A mo­ment that lasts for­ever

Those sec­onds when you feel your first real con­nec­tion with your baby are un­for­get­table, when­ever or wher­ever they hap­pen…

Mother & Baby (UK) - - CONTENTS -

Seven mums share their baby-bonding sto­ries

‘I felt a pure, in­tense rush of love’

‘When I got the call from the hospi­tal to say they were ready for me to come in to be in­duced, as planned, I burst into tears. Just that morn­ing I had dropped my el­dest daugh­ter, Amelie, off

Har­riet Quin­n­ear, 30, a full-time mum, lives in Chelms­ford with hus­band Kevin, and daugh­ters Darcey, one, and Amelie, four

at pre-school, and now I was feel­ing a strange emo­tion, al­most like guilt. Un­be­known to Amelie, her life was about to change for­ever. How could I ever love another child as much as I did her? Six­teen hours later, ly­ing back on the hospi­tal bed and out of breath af­ter a fi­nal push, I held out my arms. I’d been push­ing for 45 min­utes and now, fi­nally, the mo­ment was here. The mid­wife gen­tly placed my baby girl on my bare chest and I looked down at her squishy, beau­ti­ful face. Eyes wide open, she gazed up at me, and I felt a pure, in­tense rush of love. The emo­tion flooded my body – it was such a phys­i­cal re­ac­tion. I burst into tears of love, pride and relief. Some­how I in­stantly knew I didn’t have to share my love be­tween this baby and Amelie; in­stead, my heart grew big­ger. And a few hours later, when my mum brought Amelie to the hospi­tal to meet Darcey, I watched Amelie shower her sis­ter with kisses. I knew that there in front of me was my en­tire world, and I felt like I was go­ing to burst with love.’

‘When I heard his heart­beat, a wave of emo­tion en­gulfed me’

‘Be­fore I be­came preg­nant, I had no ex­pec­ta­tions of when or even if I’d bond with my baby – it just wasn’t some­thing I’d thought about yet. But as the mid­wife placed the Dop­pler over my freshly gelled bump, I held my breath as I sud­denly thought, “What if my baby’s heart­beat can’t be traced?” Within a few sec­onds, an un­mis­tak­able boom-boom sound filled the room and I gasped, beam­ing at my part­ner, Lekan. As I lis­tened to my baby’s sur­pris­ingly fast heart­beat, a wave of emo­tion en­gulfed me. What I could hear was proof of an ac­tual life in­side me. Although I couldn’t see my baby and I hadn’t yet ex­pe­ri­enced him move, at that mo­ment

Gabriella Dadzie, 28, a busi­ness owner, lives in southeast Lon­don with part­ner Lekan, and son Jeremiah, 16 weeks

I him, there in­side. And as his lit­tle heart­beat car­ried on, I re­mem­ber think­ing that my baby was the only per­son who knew what my heart­beat sounded like, too. And that spe­cial con­nec­tion be­tween us ce­mented.

It trig­gered a whole new re­la­tion­ship be­tween me and my un­born baby. Ev­ery day as my bump got big­ger, I talked to him. “I can’t wait to meet you,” I’d say. “You’re so ac­tive, I think you’ll be a foot­baller.” Lekan chat­ted to him, too, and we played him mu­sic. We were like a lit­tle fam­ily al­ready. And as the weeks went by and I could feel him move, each in­ter­ac­tion caused him to wrig­gle, like he was com­mu­ni­cat­ing with us. I’d never have be­lieved it had I not ex­pe­ri­enced it for my­self.

My labour was long, and I ended up hav­ing a c-sec­tion, so couldn’t hold baby Jeremiah for a cou­ple of hours. But when he was fi­nally placed in my arms, I felt like I knew him al­ready. It was beau­ti­ful. The con­nec­tion we’d formed when I first heard his heart­beat had con­tin­ued and strength­ened, and Jeremiah and I were fa­mil­iar and close to one another from the very start.’

