Many years ago, I read an article by a first time mother and father. The mom described bonding to her baby immediately. The dad, on the other hand, did not feel the same attachment as his wife. He didn’t tell anyone about this for months because he was embarrassed about not immediately “falling in love” with his baby. He did everything he was supposed to in terms of supporting mom and baby, but he felt a bit like an outsider at the beginning of his son’s life.
Ever since I read that article, I have made a point of telling new fathers that it’s “normal” for moms to bond to babies before they do. My rationale for this is as follows:
- The baby was biologically connected to the mom for the entire pregnancy.
- Men typically grow up playing with action figures and balls instead of dolls.
- Adult men are less likely than women to interact with other people’s babies before they become parents themselves.
I find that most new fathers are relieved to hear this information. I often joke that this observation does not get them out of chores. I also reassure them that they will become deeply attached to their babies in time.