Bowlby’s theory of attachment always plays on my mind since giving birth. It’s a deep emotional bond that connects a person to another person (SimplyPsychology). An adults attachment to a child is to enable them to respond sensitively to the child’s needs; with this important relationship helping to enable social, emotional and cognitive development. Attachment I think is the relationship formed with one person to another. In this case, the child’s attachment to the primary care giver.
I decided to talk about attachment as my journey to becoming a mother wasn’t easy. In fact, I struggled bonding with my son in his first month due to suffering from a traumatic birth experience, but luckily I had the time and support to process this and move forward to build a relationship with my son.
It still niggles at me though. I wonder and worry as I was emotionally unavailable to respond to my child’s needs in his first month; and how this might impact his development. I still sometimes have nightmares about it. But I do my best to be present for him now and hopefully help him thrive and develop his autonomy. Besides, the theory also suggests that if a child hasn’t formed an attachment in the first 5 years of life, then things may be a little bit more difficult. This reminds me of my own issues of feeling good enough, but I will save that for another post.
As I said I was lucky. My partner took the reins for the first month of his life; my son totally adores his daddy today; and I feel it is because of that early care he received from him. He gets super excited when daddy comes home from work; and even wakes up from a sleep when he hears the cats miaowing as he walks in the door! I wouldn’t change that for anything.
I feel our relationship is a lot better now. On the days I still struggle to want to get out of bed, I make myself get up as I have a child to look after. Hovering over his bassinet, to be greeted with a huge smile and a wave of excited arms flailing and legs kicking makes every trouble I have melt away as all I want to do in that moment is pick him up and give him the biggest kiss and cuddle; and begin our day.
For both of us attachment is a learning process. We both continue to learn about one another in our relationship and attune to each other. I can only hope I am a good enough mother for him.