Let me say first off: I love my children. Love with a capital L. But I did not enjoy them as babies. Sure, they’ were cute, but so are bunnies. And they smelled good, but so does a pine tree. Bunnies, pine trees, babies, nice, but eh, I could take ’em or ‘leave ’em. I loved my daughters, but my brain registered very little reward in caring for them. Breastfeeding was fine because I never had to think about what they were going to eat that day. It was a convenience about as thrilling as a trip to 7-11. Nursing, bathing, diapering all felt like a slalom course I just had to get through. For me.
Now, other parents really relish their child’s infancy. They document all their favorite moments, of which their are a myriad. The pleasure centers of their brains rapid-fire whenever they look at their babies. Time feels to slow down whenever they are with them.
Which is how I feel about my daughters now. I love talking to them, hearing about what they did at school, helping them navigate the social world, running with them full-bore down a soccer field. I love parenting them at this stage. Love it. And I love them, just as I did when they were babies. But now I love my parenting job, too.
So, to new parents out there: I know this goes against the common discourse, but it’s ok not to love parenting a newborn. It doesn’t mean you’re a defective parent. Give it time. You and your baby may both need some time to grow.