Papa Mermy and Baby Mermy have a beautiful bond. When Papa Mermy comes home from work, Baby Mermy lights up with the biggest smile on his face and starts squirming in my arms, trying to escape to get to his papa! It’s the sweetest, most beautiful expression of love and it does a mama’s heart good to see her two favourite men being each other’s lovey-doveys. But, it wasn’t always this way. Not for me. Bonding with the baby in those first two weeks was extremely difficult and seeing Papa Mermy do it with such ease made me feel really insecure as a mother.
After giving birth to Baby Mermy, I was put on bed rest for quite a while. In those early days, going through the most mundane of tasks, like getting up to go to the bathroom, was agony! I would hunch over and shuffle along with teeny tiny baby steps (giving birth was a breeze compared to this! Ok, maybe not but this really sucked!) and then dreaded getting off the toilet to go back to bed. And, let’s not forget the breasts. The engorged, heavy, full-of-milk breasts. It hurt to touch them, it hurt to wear clothes that would touch them, it hurt to think about them because somehow a mere thought would cause me pain. Because of this discomfort, it was extremely difficult to attempt any form of skin-to-skin bond for longer than five minutes with Baby Mermy. And that broke my heart. I was supposed to be able to do this. All the books told me how important skin-to-skin was and how mamas were meant to be able to do this, and I wasn’t. I couldn’t do it. I cried, my heart broke, I tried, I cried again and I still couldn’t do it. So, I encouraged Papa Mermy to do skin-to-skin on my behalf. It was important and would not only be good for Baby Mermy, but would also allow Papa Mermy to bond with the baby. And, they did. It was lovely to see, but deep inside me, I was anxious and worried and dare I admit, jealous of the bond I saw growing between the two of them that I couldn’t seem to develop.
During Baby Mermy’s fussy moments, it was Papa Mermy who would walk and rock him, pressed against his chest for comfort. It was Papa Mermy who would change his diapers and although that may seem idyllic, I wanted to be part of that experience too. When my breasts hurt too much, it was Papa Mermy who would put Baby Mermy to sleep on his chest, skin-to-skin.
I worried that Baby Mermy and I would never bond because I felt like the only thing I was able to do was nurse, and even that hurt! I would try to hold Baby Mermy and rock him, trying to ignore the pain, but he could sense my discomfort and cry harder or squirm and I would have to pass him back to his papa. The rush of hormones coursing through me did not help matters and I felt sad, lonely, angry, and I would cry at the injustice of not being able to hold my child. Papa Mermy tried to comfort me and provide solace but since he was getting the baby love, I didn’t really want to listen to him.
Even though I didn’t know this at the time (and I probably wouldn’t have cared then anyway), these moments were laying the foundation of a strong relationship between father and son. Every act, every experience is not without consequence and serves a purpose. So, although I was going through these first trials as a mama, Papa Mermy was simultaneously going through the first joys of bonding with the baby. And, that was worth it. I wasn’t able, nor ready, to realize this then, but having the privilege of time, I can look back at those moments with understanding.
So, to the mamas who may feel like I did and are going through something similar, please know that there is a light at the end of the tunnel. It might not feel like it at the moment, but you will bond with your baby. You and your baby will fall in love with each other. In so many ways, it’s inevitable. To help things along though, there are a few things you can do to feel more connected with your baby. When you nurse, look into your baby’s eyes, stroke his or her cheek, or kiss his or her head. Hold the little one close to you as much as you can, snuggle with them while he or she naps (and perhaps catch a wink yourself), and talk, sing, and coo at your baby. These small acts will prevent you from feeling isolated from your baby and help the both of you connect with each other.
The early days are some of the best and, to be honest, some of the most trying but lighter days are ahead. Soon, God willing, the pain will subside, stitches will heal, and you will become an expert (whatever your definition of that may be) at nursing, snuggling, skin-to-skin, and all things mama. In the meantime, take this rest as probably the last time you will be able to sit in bed with a baby in the house and attempt to enjoy it, relatively speaking!
How were your early weeks with baby? What did you do bond with him or her?
United in diapering,