Gina Winnie

Becoming a parent

in Parenting by

After a very tiring labour, my daughter was put on my chest immediately. The only words I asked were “Is she safe?” and then I feel asleep. I had been awake for two days straight and been in active labour for too many hours due to induction and my main goal was to get that baby out and safe.

I had waited all my life for that overwhelming feeling of immediate love. My moral compass, all of my life’s decisions and employment choices have been completely based on emotion, with the ultimate end goal being love. I feel so deeply. I was banking on the fact that this initial introduction to Winnie would be my holy grail.

I had felt emotion. I immediately became protective, worried, fearful, and responsible in the matter of seconds. A different kind of love from the one I had been expecting.

I feel lump-in-the-throat love at the thought of any friend or family member accomplishing anything, remembering my wedding, recalling being held in my mother’s arms and suddenly, at the birth of my daughter, I no longer reach that level of emotion. A love filled with responsibility and protection, but not explosive heart love. You know the one you always hear about- I was meant for that feeling. Trust me.

I was plagued with too emotional all my life. Secrets have been kept from me due to my sensitivity. X factor videos of surprisingly talented unconventional performers are constantly shared on my newsfeed. This was my saving grace. My moment where I realize all that mockery was totally worth it. I get to reveal in the maximum emotion possible and internally laugh at all the other mommies in history, knowing that my birth experience was definitely felt more deeply than they ever could have possibly described.

Then it wasn’t. It was less emotional than I had expected. A few tears of relief at her healthy status and then boom- out cold.

I have fought exhaustion for extreme emotion in so many other situations. Why now can I barely keep my eyes open? Why now am I nodding my brand new daughter off to my husband? I have held on to moments and savoured every drop and now I can barely remember.

Well the disappointment I had in myself was overwhelming, you know being emotional and all, I tend to riddle myself full of guilt for way too many things. I held Winnie tight every night and said sorry. I rubbed her little head and with tears hitting her breastfeeding mouth.

I remained by her side, sacrificing my whole self to make up for that one moment.

I obsessed with it, questioned my love every second of the way. I wouldn’t even offer a bottle of breast milk making it my duty to be her one provider, her one and only true love.

Then, I will never forget it. Nine months old. I let it go. Rather than stressing over parenthood and putting myself down every step of the way. I admitted to myself, I was tired. It’s ok.

With that release, suddenly when I went to lay my child down in her crib that night, emotions flooded my system. I cried so hard and suddenly I finally had that feeling. I didn’t let her go. I wasn’t scared she would wake up, I didn’t care. I actually dropped to my knees with her in my arms telling her I love her over and over. It was this overwhelming feeling that finally gives you the meaning of life: love.

What made it come was my own personal realization that it was alright if I never felt it. It doesn’t mean I don’t love my daughter more than life itself. It doesn’t mean that when she smiled for the first time I didn’t experience a skip in my heart or that when she held my hand, I never stopped breathing for a moment.

I put too much pressure on myself to feel and that was my flaw. I usually succumb to emotion, allow it to take me over and just go along with the motions, riding the feelings as they come. Even during contractions- that was my motivation. Reminding myself how awesome the love would be.

So before I even became a mother, I was pressuring myself to this unreachable height and creating standards that I knew nothing about until the moment came.

So I let it go and now I feel harder, like I always had before.

I also sing Let it Go way too often because I am the mother of a three-year-old.

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