Being a mother is something I always dreamed of. So, when Santi was born in January 2017, I was surprised to feel like I loved him, but I wasn’t in love with him. I’m such a piece of crap, right? Now, before I continue, let me explain myself clearly. I have always loved my child. The moment he was placed on top of me, I felt like my life’s purpose had been completed and I had my baby, my son. I did absolutely love him from the moment he took his first breath but when I met him, I immediately thought he didn’t look like what I had imagined him to look like. He felt like a stranger that I loved. I mean, I would kiss him and have all the feels. I would smell him and instantly know he was part of my soul, but I didn’t know him and therefore didn’t feel like I was completely in love.
And you guys must know there is a difference in loving someone and being in love with someone. I felt like I couldn’t be in love with someone I didn’t know, as weird as that sounds.
For a really long time, I didn’t tell anyone that it took me time to fall in love with my son because people seem to have a bad reaction to it. Cause when you have a kid, the first thing people ask you is “are you so in love????” I felt like if I said “I mean I love him but I don’t know him,” someone might call child services. Or that they wouldn’t be able to get my response out of their head and then for the rest of Santi’s life they would think “oh yeah, she doesn’t really love her kids.” I asked myself a lot if I was a bad mom. I questioned my sanity a lot and didn’t even confide in Santiago. It was actually really lonely.
I fell in love with him over time—slowly and completely. I can’t tell you the exact timeline, all I know is that soon enough, my love was like that of an obsessive stalker girlfriend. I wanted to know what he was doing at every waking moment. When he slept, I wondered what he was dreaming about. When he was awake, I was smothering him with kisses. Obviously, my heart now aches for him. I loved him so much I wanted to have another baby. I wanted to add to my heart another delicious baby that would grow our family.
So, we tried and got Joaquin. Throughout my pregnancy, I silently worried that I wouldn’t love him the same. That I would constantly be comparing the two, preferring my firstborn over my second and not have the same type of connection that I had with Santi. But guess what?
9 months later Joaquin was born and my love for him was instant. It’s like my heart knew what being a mom was, what meeting your baby was, and I was in love with him from the moment I saw his body come out of mine. It was actually exactly what I thought I’d feel with Santi. All the feelings I was waiting to have when I became a mom for the second time came instantly when I became a mom for the second time. I was like “FINALLY!!! I’M NOT SOME BROKEN, FREAK MOM!” I had validation that I was a good person (and a good mom). And it was true, my heart doubled in size.
But then I came home from the hospital and there was a shift. I now had two kids I was madly in love with but Joaquin was ruining the vibe. I know, this sounds dark. Ok let me explain.
He was a different baby than Santi (duh, obviously). He had different noises, different routines and just ways of being. He came and we could no longer be our same family of 3. We couldn’t do the same things like pick up and go to breakfast Saturday morning because we had a baby. It shifted our dynamic and it was something I hadn’t thought of before. And I was frustrated. Because I loved Joaquin, but he didn’t feel like part of the group. This time I did confide in Santiago and he agreed with me. I felt so much better. I still wondered if I was a piece of crap mom, but I had solace in knowing that if the answer was YES, Santiago would be a piece of crap dad too. Now, does this make me a bad wife? (Please don’t answer that)
Antonio came and now I was prepared for everything. He was born—boom—in love. We came home—boom—part of the group. He was by far my easiest transition (even if he was born at the height of the pandemic, with all my kid home from school, while I was living at my parents house, on no sleep). It was just easy. I think it was that I knew deep down that everything happens for a reason. I know deep down that love comes, inclusion comes, sleep comes. So why not just allow for it all to come at once?
I am now the mother of a 4 year old, 2 year old and 9 month old. I don’t ask myself if I’m in love with my kids, but I still question all the time if I’m a good mom. I yell (a lot) but I also praise (a lot). I have a little patience but a big heart. Every day I ask myself if I was the best mom I could have been that day. It never goes away—the wanting to make sure that I’m my best self for them. But I have learned that the fact that I even question myself makes me a good mom.