Being pregnant is a somewhat selfish time for me. It is a snapshot of this life that is just baby and me. I get to share the amazing changes pregnancy brings. I am the one who experiences bodily changes and growth. I get to feel the first kicks, hiccups, and turns. I share these moments with my husband, but know that he will never truly experience our growing baby in the same way. Throughout my pregnancies, I grow attached to our little one and can’t help but feel a bit protective of ‘my’ baby, ‘my’ accomplishment. So, when it became evident that I wasn’t the favorite parent, it stung.
When Lucy comes along, my husband and I get to experience all her firsts together. Somewhere down the road, said innocent newborn becomes a toddler, who can and will scream, shout, and has one true love in life, DADA, who is in fact not me. Not the one who spent time counting kicks, taking the countless middle of the night bathroom trips, or worrying day and night about impossible scenarios and complications…nonetheless, leaving me feeling a bit envious, jealous, and sulky.
The dada obsession started when Lucy was around 18 months old. It began when she started requesting Dada to do all her diaper changes-which by the way, did not leave me the least bit disappointed. She would take a diaper and wipes to seek out her dad for.every.single.diaper.change. At first I thought, ”Perfect, this is awesome.” Gradually, Dada became the only one that could give her a bath, dry her off, wrap her up in a towel “like a baby,” dress her, put her to bed at night, read to her, put bows in her hair, comfort her when she is hurt or cuddle her when she is sad. I was heartbroken. My baby girl wanted very little to do with me.
What had I done or didn’t do to drive her away? I couldn’t wrap my head around it. I soon discovered I had done nothing at all. Lucy is her own person, showing her personality and decisiveness early on. What I did find disappointing was that my envy was not allowing me to see the love that was forming in their relationship.I became blind to the genuine love Lucy has for her dad. Every ounce of her loves him.
He is her moon and stars, her superhero, and best bud. When he walks through the door, there is not a bit of sadness that he cannot erase. What’s more, is seeing the love on my husband’s face when Lucy runs past me, sometimes shouting, “No Mama!,” to bear hug him.
I have since realized there is no room for jealousy in our family. Every moment, action, and experience is just so and teaches me something, helps us grow, or reminds us of how blessed we are. I now make conscious efforts to encourage their bond. To sit back and enjoy their relationship and antics, as I know it will change with time. I have grown to embrace their relationship and not allow myself to be hurt when she shouts out for my husband when I am dressing her ‘wrong.’ Who knew there was more than one way? I am loving their love – their bond. Not only am I okay with her preference, it makes me smile, brings joy to my day. Besides, our son…he’s a big ole momma’s boy.