When my daughter was first born, I wouldn’t say that I fell instantly in love with her.
It was awhile before I began to have strong feelings for her, like several months. I cared about her, and for her. I treated her as if she was the most precious thing in my life. I think I mostly did this to fool other people into thinking I was head over heels for her.
I was really worried about my lack of feelings for her. I wondered if other parents, especially fathers, felt like this normally, or if this was some aspect of the ill mood I was in at the time. I did some serious research and found that it is fairly normal for men. It takes awhile for a baby to “imprint” on the father. This happens to be why it seems particularly easy for men to walk away from their family before the baby is born but much less so years into the situation.
I felt better knowing that I wasn’t odd in anyway, but I still wished it wasn’t the case. I talked to my wife and sister about it and both told me it would happen and not to worry. I decided to employ the ‘fake it till you make it’ methodology, and I have to say I had great success with it.
It wasn’t long before those actions I was doing because I had to became things I wanted to do. It wasn’t long before my work days started to fill with thoughts of my daughter, and my nights filled with playing with her and watching her sleep.
I would say that it took a solid four months for me to feel as deeply in love with her as I feel today. And while that seems like a long time to develop those things, I suppose it is a function of how little I was willing to open up to her.
It is something I regret now. I wish I had that time back with the emotions I have now. I guess it was all part of the process but I don’t like that I had to go through it. I am willing to bet I won’t feel that way with my second child. I’ll know the meaning of love and have a deeper understanding of fatherhood. And I’ll be glad I’m not wasting any time.