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Personal Account: Bonding with my baby - It wasn’t like a Disney movie

Updated: Jan 31, 2023

by Esther Whitney (artist name: Dr Doom)

Having grown up watching Disney movie after Disney movie (such as The Lion King, Dumbo, etc). It’s often portrayed that as soon as a baby is born Mother and baby have this intense gush of love and instantly develop an unbreakable bond. When I gave birth to my daughter, almost 6 years ago, I assumed that we would bond instantly and I would be consumed by this intense flood of love. In reality, our bonding process was completely different.

I had an elective caesarean birth; I knew that I personally would struggle with the unpredictability of vaginal birth. For me, having a planned caesarean helped me manage my anxiety and that gave me the headspace to better prepare for the arrival of my baby.

After the birth, I found it rather strange. It was difficult to get my head around being pregnant for 9 months then going into the operating theatre, being given an epidural and then, after some tugging, I was presented with a baby.

Once they had stitched me up I still looked pregnant, which was a shock. The whole process was bizarre; no one told me what to expect. There’s an assumption that once the baby is born every mother automatically knows what to do. I had some idea but being a mother wasn’t my area of expertise. I approached it in a logical way. Unfortunately, this was misunderstood by professionals, which resulted in being labelled an emotionally cold mother.

Some autistic people might be able to relate to this; I am my own biggest critic. I put so much pressure on myself to have this intense flood of love, a deep bond and become this super Momma. When it didn’t happen, I was so critical of myself.

Looking back, I was bonding with my baby; it was just slow and steady, instead of an instant gush which is absolutely okay. I accept that my parenting style takes more of a logical approach. I’m not a naturally maternal person and that's okay. My approach to parenthood as an Autistic person and as an individual is different, not wrong.

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