No I haven’t turned into a Halloween, flesh-eating style zombie, but I do have a strange confession to make.
At least once a day, I find myself having this crazy desire to almost eat my baby boys chubby cheeks or his toes, or his little arms… it’s incredibly weird and strikes me as a completely primal feeling over which I have no control whatsoever.
It’s as if I just love him so much, I could eat him, but wouldn’t actually eat him if you know what I mean!
Interestingly it’s not something I’m alone in feeling. I can distinctly remember other mums saying this sort of thing about babies, before I had kids myself. I have to confess, I never really understood it. Other women would routinely gush about a friend or relatives baby;
‘Oh you are so cute, I could just eat you up!’ As they'd go to pinch the childs cheeks.
Meanwhile I’d be standing there thinking…
‘Er… okay…. I don’t understand this weird Hannibal Lecter style behaviour over babies at all.’
You see, I was never really what you’d call a baby person. Yes I thought babies were cute, but I'd never have the urge to pinch their cheeks or feel this primordial urge to eat them.
The whole thing was peculiar to me.
Fast forward to today and I have become one of those mums. Literally, the sight of my baby boy does something to the rational side of my brain and I just have to cuddle or hug him and I feel like I want to eat him.
But apparently it’s all perfectly normal…
According to the boffins, studies have shown that the smell of a new baby is actually addictive to mothers and indeed turns on the parts of the brain that are involved in other addictive triggers such as food, alcohol and even drugs! In fact, the studies went on to say that it was a completely normal evolutionary response and helps with the bonding process.
It certainly explains a few things. This urge to be around my baby, to hug him, to smell him. It is indeed as if he has an addictive quality for me. I just love to be near him.
It also goes to show just how much children can change you. They literally do something to the chemistry of your brain. I've blogged before about the loss of identity one can feel after becoming a mum. I know I struggled for many months after I gave birth. I felt as if I'd left the old me behind in the delivery room and I didn't know who this new person was.
It's comforting to know in a way that it's more than just a emotional change we go through, it's very much a physical change too, that is indeed backed up by science.
Becoming a mum really is a momentous change and it takes time to get used to it.