mama is hard…like, REALLY hard. And if we place expectations on how we think (or even worse, how society thinks) we should act; we will probably fail.

So if you are a new mama, give yourself grace.

Pray, take a nap, read a book, take a bath, or drink a cup of hot tea. You are doing great! Your baby loves you; yes, even if he doesn’t really show it yet. Don’t feel guilty for feeling, or not feeling, a certain way. You are doing great!

Soon, you will be looking back, wondering what changed, when it changed, wondering how it is possible to love a tiny person so much, and missing that newborn baby smell.


  1. This is amazing, and this was me too!! You're a great mama, thanks for sharing!!

  2. Very real post! I was the same way! Izzy had a short cord a then had issues breathing a team had to take her to the other side of the room to her and by the time I got her in my arms, my in laws came into the room.. during our alone time and I handed her over for them to hold. I should have been selfish and told them... "this is my time, I just got her!" But I didn't I still hate I didn't. We bonded through nursing and cuddles as well and I love her more than I ever thought possible! Thank you for your post!

  3. Oh man, that would be difficult. It is hard when others want to see your new baby and you feel like you have not yet had enough time for yourself. So glad you were able to bond through nursing and cuddles! Thank you for reading!

  4. I love this. I love this. I love this so much.

  5. This is totally common feeling! I experienced it with my second- even though this very quickly changed and she's so so loved now! You are awesome for sharing!

  6. I commend you and your strength for posting it. The feelings you express in this post are not just unique to you. This may be just what a new mama needs to read today. <3

  7. Thanks for being so real and honest. Great read.

  8. Thank you for sharing your story! XOXO I know our situations were different but I felt the same way when my 4th son was born. He had a surprise diagnosis of Down syndrome and I feel so much guilt over those first thoughts. I just kept thinking I don't want THIS baby. I quickly learned how awesome he is but I don't think that guilt will ever go away!

  9. This is wonderful! I didn't get the love at first sight feeling either. I had an emergency c-section and then passed out after. I'm not even sure when I saw her for the first time. But it came eventually. You are so right about giving yourself grace. I wish I had relaxed and let someone help me those first few weeks and months.

  10. Thank you for sharing this!! It makes me feel not alone! I too had those feelings with both my babies but I couldn't love them more ❤️❤️

  11. I'm so glad to have helped. I felt so alone in this but have been so surprised by how many mamas can relate!

  12. Yes, I wished I would have relaxed more and let others help. I don't know why we feel like we have to do everything on our own.
    Thank you for reading!

  13. Thank you for sharing your story with me!

  14. Thank you, Chelsea! I really do hope that if a new mama needs to hear this that she will come across my story.

  15. Thank you for reading. I am so surprised at how many mamas relate to this!