I am going to share a secret… you have to promise not to judge me! Promise?
Ok… here goes…..
Since Hannah’s placement, I’ve been assaulted by constant guilt. Oh boy… this is really hard for me to admit…. and it’s only through chatting with other mom friends who have more than one child, that I have begun to realize that my feelings are normal, so here goes.
I’ve felt guilty because I have not bonded with Hannah in the same way that I did with Ava. I don’t feel the same way about her…. yet!
Bonding with Ava was almost instant. I think there were a number of factors at play. Firstly because I got to spend a little time with her birth mother prior to her birth, which already started the bonding process. Witnessing her birth was also, for me, part of the bonding process. I remember waking up the morning, the day after she was born, getting out of bed and looking at her sleeping. I was completely overcome by the strongest emotions I had ever experienced. I knew in that instant that I would die for her, jump in front of a fired gun, throw myself in front of a speeding train, that I would die to save her, I loved her that much. I became a lioness in an instant and there was no enemy or danger too great that I wasn’t willing to fight off to save her.
And I thought it would happen the same way with Hannah. But it hasn’t. Don’t get me wrong, I love her, I adore her, I cannot imagine my life, or our family, without her. But the intensity of those feelings has not been as strong (yet) or as instant as it was with Ava.
I’ve felt really guilty about this, after all, she is just a precious little girl, who never asked for any of this and its been really tough to admit it but in admitting it, I’ve been able to talk to other mom’s about how I’m feeling and have come to find that my experience is not unique and doesn’t seem to be linked to adoption in anyway, it would seem that this reaction is really normal among biological mothers too.
Call me crazy, because I know there is NO logic in this, but I think part of my struggle with bonding is because Hannah and Ava are like chalk and cheese! As parents, I think we build up this idea in our heads of who and what our second child will be, which is totally illogical, given that my children are adopted and biologically unrelated, so they were NEVER going to be the same anyway. But because Ava is the only child I had known as my own, I imagined that my second child would be just like her. Then Hannah came along….. and they are so very very different. They look different, they have different body types, Ava was a long, skinny baby, Hannah is a short, fat baby. They have different personalities, while Ava is the determined one, Hannah has a SERIOUS temper on her that is making me scared for when she’s a teen. They are just different in every way possible. And so Hannah is in no way like the image I had built in my head of who or what my second child would be and I do believe that that has impacted on our bonding process. Which is really ridiculous because she is a FAR easier baby than Ava ever was and I have fallen into mothering a small baby with great ease the second time around.
I’ve really struggled with this. I have really hated on myself since Hannah’s placement. I look at her sweet, innocent little face and I want to cry I feel so bad. When I walk in a room, she swings her head around looking for me. When she hears my voice she reacts to me. She has bonded to me 100% and I have hated on myself for not feeling the same way.
I know that logically it will come. I know I have a huge capacity for love and that I love this little girl. But it has been really hard to own up to this. After all, like every other mom out there, I just want to be perfect.