One of the great injustices of new motherhood is this idea of the “rush of pure love” you get when you gaze into your baby’s eyes for the first time. Loving your baby is supposed to immediately be the strongest and most fulfilling love you’ll ever feel.

But what if it’s not?

Right after I gave birth, I didn’t get the rush of love. It didn’t come when we got home from the hospital. I didn’t get it even in the first three months, which are entirely a sleep-deprived blur.  Retrospectively it was probably the PPD talking, but also, I’m a person who is slow to love; for me, love needs to grow. It needs to be tended by all parties involved. That’s a tall order for someone who doesn’t even know how to fall asleep.

I love my daughter. Obviously, I do – I make a whole comic about her! My sun rises and falls over her! But I realized recently that now that we can talk to each other, her sun is finally the brightest thing in my sky. When I think about her, my heart does a little leap and I want to hold her close and tell her silly things. I want to be with her all the time. I tear up when I think about her running to me with her arms spread wide, cheering “Mama!!!” (I’m doing it as I type.)

I wish it was easier to say stuff like that. I know from parenting boards that there are legions of moms who are stuck in this limbo, unable to even whisper that they’re having a hard time seeing the love. I just want them (you? maybe?) to know that it’s there. It’s hard to see the seed when everyone is telling you to look for a tree, that’s all.

This strip features a cameo from Alison B.! Thanks, Alison! If you want to be in How Baby, head on over to the Patreon and pledge at the $2 level or above!