Before Vinny’s adoption was finalized, once a month we would have a social worker come out to our house to make sure everything was going ok. She talked to Husband and I together and separately. She also talked to Z separately when he was there. One of the questions she always asked was, ‘How’s bonding with the baby going?’ And I always responded that it was going very well, but I didn’t quite get what she was asking. Did I love the baby? Absolutely. Did I want to keep him? YES! Did he feel like my son even though I didn’t give birth to him? 100%. So, sure, I was bonding just fine.
Now that I’ve been pregnant and given birth, I think I understand the question a bit better. Bonding and love are not mutually exclusive. They are both important when raising children, but they don’t necessarily happen at the same time, and that ok.
There really is something to be said about the bond formed between a mother and her child during pregnancy. For as uncomfortable and nerve wracking as pregnancy was for me, I felt very bonded to this tiny human inside of me. We literally shared a body for 41 weeks, and when she was no longer an ‘inside baby’ I instantly felt bonded to her. But I didn’t love her right away.
I didn’t go through a pregnancy with Vinny, and we only knew his birth parents for 6 days before he was born, so I had no bonding time before hand. I knew we matched. I knew (at that point) they wanted us to be his parents, but nothing was legally official. When he was born, I fell so hard in love with him, but I didn’t feel bonded right away.
Now to explain what I mean a bit further. Sydney and I had an immediate connection. She grew inside my body, she heard my voice, she knew me and I knew her in a way that no other relationship can understand. But I didn’t have strong feelings of love for her until some days after she was born. Before you get worried, I did love her, it’s just…well, there’s a lot happening after you give birth. Physically and emotionally you are a wreck, and it’s all the fault of the tiny little person that you have to take care of! Love wasn’t the first thing on my mind.
With Vinny, the love was easy. The first time I held him, I could not imagine loving someone as much as I loved him. But I didn’t feel bonded…maybe because I knew K had the right to change her mind and choose to parent him, maybe because everything happened so quickly…I’m not sure.
I don’t remember the exact moment I felt bonded to Vinny or the exact moment I felt a genuine love for Sydney. But I guess what’s important is that both of those feelings are now present and overflowing.