‘As Joshua snug­gled into me, an odd feel­ing slowly crept up on me’

‘“You’ll love the baby, but you may not bond straight away,” my part­ner Hay­ley warned me when I was preg­nant, fol­low­ing IVF. Hay­ley had given birth to Joshua’s broth­ers, Matthew and James, years ear­lier, so I knew she was speak­ing from ex­pe­ri­ence. But to be hon­est I didn’t take any no­tice – I was sure I’d bond with our baby straight­away. And when Joshua was born six weeks early, sure enough, I bonded with him, loved him and cared for him. But when he was three weeks old, Joshua de­vel­oped hy­pother­mia and was read­mit­ted to hospi­tal. He was still so tiny! As I sat in the hospi­tal, hold­ing Joshua close to keep him warm, he snug­gled into me and I felt his body re­lax as he started to set­tle. He let out a big con­tented breath, as if to ex­press how happy he was. And an odd feel­ing slowly crept up on me. I can only de­scribe it as a phys­i­cal sen­sa­tion – a warmth that started from the out­side of my body and grad­u­ally ra­di­ated in­wards. What I was feel­ing was an in­tense, all-con­sum­ing love for my son. I was over­come by a need to pro­tect him. Bask­ing in the glow of that mo­ment, I re­mem­bered Hay­ley’s words and un­der­stood what she meant. The bond I’d had pre­vi­ously was noth­ing like the in­tense con­nec­tion I felt now.’

Ni­cola Car­lin, 37, a health vis­i­tor, lives in Stock­port with part­ner Hay­ley, and chil­dren Joshua, one, Matthew, 10, and James, 14

’My heart melted as Archie took his first steps to­wards me’

‘I found out I was ex­pect­ing Archie three months af­ter hav­ing an ec­topic preg­nancy – the fer­tilised egg had im­planted in the fal­lop­ian tube rather than my uterus, and had to be re­moved, along with the tube it­self. I hardly dared hope this se­cond preg­nancy would run its course. It was all fine, though, but af­ter Archie was born, I felt slightly re­moved from what I thought was “nor­mal” mother­hood, although I fed, changed and cud­dled him. I waited for that first rush of love that ev­ery­one talks about, and I wor­ried there was some­thing wrong with me for not bonding with him. But I never ad­mit­ted this truth to any­one.

Eleven months on, I was sit­ting in the lounge, watch­ing Archie clutch the sofa as he prac­tised stand­ing up. “Archie, come and play,” I called, ex­pect­ing him to lower him­self and crawl to­wards me as usual. But he ten­ta­tively took a step for­wards, and then another one.

“Al­lan, quick!” I shouted to my part­ner: “Get the cam­era!” In­cred­u­lous, I watched as Archie walked to­wards me, his arms out­stretched and his face a mix­ture of excitement and nerves. And the way he looked at me, all vul­ner­a­ble as if to say “Catch me, Mummy!” melted my heart. For the first time, I felt truly needed by Archie, and united to him. It was as if we sud­denly con­nected on an al­most spir­i­tual level. It was a rev­e­la­tion; a com­plete shift in my re­la­tion­ship with Archie. These days, our spe­cial bond is un­break­able, and I adore spend­ing time with him. We con­stantly share cud­dles, and ev­ery night he falls asleep hold­ing my hair. And I’ve learned that ev­ery mum is dif­fer­ent, and there’s no right or wrong time in your lit­tle one’s life to form a bond.’

Emma Pearce, 34, a full-time mum, lives in St Austell with part­ner Al­lan, and son Archie, 15 months

Har­riet and Amelie with baby Darcey, two hours af­ter birth With Kevin and t girls, 11 days aft Darcey’s bi

Gabriella with Lekan, at 37 weeks preg­nant Gabriella at her baby shower At 16 weeks preg­nant

Joshua, a few hours af­ter birth

Hay­ley and Ni­cola at Joshua’s christening

Nico Joshua we

James with Joshua, at six weeks old

on Emma and Archie, the beach this sum­mer

Archie, at one hour old

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