For the last three months of the pregnancy, and the first 3 weeks of her life, my daughter had no concept of who I was. We were kept apart and this frightened me.
It’s important for a child to bond with their parents, and that begins in the womb – hearing their voices.
I’ve read a lot in the last few months, and learnt about how young children have “bases” – those people that they feel safe with – that they always know they can return to. It gives them a safe anchor point as they start to explore the world, such as when they start crawling and walking and interacting with new people.
After trying to figure out what contact might work with my daughter given her age, I ended up finding some research that found a link between a lack of contact with either or both parents from a young age, and long term issues forming relationships as well as mental health issues.
It was killing me to be kept away from her, and denied any information about her, as it was – but both of these things terrified me.
Being away from her may be damaging to her long term. It may make me – her dad – a stranger, and cause us to be unable to form a significant bond.
So it’s been incredibly reassuring – in my short time with her – to be able settle and comfort her. Recently, after having a feed, she was being burped (by her Mum) but having a good old cry about it. After a few minutes, I had a try instead. Straight away she was calm with me, looking around instead of crying.
Later on she fell asleep on me, and not for the first time.
It seems small, but it shows she feel safe with me. That she can trust me to look after her. That’s a wonderful feeling.