Monday, March 21, 2011

Meeting your child for the first time - love at first sight?

I had different experiences with both of my children and can't help but wonder what it will be like to meet the third. In fact, I stayed awake late into the night last night thinking about it. (And still was unable to catch the moon - with the overcast - grrr.)

With my daughter, I had a very hard and long labour (with no drugs or epidural). When she finally graced us with her presence, I honestly did not have much left in me to have the capacity to fall in love with her at that moment. Don't get me wrong... I loved her and thought she was the most beautiful thing, but more than anything - I was just glad she was out!

The next day, I remember feeling this amazing feeling of how nothing else in the world mattered, life was about her. I recall Dan saying that he felt the very same way, even before I had a chance to tell him what I felt. However, it wasn't until she was about 2 weeks old (and I was well on my way to recovery) that I recall the moment when it all clicked and we had bonded so tightly that I would give my life to protect hers. It was a moment when I had realized how much she loved and needed me. I was always in love with her but it took 2 weeks to get that full on fiercely lovin Mother bonded feeling. (That only another Mother would understand). Part of me thinks because of the birthing trauma, I was unable to get there any faster. I was in a great deal of pain, nursing was extremely painful and I was so sleep deprived from labouring 2 nights in a row. And, another part of me thinks that being a first time Mother, this feeling had to work itself out - it isn't an instantaneous thing.

Muffin - Hours old, but looks like she is a month old!

Muffin at 4 weeks old and able to hold her head up!

Then my son was born. Instantly, I loved and was bonded to that little man. I did choose an epidural, the labour was relatively easy compared to my first and given the fact that it was my second rodeo, those mothering feelings were already there. It didn't take time for me to figure them out. Not to say it was completely easy going - I did get a terrible flu the day I delivered and my son was instantly taken to the special care unit for a fever. They were concerned he may have had an infection, and he was jaundice. He was a big boy at 9lbs 8oz and his blood type was battling mine a little bit (no RH negative conflicts or anything)... so given that he was already predisposed to jaundice, that was all it took to tip him over. I remember seeing him for the first time after they had taken him. He totally did not look like my child, or the way I thought he should! I actually asked if they were sure that was the right baby! (I totally checked the arm band too!) He had a full head of black hair, had black eyes, dark skin and they had shaved his head for the IV - so he had a mohawk. He looked Native! In fact the nurse asked me if the father was caucasian! lol. However he looked and despite the fact he was so un-photogenic compared to his sister (who looked like the Gerber baby the moment she was born!)... I loved him fiercely from the moment he was born. It was instantaneous. He could have been born with a third eyeball and it wouldn't have mattered - he was mine and he was nothing short of perfect.

Doesn't he look like a Native cabbage patch doll? Look at him looking at me... Aww.

Mister at 4 weeks old... healthy chunkiness. So cute!

Now I wonder how this will compare to an adopted baby. It very well could be under strange circumstances. For example, if we are at the birth... they baby will not be ours until the papers are signed days later. I dare say that our hearts will be guarded some and we will not allow ourselves to love that infant so fiercely at first sight for fear of the birth Mother changing her mind. Also, I can't help but wonder if you would feel like that baby belonged to her, not you. It would be a very emotional time... filled with many fixed feelings. However, what if we meet the infant after the papers are signed? Will it be love at first sight... or will it take a little while to settle in? I think in the second situation, it would be love at first sight... The moment you lay eyes on that infant, it will not only be yours, but you would have so much love and concern for that child for the simple fact that it is alone and really needs you.

It's strange and so foreign to me. I don't know, I really don't. I can only speculate. This is one topic that I really haven't had a chance to read about anywhere. I have read of the feelings of a first time adopted parent - many of them. But I have not read of an experience of an adoptive Mother who has bio children first and can articulate how the two experiences compare or differ.

I did read somewhere that professionals say there is a greater risk of failed adoptions (from the adoptive parent side) if you adopt first and then have bio children second. Does this mean that you can't love an adopted child as much when you have a bio child second? Where is the logic? Personally, I think that is insane. How you can give a dog away is beyond me, let alone your very own child. (And - yes, it is your own after adoption!)

If anyone knows of any blogs or articles about this - please let me know. Not that I am at all worried, just curious. I know one way or another - I will love that child as fiercely as I do my bio children - whether it is instantaneous as it was with my son or develops over a couple of weeks as it did with my daughter.

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