What if the magic of that first touch with your newborn isn’t as strong as with your first child? Is there something wrong? Will you ever be able to feel the same about your second as you do about your first?
Don’t worry, you aren’t alone at all. Not feeling that strong feeling is not a prediction of what your relationship will be like, but rather a testimony of how used you’ve become to that overpowering feeling of love and motherhood. Remember, with your first child, everything was new, and you had no clue what it felt like to be a mother. Now you do.
Don’t be alarmed when at first you find it difficult to bond. Remember you are not used to sharing your time and heart with another child.
Soon you will realise that the impossible is indeed possible – you can love even more. You will then have to learn to cope with the overwhelming love you feel for both. When you come into the swing of things you will realise that there is indeed no difference between the love you feel for both.
Parental love is not something that has a limit and that has to be carefully divided between children so as not to deplete it. No! It is limitless. You only get more and more love – more than enough to go around for all.
You have to work at it
The relationship with your second child is just like any other relationship. You have to work on your connection. Seal your connection by spending time with your new baby. Use the intimacy of nursing as a way to bond. Reinforce special moments by capturing them on camera.
Little ones’ personalities differ
Keep in mind that you are dealing with two very different children, even though they are little and have the same basic needs, the frequency and severity of those needs will differ. Learn to love the new baby for who they are, and don’t try to force them into being something they’re not.
Their age determines their level of development which impacts on the sophistication of their personalities. This can also play a major role in adapting to the new situation.
What if it doesn’t get better?
If some time has passed and you still find it hard to bond with your baby, consider the below conditions:
Feeling low after you’ve given birth is quite common, with up to 80% of new mothers experiencing baby blues – it is natural to be emotionally vulnerable after childbirth. Baby Blues usually starts within a few days of giving birth and lasts up to two weeks. Symptoms include anxiousness, inability to sleep and teariness.
BUT, when baby blues last for more than two weeks, it could no longer be baby blues, but postpartum depression, for which you should immediately consult with your doctor.
Postpartum depression affects 10% to 15% of mothers. Below are some symptoms to look out for; but seeing as you won’t be as objective if you are affected by postpartum depression, ask your partner or friend or family member to assess if you show any of the following symptoms: hypersensitivity, irritability, difficulty concentrating, anxiousness, teariness, anger, hopelessness, helplessness, guilt, difficulty sleeping, loss of interest in things you usually enjoyed, exhaustion, change in appetite, aches and pains such as headaches, backaches, etc. You may also feel that you can’t care for your baby.
Postpartum depression is nothing to be ashamed of. It is no reflection on your person, but rather a mixture of chemicals in your brain that goes haywire after birth – hormones, biochemicals, psychological factors and genetics all play a role.
Lastly, you should not give up trying to bond with your second child, no matter how long it takes. Your baby should never ever feel rejected or that they are loved less than the other child, as this can have devastating effects on the development of him/her. Keep at it, and it will happen eventually.