The first time it hit was several days after Eleanor was born. She woke me up to eat in the middle of the night, and as I changed her diaper I looked down at her little face and BAM! It was like being hit with a semi truck full of endorphins. The feeling of joy that overwhelmed me was so strong that I nearly cried. For the next several weeks these endorphin rushes would continue to hit me at unexpected moments, always triggered by her sweet face. I had never experienced such a thing after Zoey was born, so it took me by complete surprise. The memory of those rushes of joy is one of my favorite memories from Eleanor’s newborn period.
I had similar emotional surges after Alden was born, only this time I was expecting them. I figured this feeling must be what people talked about when they said they fell madly in love with their baby as soon as they saw them. I assumed the reason I hadn’t felt it after Zoey’s birth was because of the difficult circumstances of her arrival.
Once Dinah was born I eagerly anticipated the arrival of the same feelings. They didn’t come. What happened instead, is that I would notice a much more subtle feeling of joy welling up in me. Sometimes when I look down into her sweet little face, but more often when she latches and begins to nurse. It’s a feeling of deep burning love and happiness that doesn’t quite overwhelm me like it did with her older siblings, but is no less profound. It is also longer-lasting. Nearly three months old and I still frequently feel these emotions. In fact, they only seem to have gotten more frequent as she has learned to smile and interact more.
I truly believe that the increase in joy I have felt with the babyhood of each of my children, and in watching them grow, is the greatest gift I will experience in this life.