Friday, July 29, 2011

At first sight.

We have all heard of that Hollywood moment, that earth-shattering second that will change your life forever – the moment that you first lay eyes on your child. We are all aware that the angels are supposed to sing, that the heavens will open and that you will instantly know true love for the first time.

Well what if this doesn’t happen? It didn’t for me. I knew so much, I had done it all right, diet, midwife, antenatal classes, exercise. I had dreamed of motherhood since my earliest childhood. I was supposed to be the earth mother, the birth warrior. But in “that” moment I felt nothing except a sense of overwhelming relief that my baby was alive and an overwhelming sense of shock and disappointment that I was strapped down and cut open. There was no angelic moment for me. There was no sense of knowing this tiny screaming stranger. There was nothing.

It was only two weeks later that I realized that the protective urge I had been feeling all along was love – or had grown into love. I finally bonded with my baby. I fell in love slowly, it was not the mad, passionate dash I was expecting, it was a slow courting and getting to know each other. But eventually I grew to love my child. (And now I love her so much I kiss her while she poohs.) I blamed my "emergency" c section for my lack of joyous bonding at birth. Here is me and Ruby:

I started out wanting to make a photo essay of the difference between a natural, drug free birth and an interventionist or c section birth. I put out a call asking for "happy vag" vs "unhappy c sec" baby meeting moments. I was offensive and smug and I offended some people. I have had to eat some humble pie. I've been sent some amazing pics - each one is special, some are heart-rendingly sad, some are fiercely joyous. All are poignant. Some mothers got to meet their babies instantly, some had to wait minutes or even hours, but all are made mothers in that very instant they first hold or behold their baby.Thank you to all the moms who participated, you are all incredible. 

So here's to all the mothers and babies. Here's to birth, here's to that moment of meeting. Here's to a life starting and a life forever changed. Here's to the joy, the glory and the agony. Here's to birth.

And as promised, here is the picture of my next baby's entrance to the world. Humble pie, once again, my triumphant planned HBAC turned repeat c section... but hello my beautiful Julian, I am so honoured to have you. And this time - I had the Hollywood moment.

I am sad for my lost birth my baby boy, but I'm so happy to have you.