When I was pregnant with my first, I had so many fantasies of how things would be. Breastfeeding would come naturally and I would sit in the glider and just watch my baby fall asleep in my arms, then gently place her in the crib and all would be right with the world.
Let me go back a bit real quick. I’m a touchy feely kind of person. According to the book “The 5 Love Languages”, mine is touch. I feel loved with a quick tap on my shoulder, graze along my back, hug out of no where, light tap on my butt (from my husband only of course!) and I show love the same way. I squeeze, kiss, run my fingers along arms, hold hands and bring hands close to me. If Tom walks close by me without recognizing me in that way, I get a tiny bit bugged and hold it in. Early in our marriage it was a “thing” and thankfully he saw how important it was to me and re-trained himself how to be that way for me.
There are 5 love languages according to the book: Touch, Words of Affirmation, Acts of Service, Quality Time and Receiving Gifts. Everyone has one and once you understand what yours and those around you possess, you will then be able to receive love appropriately. It’s totally true and I highly recommend looking in to them!
Ok, back to my fantasies.
Well, needless to say when I delivered my baby things didn’t go according to plan. My tailbone almost broke completely off while giving birth and that first year I could barely sit down on the butt donut. It was severe. There was no sitting in the glider singing lullabies or rocking her to sleep. I breastfed Carissa while propped up in a funky position on the floor or on my knees, or lying down. She hated it. I mean truly hated breastfeeding, but she wouldn’t take a bottle either so I had to trick her for every feeding by giving her the pacifier then pop in my boob. haha I laugh now, but at the time it was so devastating! I took it as she didn’t like me as her mom (I know. Dramatic.) even though everyone told me that it was because of my discomfort and that she was probably just feeling that vibe from me. She weaned herself from my force-fed breast at 10 months and went straight to the sippy cup of formula. That was difficult.
Even as a teeny weeny baby she did not like to be cuddled. She preferred facing away and screamed when you faced her in for a sweet cradle hold. Tom and I would laugh at that personality trait because she was just like him. Knowing that, I knew I could change that about her, too. ha!
Over the years I still wanted to show her love by hugging and squeezing, holding hands and all of that. I got constant rejection from her and would cry about it all the time. One of my best friends then told me about the 5 love languages when she was about 2 years old and I decided to look in to it. I was pleasantly surprised to see ‘Touch’ as one and also ‘Quality Time’. I knew quality time fit her perfectly. She would beam if you sat on the floor and did puzzles or colored with her; she felt loved. I started to make it a point to understand how to love in that way and to accept her way of telling me she loved me without having to come up to me and hug me out of no where to prove it, which was what I longed for. Even though I needed that, I had to realize that she just. wasn’t. that. way.
I shed many tears to Tom saying I just didn’t feel like she loved me back. I cried at MOPS one time talking about how she rejected all of my acts of love and it was starting to strain our relationship and she was barely 5!! Then a few weeks later they did a whole segment on that same book reminding me what I needed to do to fix things.
I kept up with my overbearing love and kisses bc I didn’t want to give up the thought that I would never get it back from her. Roman, on the other hand, shares my love language and is always snuggling with me. Because of that, I felt guilty as if we shared this bond that she and I never would and so I would pull her to sit on my lap all the time and squeeze her and kiss her neck as she tried to get away, scrunching her face and telling me to let her go. I forced my love language on her hoping and praying she would grow in to it.
Last year she gave me a nice surprise by starting to hug me first. Deep hugs and snuggles. It made my day and I told Tom every time she did it because it was such a big deal for me.
Now at age 7, I can officially say that with force and determination, my daughter has learned a new love language. Her first is STILL quality time, but I am so happy that she can also show me love my way, too. She grabs my hand to hold it, she sits in my lap even though she’s almost as tall as I am! She comes up to me all the time for a bear hug and enjoys snuggling at bed time. It’s bliss and although it WAS forced it now comes naturally for her. It seems as thought persistence has paid off and once again, I have prevailed! 🙂