Bonding isn’t just a feeling; it also includes a commitment:

– We have decided we will put ourselves on the line for our child.

– We will do the best we can and give our children what they need, even if it costs us time, energy and patience.

Most people will agree that the thing a baby needs most is love. That’s true, and the love we feel has to be translated into action. A hundred times a day we show it with a touch of cheek-to-cheek, gentle handling, soothing caresses, smiles and words, easing our baby’s distress with feeding and changing, and by being there. We put ourselves o?I call for our baby 24 hours a day. That is love.

Sometimes it comes easily; at other times it comes down to a sigh and an effort to push on because the baby needs us. Love is not just the time spent gazing and smiling together like a soap commercial. Every act of assistance is an act of love.

Anne, 38 ‘The single most important thing I have learned about motherhood is to keep at it. I’ve had many different jobs and I’ve got several qualifications, but with all of these I had the option of chucking it in. But the job of mothering has been the hardest, because I can’t resign or drop out — it’s forced me to keep at it through the hard times, and I’ve learned more self-respect and self confidence from this than any other thing I’ve ever done.’

Rick, 23 ‘To be honest, I wasn’t really into having kids. Jude got pregnant and I was still worried how it would be. When Elly was born, it bowled me over. I’ve stopped going out half as much; I just want to be home with Jude and the baby.’