I was scrolling through social media as you do when you're bored off your tits while your pregnant wife insists on watching the Kardashians. In the midst of my finger flying up the screen, seeing posts of families and pregnancy etc. it got me thinking about my bond and connection so far with my baby.
I've spoken about my efforts so far to bond with 'Bub' (what we call my wife's bump). How naming the bump helps, talking to it, playing music and feeling the kicks. My wife is 22 weeks pregnant now and very visibly pregnant, with loads of activity which is incredible, fantastic and joyous.
Which is also a complete pain in my wife's arse when she is trying to sleep.
I also spoke at the time, how it's harder for the man/partner to bond with the bump. I don't have that physical connection apart from now being able to feel kicks.
I'd be lying to you if I said right now I have this deep, strong and incredible bond with my baby, and started sprouting some pseudo spiritual shit that would have people questioning was I smoking something.
Inside My Head
This thought played around in my head over the weekend as I tried to understand it better. It's not an easy thought to have. "I don't have a bond with my baby"?
On the flip side of the coin, I'm repeatedly telling myself "I do have a bond with my baby". If I keep telling myself that, is it like a positive affirmation that by continually saying something it becomes true?
(Quick pause to check myself, If indeed I am smoking something or is there something up with this coffee?).
I want to talk to my wife about it, but I want to know what I want to talk about first. That I'm clear about what's going on inside my head (it does tend be a bit of mad house up in there), before speaking about it. Also, I'm told I can mumble a bit when I'm trying to explain thoughts & feelings. I started by listing off things in my mind. So, here we go...
I'm making every effort to be involved, be present, learn, started a blog, talk to bub, play the ukelele near the bump. I've been reading dad books. Speaking to other Dad's and parents. I've done a baby care workshop, I've been cooking for my wife. Making sure she's comfortable, reducing her stress where possible. Started decorating the baby's room.
So, why don't I feel this "bond"?
Now this will sound odd as I was trying to think of a comparable bond, the whole notion of a father and son/daughter bond.
But it did come into my head honestly, why is it not like the bond I have with Indie (my dog)? Anyone that knows me personally, knows I love my dog. And that given the opportunity would rescue another 10 dogs mind you. I look after her, talk to her, play with her, walk her and spend a hell of a lot of time with her to the point that I can communicate with her via head nods or even with a look. We have a bond... (my wife constantly says, "You love that dog, that dog loves you and only tolerates me"). But I didn't make her, yet I've helped to make this baby.
Anyway, these thoughts around bonding were rattling around my head as I got stuck into some painting.
What I came to realise
What I came to realise as I finished the basecoat on the skirting boards. Or it was the fumes telling me.
I do have a bond with my baby.
It's not the bond that I have come up with in my mind of what "the bond" should be. The realization about all this slapped me in the face like that "You've just been Tangoed" ad. My anxiety for once delivered something positive. My worries is my bond.
I have this sense of having to protect both my wife and baby at the moment. Now this is not some neanderthal version of me beating away enemies and returning my wife and offspring to our cave. It's more of a conscious thought about there well-being. That they're safe.
My worries and these thoughts has led me to do all that I have listed above. I want to be as best prepared as I can be before baby's arrival. And be on the front foot once I bring he/she home. My worry about being a good Dad is probably creating a deeper bond than I can imagine. It's just not as visible to me like when I tell Indie to 'sit'.
(Who knows, the kid could turn out to be a little shit and we might be writing a completely different blog down the line.)
What I'm saying and have said to myself. And maybe it's relevant to you who's reading this.
It's ok to not have a Bond with your Baby. It will come. The bonding process is different for everyone, some will immediately have it, some not until the baby is in their hands and some not until their baby kicks an injury time winning goal from outside the box.
I'll keep doing what I'm doing to help create a stronger bond. It's as much for me as it is for the baby. I know that not everyday will I feel this "bond". For feck sake there are times during the day I forget that I'm even going to be a Dad.
So, for now all I can do is enjoy the fact that I'm ever closer to becoming a Dad and that my baby is kicking the almighty crap out of my wife's bladder.