Tuesday, August 21, 2007

"I think I love you..."

In the first few days after Lucy was born I found a recurring thought going through my mind. It can perhaps be best captured in the words of the inimitable David Cassidy - and I leave it to you whether that's a good or bad thing - "I think I love you".

When the labour was over and we saw we had our little girl, Hayley and I cried tears of joy. You can see in the pictures how thrilled we were at our new arrival. From the moment she was born I felt responsible for her and prtoective towards her.

Does that mean I already loved her?

I've found myself pondering that question in the midst of the chaos that goes with the territory of looking after a newborn.

A colleague of mine once re-assured me of something I had nerver really worried about. He told me that I would have enough love for both children and that my love for the second child would be instant.

So since Lucy's birth I've found myself trying to recall how I felt about Oliver when he was born. Because the truth is that with Oliver already on the scene, I think it has taken me a few days to really warm to Lucy. Or maybe my memories of Oliver's arrival are rose-tinted? Maybe the fact that I am a more confident parent the second time around means that I've less anxiety but no less love.

There's probably some truth in all of the above. But I do know that I have built a close bond with Oliver. He is a little person now with whom I have conversations every day. We laugh together every day. So perhaps I shouldn't be as surprised as I am - and feeling as guilty as I do - when my highly cultivated feelings of protectiveness towards Oliver kick in at the arrival of this little wailing interloper whose agenda doesn't extend beyond her own survival and whose cries seem to unsettle him.

I'm glad to say that as the days have passed I have grown closer to Lucy. I don't get to feed her much yet as she is entirely breastfed (barring one bottle of expressed milk I've given her). But it's surprising how bonded you can become after several days of changing soiled nappies!

So, I don't think I love Lucy any more. I know it.