Many parents who are pleased and proud to be pregnant still find it hard to feel a personal love for a baby they’ve never held. For some parents, love starts with the first ultrasound that shows a beating heart; for others, it’s feeling the baby move for the first time; for others it’s not until still later. There is no “normal” time to fall in love with your baby. Love may come early or late; but it comes.
Even when feelings during pregnancy are primarily positive there may be a letdown when the baby actually arrives. You might expect to recognize your baby immediately as your own flesh and blood, to respond with an overwhelming rush of maternal and paternal feelings, and to bond like epoxy. But in many cases this doesn’t happen on the first day or even the first week.
Completely normal negative feelings often pop up. A good and loving parent may have the sudden thought that having a baby has been a terrible mistake – and then feel instantly guilty for having felt that way. Instead of instant bonding, the process is often a gradual one that isn’t complete until parents have had time to recover somewhat from the physical and emotional strains of labor and delivery. How long that takes varies from parent to parent.
Most of us have been taught that it’s unwise to hope for a girl or a boy, in case it turns out to be the opposite. I wouldn’t take this too seriously. It’s hard to imagine a future baby without picturing it as being one sex or the other. Most expectant parents have a sex preference during each pregnancy. So enjoy your imaginary baby and don’t feel guilty if you learn that the baby is not the sex you had envisioned.
(Adapted from Dr. Spock’s Baby and Child Care, 9th edition, By Benjamin Spock MD, updated and revised by Robert Needlman MD)