From an article on the cultural relevance of neonaticide to both hunter/gatherers and modern society came this quote by Steven Pinker:
A new mother will first coolly assess the infant and her current situation and only in the next few days begin to see it as a unique and wonderful individual. Her love will gradually deepen in ensuing years, in a trajectory that tracks the increasing biological value of a child (the chance that it will live to produce grandchildren) as the child proceeds through the mine field of early development.
And I have to admit, this quote made me feel a whole lot better about how I looked at my daughter the first time I saw her.
Some of you know the details, most of you don’t… but the day my daughter was ripped from my body was the worst day of my life. It’s a hard thing to admit. I love her more than life, she is my entire world, I would give anything for her happiness and security. But that emergency c-section, after three daysof labour, was the worst thing I’ve ever experienced. It’s a hard thing, it’s conflicting. But there is NO conflict in how I feel about the girlie.
I had disassociated. Things were so bad that I wandered in and out of awareness. I remember things in vague patches. Horrifying for the most part. Then there was a baby next to my head, swaddled, and pronounced as mine. And through my haze I was expected to be full of love and life altering emotion… but all I could say was “oh”.
I have always felt horribly guilty for that “oh”. Like there was something not right with me, that I couldn’t instantly forget everything I’d just experienced and be overjoyed and present for my new baby. But it took some time. And I am so grateful for my husband, who cuddled Lily-Ann and showered affection on her, when I wasn’t fully myself. It didn’t take long, but I’ve always felt wrong for not being instantly present and instantly in love… And this one sentence, in regards to motherhood, made me feel so much better.
My daughter really is everything to me. She is why I push so hard for social change. She is why I work so diligently. She is why I love so freely. She is why I am who I have become. I am better for her.
So while my surgery was the worst experience of my life, what resulted from that surgery is the best thing in my life. There is no conflict there. I know exactly where one ends, and the other begins.
I have said it before, and I’ll say it again: I Believe in the Power of She! And She? She is my daughter!