Getting to know your baby. Did you know your newborn immediately?

getting to know your baby

I was recently browsing my Instagram and something interesting struck me. On social media I have seen several mothers say (write), that after the birth of their babies they feel ‘they have known their newborns forever’. I personally have never felt that way. I have given birth to five babies over the past thirteen years, and none of the times I have felt that I immediately ‘knew’ my babies at all!

Even now, nearly 4 months after his birth and knowing every dimple, crease and curl of Bram’s little body (and since he’s been laughing out loud I know of his ticklish spots too), I am still getting to know him. Every day, with every little milestone in his development, I learn more about who he is. It’s a bit like a flower bud opening up, slowly showing us its leaves with all of its unique colours, shapes, patterns and scent. This is how, very gradually, I get to know the person of Bram. And I know, having gone through the process a few times now, that this ‘getting to know’ will take quite some time. Months, and in some way, years even!

getting to know your baby

getting to know your baby

I have been thinking about this quite a bit lately, for I have always felt a bit silly, perhaps even inadequate, to be a mother who didn’t immediately know her babies. But the more I think about it, the more I feel there is an explanation for it.

I think that at birth there is a difference between the sense of belonging and the sense of knowing (and with that, understanding). I have felt the (overwhelming!) emotion of belonging right from the moment my babies were put into my arms. Immediately and very strongly, I felt that they DID belong with us, forever and always. And I loved them for that. Instantly.
But I didn’t know them yet. I still had years in front of me in which they would develop into unique human beings. And I would gradually understand who they are and what their needs are. And in those years of getting to know them, the love for their unique personalities would grow and compliment that love of belonging I so strongly felt in the beginning.

getting to know your baby

getting to know your baby

Once I understood this all, some things have fallen in place for me. I have accepted that apparently I am the kind of mother who has to get to know her babies. And that it is only natural that this process sometimes goes hand in hand with misunderstanding and frustration. It simply isn’t handed on a silver plate to me, this thing called motherhood.
I have accepted that I have to learn, slowly and steadily, who my baby is in order to understand him and know about his wants and needs. With every baby again! They are all unique personalities, after all.

I would love to hear your thoughts on this.

xxx Esther

PS All beautiful photos by my friend Maud Fontein. Thank you Maud for capturing the moment so beautifully. ♥

PPS Tips on regaining your sense of self after becoming a mother.



Comments (10)

July 26, 2018

Live your thoughts. One thing that struck me is that I have seen a lot of Mother’s Day very similar things about their babies, similar sentences, similar thoughts, (actually often the exact same thing) do they really deep in their hearts mean it? Or did they see it on someone else’s and thing ‘oh how beautiful!’ And subconsciously write it themselves? Maybe not. I also as an aside over the past few years now see the following –

This is everything!
Those xyz are everything!
All the feels.
On point
My ***** game is strong
This is everything
I can’t even
I just can’t

I don’t know if I’m getting old or what (😳) but all these ‘sayings’ make me feel so OLD! Old because I feel a cringe when I see them written and I think gosh I must be not with the times.

Anyway for all the genuine women who genuinely say I knew you forever I’m with you. I’m getting to know mine all the time as they grow and change, and I had no idea who they were for at least 6m until their personalities started to show!!!

Love x

July 26, 2018

Sorry… *love your thoughts . Not live. Arghhhh!!!! Ha

July 26, 2018

Thanks for your vulnerability and for putting to worss something I have also experienced. It is so easy to feel inadequate as a mama—but you graciously reminded me that there isn’t a “right” way to feel after a baby is born. I agree—*knowing* is a process!

July 26, 2018

I am getting old because there are a million typos as I type in bed when my toddler wakes me up at 5am to nurse and I check my email. Sorry!!!! Mother’s say! Not Mother’s Day. And I wrote this is everything twice! Argh the crime of that. It should never be said once. 😉

July 26, 2018

This is such a perfect article at the perfect time. I have just had my second darling boy, and although I love him dearly, I do not know him. I am learning him and I have the rest of my life to do that. Isn’t that the joy and challenge of parenthood. I must admit I was starting to get caught up in the whole instagram comparison, and this was the perfect reminder.

July 26, 2018

I did feel like I knew my babies before they were born. It’s strange because none of them have names that I would ever have thought I would have chosen, and they are not names I had ever considered before, but they just seemed right for those babies’ personalities before they were even born! When I had my last baby I kept insisting her name was Josephine, and my husband didn’t like it. I kept saying “you just don’t know her yet, Josephine is her name.” The first moment he held her he said “you’re right, she’s a Josephine.”

Of course, it probably helped that we knew the sex of the baby before it was born, but I can say my kids’ personalities are all what I expected based on how they felt in my womb. Of course I am constantly getting to know them and they are constantly changing, but the core of who they are is very familiar to me.

This is just my experience, of course. I know lots of moms who did not feel this way at all! If anything I feel like I’m the odd duck of my friends!

July 26, 2018

I have three daughters. When the first one was born I only felt that I want to take care of her. I never felt that bond until a few months later. To be honest the first thing that came to my mind was she was like a little blob. Just there hanging out. Once I started to get to know her slowly the bond started taking shape. When my second was born 19 months later I was so exhausted and overwhelmed the same thing happened. To be honest it wasn’t until a couple years later for both that I felt like a really knew them. It was a slow gradually bond that happened. Once my third was delivered I also didn’t feel like I knew her immediately but I felt like she completed our family. I also felt that I could read her signals faster than the first two of what she needed. Maybe because she was the third?

September 24, 2018

One of those moms who said so is your dear friend Courtney. I think, I know the differences. You honor each of your kids’ unique personality, so you need time to know them over the years. But Courtney, she has a dream vision of what she wants her children to be. So no uniqueness she can tolerate because everything has to be in her own standard.

Esther in Amsterdam
September 25, 2018

Do you personally know Courtney, Devina?

June 26, 2019

When I read this post I felt that this have been my same feelings for both my daughters. I love this feeling of gradually discovering their little personality and following them through life. This is for me one of the best though challenging part of motherhood.

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