It’s an unfortunate truth that labour is the most excruciating pain to be thrust upon us women. There is little else that would get us through the sheer agony of childbirth than the promise of meeting the tiny human we have made and falling head-over-heels in love at first sight. It’s what happens in the movies, it’s what happens in One Born Every Minute and it’s what other mums tell you about. I can’t count the times when I was pregnant that women told me: ‘just you wait til you hold him for the first time, you’ll never know love like it’. So as I felt my body being torn apart for what seemed like a lifetime, the one thought that I held on to was that I wasn’t far away from this euphoric state, this supposed ‘rush of love’.
When I pushed Marley into the world and the lovely midwife placed him on my chest I felt relief that he was here safely; I felt liberated that I had made it through my biggest challenge to date; I felt great. But I didn’t feel a rush of love. Don’t get me wrong, I loved and cared for my baby, but it was the result of something that had been quietly mustering over the past nine months. There was no all-consuming, ready-to-burst emotion that I had been expecting and I felt bad that I didn’t feel how I was ‘supposed’ to feel. I wondered if I had built up the love a mother has for her child too much and I was scared I would never get that feeling.
But I needn’t have worried because I have felt that rush of love over and over for him every day since. Every time he smiles. Every time he reaches out for me in the night. Every time he cries. Every time he calls me Mama. Every. Single. Day. Maybe I was too tired to feel it after five days of labour. Maybe I just didn’t know him yet. Whether it takes you a day, a month or even a year to feel it for your child believe me when I say you will feel it. And when it does you better be ready… because there really is nothing on this earth like it.