About three weeks ago, I wrote a rather miserable post. I was tired, frustrated and totally befuddled by Harley. She would cry and I would panic – what was I supposed to do to fix it? I only really liked her when she slept, and I felt like a horrible mother for it. I started by forgiving myself and accepting that a mother’s love didn’t have to be the typical image we see of it, but just that I kept trying to help her, even when I was clueless. But things really started to get easier when Harley started breastfeeding once she hit her due date; the power of nursing can’t be stressed enough for me. It makes me feel close to her, and gives me more agency because I feel there is something I can physically do to stop her crying, more than just shoving a bottle in her mouth.
But while things were improving, the process of falling in love with her was also moving along. Our massage class helped so much, and continues to help. It’s so great learning new things that I can do with her. I had planned on reading to her, playing games and other activities as she got older, but when she’s just a blob it felt like I couldn’t really do much with her. Now, we play with massages, physical games, songs, and tummy time. I can’t believe the surge of pride I feel when I see how strong she is, how I keep telling anyone who will listen that she’s going to be a genius. Slowly, I’ve realized that I’m growing to love her.
It hasn’t been an instantaneous thing, but I do feel so much closer to her. Her cries don’t elicit fear and panic in me, and I think she can feel that I’m more relaxed, making her more chilled in response. I find her little faces adorable and I’m learning to read her cues – when is she hungry, when is she warm, when does she have gas. I still get it wrong sometimes, but she doesn’t cry as much and we’re able to have more fun together. I’m also getting used to the whole lack of sleep thing, and her other forms of torture just don’t feel as bad. Every day feels better and better with her, and I’m starting to really enjoy some of our times together. I like when she falls asleep on me, I enjoy hearing her little snores, and I love seeing when Dean makes her “stand” on his lap and she seems to adore it.
We are on a lifelong journey together, and I suppose that it makes sense that it takes time before we reach an emotional peak. I have never been one to fall in love quickly, but when I love, I do so deeply and profoundly. Harley is worming her way into my heart, making me love her more each day. She has only been home for about a month and we’ve already made so much progress together; I think within another month’s time we will both be madly in love with each other. For now, I’m not rushing the feelings, nor feeling guilty for how I feel. I love her, and she’s growing on me more every day – each time we breast feed, each time we play, each time I can calm her cries, we get that little bit closer. Maybe one day soon I’ll be ready to pose for a picture with her to perpetuate the typical image of maternal love that we’re all used to seeing.