I never thought I was ever going to have the opportunity to be a mom. Something you may not know about me is that in a faraway land a long, long time ago, I was married. Obviously, the marriage didn't work out because here I am with another man and a child but the point is that my first marriage was childless and by every indication would always be childless. I had pretty much given up all hope that I would ever be a mother. We divorced in 2009 and I moved forward with my life.
I liked kids. I loved them and loved playing with them and hanging out with them. I babysat like crazy through high school. I knew I wanted at least one child but I was always conflicted and confused as to how I could want children but not have a motherly instinct. As time went on, my explanation was that I didn't have to think about it anymore. The decision had been made for me - it just wasn't in the cards for me to have a child. As heartbroken as I was, over time I learned to accept it and move on with my life.
I was also depressed. I was severely depressed. I had to have a C-section which meant I got no immediate bonding time with Maddy after she was born. I was also transitioning between jobs which was very stressful. I had 2 gallstone attacks after Maddy was born and to add insult to injury, I couldn't breast feed. I felt like the world's worst mother.
The icing on the cake was still feeling like I had absolutely no mothering instincts whatsoever. I'm not joking when I say they never kicked in after Maddy was born. I loved my child. I would have gladly given my life for my child but I didn't have a connection to her. To me, it seemed like she was more of a responsibility than my child. All of a sudden I had this dictator in my life ruling over me and it just didn't connect.
Looking back on it now, I know the my bout with postpartum depression contributed a great deal to me feeling the way I did but honestly, the majority of my feelings came from a place of not knowing what to do with my own daughter. I had absolutely no clue on how to be a parent and even less of an idea of how to take care of her. I was totally winging it hence, feeding into that fear of not having a motherly instinct.
Where am I today? I'm in a great place with Maddy. I look at her and my heart swells with pride. She smiles at me and the heavens open. We laugh and play together like we are old friends. We share secrets like girlfriends do. I see her as the curious, happy, crazy intelligent being she is now and I can allow myself to think, "Yes, I created that. I'm doing okay as a mom." This doesn't mean that we don't have our bad days because we most certainly do. It just simply means that now I know motherly instinct or not, I am a mom and I'm doing one hell of a job with my daughter. I don't need an instinct to validate that for me anymore.