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Newborn Connection

My entry into the 'Just a Minute' challenge

By Amber BristowPublished 2 months ago Updated 2 months ago 4 min read
Newborn Connection
Photo by Craig Pattenaude on Unsplash

I had been told throughout my entire life how this moment would feel. Generations had regaled the same story, over and over again, every time the topic came into discussion. It reached the point that it was not just a story of one persons experience, but rather a collective truth; an inevitable string of emotions that no one could dispute.

When I fell pregnant, I waited to feel all the things I was told I would. I waited days, then weeks, then months; and nothing. I knew life was forming inside me, yet my brain simply couldn't comprehend what that meant.

One evening, as I lay in bed with my husband who stared lovingly at my growing belly, I asked the question I knew I shouldn't have. We were so close to our due date, so far down the road, it made no sense to bring this up now, but something inside me needed his reassurance.

"What if I don't feel connected to the baby?" I questioned, watching in silence as his face contorted, his eyes narrowing and his lips parting ways, trying to find the words to respond.

"That is our baby in there," he whispered, his hand moving slowly side to side over my bump as his eyes fell to the ground, "do you not feel a connection already?"

When his eyes met back with mine, they looked as if they had turned to glass. I could see his heart breaking as he searched me for answers, his lifelong dream of the perfect family slipping from his grasp with each second I remained silent.

I wanted to tell him the truth; the truth that had been gnawing at me each time I stood in the mirror to watch my growing belly. I would lift my clothing, exposing the skin which within it contained life, and trace my fingers along each new mark I had collected. I tried to picture her, a small and innocent life, with my eyes and his nose, looking up at me sweetly. I tried to imagine her laying against my body after she was born, curled up in the same position she had been in for the last nine months.

I could see her, so clearly, there in my arms. I could see the faces of my family and friends as they looked at her in awe, already so in love. I could see how they wanted me to be. They wanted tears of overwhelming joy and words that detailed an unbreakable bond and disregard for all else in life; but I knew, deep down, that I wouldn't be able to give them what they desired.

I tried to ignore it. I tried to push down any doubt or feeling of unease and continued to smile and cradle my stomach as I looked at it with soft eyes. The world knew no better. I appeared like the perfect mother, so in love with her unborn child, when in reality, I felt no bond to the life inside me.

"Of course I do," I smiled weakly, planting my hand on top of his as he pursed his lips, "I'm just getting nervous, that's all." I reassured him.

"It will all slip away once our little girl is here. She will make all the pieces in life fall into place." he beamed, his words carrying so much weight and meaning. He could feel the bond already, it was clear. He loved her beyond words and yet he had not once felt her kick from inside him or experienced her wriggle from under his skin. He just knew that he loved this baby wholeheartedly, without ever having touched her.

That night, I cried silently beside him as he slept. My grip remained tight around my duvet as I brought it to my lips, feeling as the fabric grew damp with each tear it collected. I apologised to her under muted breaths and envisioned how she would feel, growing up with a mother she never bonded with.

That was the last time I was able to let myself feel the emotions that had been building up inside me. It was the last moment I had to myself and my thoughts before she arrived.

Today, April 22nd at 13:18, she was born. She cried right on queue and showed all the signs of a perfectly healthy newborn. Before I could catch a glimpse of her, she was whisked away to be cleaned and weighed, leaving me laying there, waiting to feel something.

Now I watch as they wipe at her skin with a dampened cloth. Her arms flail around as she wails in the midwifes hands. My husband looks at her with tears in his eyes as he clutches at his chest.

"Darling, she's here!" he sobs, rubbing my head with the palm of his hand to thank me for my efforts.

I can feel my heart beating, calming from the adrenaline of labour as they bring her towards me. I am waiting to feel the way I know I should as she draws in closer, but I find myself lost. I can't seem to link the life I had inside of me to the one that's before me. I hate myself for thinking I don't know this little girl, I hate myself for questioning if and how I will love her the way she deserves.

The weight of my troubles bear down on my chest as the midwife extends her arms towards me, passing over the small life that I wish I felt I knew.

Her wailing grows louder as her small body is lowered towards my ear. I brim with tears as I feel disgusted with myself, wishing I could be better for her and for those who already love her so much.

The tears that start to stream from my eyes meet with hers as she is placed against the side of my face. Her rosy plump cheek caresses mine as the room falls quiet.

"All she needed was her mummy." The midwife smiles sweetly, looking down at the baby as her eyes slowly open and lock with mine.

In just one minute, all my worries slip away as my hands wrap around her small body, drawing her in closer as I plant a kiss on the crown of her head.

Everything I had been told finally made sense.

Short StoryLovefamily

About the Creator

Amber Bristow

Regularly participating in writing challenges and #writerslift on Twitter

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    Amber BristowWritten by Amber Bristow

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