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There's a myth floating around that all parents experience love at first sight when their kids are born.

We're told by movies, TV shows, and even commercials that becoming a parent triggers an instant and unbreakable bond between us and our children.

But ... if you want to know the truth? That doesn't always happen.


It's pretty common for new parents to deal with confusing bouts of indifference and postpartum depression, and it doesn't help that babies and young kids aren't always completely comfortable with one or both parents right away.

Biological dads can be at particular risk for feeling a little left out, especially if mom is breastfeeding and they don't want to intrude on that process.

Terence Mentor, who blogs under the name AfroDaddy, opened up about his own struggles bonding with his son in an emotional Facebook post.

His first son was adopted, he says, which meant it was easy for him and his wife to take turns feeding him and pacifying him. His bond with his son was instant.

But Mentor's younger son, now 2 years old, took a little longer to warm up to dear old dad. His son had an instant connection with his mom, however, and when that comfort gap lasted beyond the newborn phase, it was emotionally brutal on Mentor.

Something magical happened last night.But before I tell you what it was, you need a bit of background:Ever since my...

Posted by AfroDaddy on Monday, September 4, 2017

On Facebook, he lamented:

"It is quite a thing to be a dad who can't comfort his child, who is constantly told 'No, I go to mommy', who never seems to have a real, relational moment with his own son."

He felt extremely jealous of the bond his son had with his wife. "It was actually more difficult than I had allowed myself to admit," he explains in a Facebook message. "For the first time, I had real doubts about my ability to be a truly involved dad."

After an agonizing two years, things are starting to turn around. Mentor says his son is finally starting to show some real affection for his dad, celebrating a particularly "magical" milestone in his Facebook post:

"This child, who would cry when I so much as looked his way, came to me [last night] for his comfort and calm. Not going to lie ... I got a little teary eyed."

These feelings of "indifference" can go both ways, of course.

While kids may express a preference for one parent over the other, sometimes new parents just don't feel that instantaneously deep love they expect they should feel for the new baby.

These feelings are actually super-duper normal, family therapist Leslie Seppinni told ABC News. "It's not automatic that you're going to bond with your child. Usually it does take a little while," she says.

It's hard to be patient, but if Mentor has learned anything, it's that you have to push through those tough times by giving loads of affection — even if you're not getting it in return.

You also have to talk about how you're feeling, he says.

"Frankly, dads don't talk about this kind of thing, so I have a suspicion that moms think we don't care that our child doesn't want to be with us or have anything to do with us," he says. "We care. We care a lot."

He hopes his story, which has been shared far and wide, encourages more parents to stop beating ourselves up and just be honest with ourselves and our partners.

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12 years ago, Brent's wife, Ruth, noticed that one of her fingers was stiff and she had trouble holding it still.

It was the first sign of Parkinson's. The disease eventually spread its symptoms to the rest of her body, leaving her with severely limited mobility. Ruth now needs help with everything from eating to turning over when she gets uncomfortable during the night.

When Brent helps her, he just sees it as an extension of loving and caring for his wife before the Parkinson's.


He is his wife's caregiver. He helps her eat, walk, and do small stuff like "scratching her nose," he says. The couple attends church together as well.

But one thing got in the way: their van.

They drove to church, and everywhere else, in the van they'd had for countless years. Well-loved but worn down at over 270,000 miles, the van was rapidly deteriorating.

GIFs via David West/"The Van"/YouTube.

"It would start up and drive and then when it got hot, and we stopped, it would leave us stranded," says Brent in the video. If he tried to jump-start it, things would often start smoking, particularly the air conditioning.

Finally, it was someone else's turn to take on some of the burden and care for both Brent and Ruth.

Janet West had purchased a new car, and her previous Honda van was in need of a new home. With so many family memories in the van, Janet wanted to pass it on to another family where it could accumulate even more.

Not long after she purchased her new car, someone at church praised Janet's son for helping a family from the congregation repair their vehicle in the parking lot. It was Brent and Ruth's old van, breaking down again as they tried to make their way home after that day's service.

So she just gave them her old one.

It was a simple decision for her, but the new van has been a "wonderful blessing" for Brent and Ruth. Without the constant need to repair or restart their vehicle, Brent can better care for his wife and make sure she's comfortable.

"Lots of times people think in order to bless other people it takes huge financial gifts, [but] I was able to figure out something that was a very simple thing," says Janet.

As for being his wife's caregiver, Brent says, "I feel privileged to be able to do this."

Caregivers are all around us and they need care, too.

  • 55% of family caregivers report being overwhelmed by the amount of care their family member needs. (AARP)
  • Nearly 4 in 10 (38%) family caregivers report a moderate (20%) to high degree (18%) of financial strain as a result of providing care. (AARP)
  • In 2014, 60% of family caregivers had full- or part-time jobs. (AARP)

Maybe you know someone in your life who acts as a caregiver to friend or family member. Maybe there's an unpaid caregiver in your community who you haven't gotten to know. It's these people who need your support.

For people who already give so much of themselves to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable, help is a priceless gift.

"I think it is really important that we are aware of those people who are caregivers," says Brent. "They do need the extra help."

Watch Brent and Ruth's story in this awesome PSA below: