Feel like I've not bonded with DS2. I NEED TO FIX THIS. HELP PLEASE.

(75 Posts)
SecretCodesAndShame Thu 02-May-13 19:38:45

Long story short. Ds1 is 5 and I bonded with him right away despite the fact that he was a difficult cry-y baby, I felt strongly connected to him, carried him in a sling, basicially I was in love with him and still feel like he is my best buddy. I cuddle him and he just melts into me. I feel like I'd die without him.

DS2 is 14 months and also whiney and clingy but I just don't feel like I want to be attached to him. I do it because I have to. When he cries, I comfort him more to shut him up than because I feel love for him. That's bad isn't it? I know it's not right. I often think 'what if we'd never had him' how much easier things would be. I need to stop this now. I am so worried I will do him psychological damage in the long run if I don't get to the bottom if it.

I am having counselling but struggle to really do anything other than cry on the poor lady. I feel full of sadness and regret at how difficult things are. DS2 is beautiful, healthy, I should be so in love with him but it all feels fake. When he whines and cries I am screaming inside. I resent him for making DS1's life less than perfect which is pathetic I know.

I want him to be happy. I want to love him. I cuddle him. I kiss him and hold him a lot but the times when he's off entertaining himself I just want to run away and be in a different room from him. I can not do this to him any more. I grew up in a very unstable home. I wasn't hurt or abused as such but I always felt dispensible, never felt valued or safe. I can not do this to him. I don't want him to end up like me. He's just so beautiful but I keep thinking of all the poor people who can't have children and I feel so guilty and have fleeting thoughts of putting him up for adoption. We'd never do this by the way, even if sometimes it might be better for him sad DH is very attached to DS2, DS2 seems to pick up on this and is very possessive of DH and cries whenever he leaves his side to go to work which makes me think he's picking up on my feelings. Please help me love my son the way he deserves.

SecretCodesAndShame Thu 02-May-13 20:05:37

I should add that in no way do I want to harm him but I just sometimes wish he wasn't mine. I hate myself.

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Thu 02-May-13 20:08:00

<squeeze> people who don't care don't care, though, and you so obviously do. I'm sorry i can't be of any practical help, there will be others i'm sure, but go easy on yourself, there will be a million things contributing to this, and likely none of them your fault. and it's brave and good of you to speak out and seek help. i applaud you.

Are you suffering from PND? Did you have a tricky birth?

SecretCodesAndShame Thu 02-May-13 20:21:20

Thank you for not flaming me. I think I have suffered with PND, I did go to the doctors when he was 7 months and that's when I got referred for the counselling. I am on citalipram but 7 months later, I don't feel any differently towards him. I am coping every day, I'm not crying all the time like I was but I still feel empty when I look at him... Well not empty exactly just full of sadness not happy thoughts. I think I do love him because I feel terribly guilty but the 'friendship' I have with DS1 just isn't there.

My birth wasn't partucularly difficult. Natural birth with no problems. No pain relief (not by choice) but I was 9cm when I got admitted so went through it all without but I did the same with DS1 and that didn't affect me in this way. I just can't explain it to anyone. I am just not a good person. I am not a good mummy to him and he deserves so much more. I find myself rolling my eyes when he cries and dealing with him because I have to but I don't really want to iyswim? I'd rather be tucked up chatting with DS1 or baking with him, taking DS1 to the park without the incessant demands of a whinging baby. I know this is bad. I want to feel differently, I really do.

SecretCodesAndShame Thu 02-May-13 20:25:12

Yet when he's asleep I feel so filled with guilt and shame at how I'm failing him. It makes me feel such a crap mum. I want him and his brother to have a good relationship but as he grows up if I don't stop this then he's going to hate DS1 for being my 'favourite'. Me and DH were talking the other night and what would happen if there was a house fire (odd convo I know) and instantly I said I'd go get DS1 first. I am a bitch. DH said, I'm glad you admitted that because now if there ever is a fire I know to go get DS2 straight way and we'll all be safe. He is far too understanding about it.

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Thu 02-May-13 20:46:28

who would flame you? you're in torment, it's plain to see. there was a great thread similar to this some time back... (it's so not just you who has suffered like this)... i'll see if i can find it for you.

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Thu 02-May-13 21:14:11

gosh, i'm sorry, i've tried to find it but can't. at least this post will bump your thread back into active convos.

SecretCodesAndShame Thu 02-May-13 21:28:10

Thank you for the understanding Aitch. It does help to talk about it I think. I just feel so ashamed. Thank you for trying to find the other thread. I shall have a snoop about the site and see if I can find it.

Smartieaddict Thu 02-May-13 21:34:41

Bloody hell woman, give yourself a break! I am not sure what the answer is, but you do clearly care for both your children! I hope you find a way to feel like the Mum you want to be to both of them!

MouseSquirrelMum Thu 02-May-13 21:59:11

Hi secret
It can be done, you're not alone and you're just a human being trying your best to be a good parent. Here's my story in the hope it helps you.
I didn't bond with my second in the same way as my first either. After a traumatic incident made me realise, I felt very bad about it. Some feelings a bit like yours. After working through it, I decided at least some of it was about the age difference - what I could do with the older one was (obviously!) more advanced, I'd known the older one longer (obviously!) and so had developed a kind of telepathy I didn't have with the younger one. Also I'd been trying to protect the older one from the effect of "sharing" me, because I felt guilty about it. Somehow, once I recognised all that (which shocked me) and forgave myself, it felt easy to decide that my new job was to consciously make friends with the younger one. So I did. I made space for "just us" time, and made myself use it watching her and joining her games (instead of washing up confused). Just doing that a couple of hours a week I started to see her as her own lovely little person, and fell in love, and then she fell in love with me.

I hope some of this can help you. Perhaps your counsellor isn't the right person/process for you? In my case I had someone to talk to and then wrote and wrote about it in a little book until I figured out what was going on

Good luck, you can do it and it will be worth the painful bit. You're on your way, because you care enough to worry and want to do something.

SecretCodesAndShame Thu 02-May-13 22:31:19

Thank you to everyone who has posted. Mouse I think you have a valid point. Obviously I have known DS1 for longer and he is so much more interesting to me but that again could be because of his age. DS2 is either off mouthing and chewing everything, making a mess with his juice cup or else he's whinging. There is little sort of personality shining through as yet. It all just feels draining and not very rewarding with him at the moment.

I keep trying to picture DS2 as a little boy in 3 years time and I'm filled with hope about how things could/ should be.

Maybe I didn't feel this amazing bond with DS1 but back then when he was a baby but I had nothing to compare it to and no other distractions or demands on my time. Maybe I am feeling nostalgic about DS1's babyhood and looking back with rose tinted glasses. I knew I cared for him and would protect him but the same can be said for DS2 but back then I didn't have the amazing friendship and bond we have now. Perhaps that will come in time. I am definitely going to take your advice and make a little time for me and DS2. In fact we have plenty of time together while DS1 is at school but I try and just get him entertained in something so I can do housework or I have friends round with their babies. I rarely never actually spend time 'enjoying' him and to some extent I have been avoiding this I think because I feel guilty for faking it and also for splitting my time from DS1. I will make time tomorrow to just be with him and get to know him. Right now I do want to run upstairs and give him a cuddle now because I've been doing him such a disservice. Thank you.

It's interesting because I feel more of a bond with my first than my second (she's 17 months) but not to the same extent you say. I think it's because I don't know her yet - she still doesn't seem like a person to me. I resented the loss of my relationship with my eldest but it's getting much much much better.

I'd speak to your GP and give your ds2 lots of cuddles and spend time with him. Perhaps you've not adjusted yet to having two and somehow are blaming ds2 or something?

reluctantlyCatholic Thu 02-May-13 23:14:19

You have PND and this is what is causing these feelings. You are getting help and this will pass. Just keep on "acting as if"... do what needs to be done, smile and look at him and play him and spend time touching his baby skin. This will pass.

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Fri 03-May-13 00:39:00

i'm not surprised you feel 'ashamed' btw, this is a big unsayable thing you're saying. BUT honestly, on that thread, if i could find it, when the mum said that she really didn't much like her ds, SO MANY people came on to sympathise and empathise and to explain that they had felt similarly, or indeed still were.

her boy, iirc, was a kind of angry kid, i think that's broadly how she described him, but by the end of the thread (it was a long one, weeks if not months) she had really come to see the good in him as a person and to think he was pretty great. (which made him less angry etc etc and so the vicious circle was beginning to become virtuous ikwyim?)

it was one of those really hopeful threads that always stay with you, she was very brave and seemed so much more happy by the time she signed off from it.

good luck to you and your baby.

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Fri 03-May-13 00:40:05

(not that i'm saying you should be ashamed, to be clear. you have your shit going on, and you're wanting to solve it. be proud of that.)

Notsoyummymummy1 Fri 03-May-13 02:57:25

Can I ask how the decision to have a second one came about and what were your main reasons for having another? Just asking to get some insight to help answer you.

Try not to beat yourself up too much or compare the feelings you have for DS1. Babies are very very hard to look after compared to young children and many of us struggle. Keep getting the help you need with your PND and keep giving ds2 lots of affection even if it feels like you're going through the motions. Sometimes we fall so in love with our first child it's hard to replicate that again but it will come just give yourself time and don't pressure yourself to feel things you don't feel. Try having some unique things with ds2 - a song you just sing for him, an activity you just do together, a game you play just with him etc. You just need to get to know him and learn to enjoy him in a different way than his brother. You clearly do care about him more than you realise and he needs his mummy just as much as his brother does, he just has different ways of showing it at his age xxxx

PurpleThing Fri 03-May-13 03:52:12

Agree with the others. You have to stop beating yourself up about it. Think of some positive things you can do, like you have said one on one time and at the end of every day congratulate yourself on having done it. It is not an easy thing to live through.

My ds (only child) is 2.9 and I only just getting there. But all the advice I have had is that 'faking it' is actually the right thing to do so they don't realise and you get into the habit of being loving. And hopefully one day soon that will actually become loving.

(Would be very interested to read that thread Aitch mentioned if anyone can find it?)

MiaowTheCat Fri 03-May-13 08:37:41

I'm there at the moment myself (but the kids are younger) and I've done the beating myself up about it until I stepped back and analyzed the situation a bit more.

Brutally - at the moment DD1 is just more interesting - her personality's more developed, she's right at the point of taking a few big developmental leaps... she's more interesting compared to a very small baby who isn't really doing much as of yet.

I've KNOWN DD1 longer than DD2 - I can read DD1's needs much more clearly - it's like doing French GCSE and so having a bit of a clue what's going on when you go to France, and then being sent to Germany - you're bumbling along still trying to figure out what the hell calms and sets a new child with a totally different operating system off.

Plus the guilt that you've somehow taken away your eldest's time and love as well - that bit feels craptacular.

Add in reflux which is really wearing me down and I can understand why DD2 is still a bit at the "ok you're cute but I don't know you" stage of things. I'm just trying to conciously find a few things a day that are cute/clever/funny or whatever about DD2 and it's starting to get there - but it'll be slow going and I do have worried visions of being some kind of evil mother from a fairy tale or whatever.

Took me a good while to bond with DD1 as well - I found "faking it" actually really helped doing this.

valiumredhead Fri 03-May-13 09:12:26

You actually sound really low you poor thing, I would suggest going to see your GP to rule out depression x

SecretCodesAndShame Fri 03-May-13 11:35:32

Thank you to everyone. I feel so hideous even admitting this. I've told DH I feel like I don't know DS2 yet and truth be told I did not much enjoy the baby bit the first time round but the underlying unbreakable bond was there which I just don't feel this time round. I think if DH knew quite how much I disliked DS2 then he'd have me committed! It's so hard but all I see him as is something that needs to be pacified so I can carry on enjoying DS1 which is so clearly wrong.

Miaow thanks for responding. Sorry you're feeling the same. Maybe we could try and help eachother. It's at least comforting to know I am not the only one who feels this way. I look at my mummy friends cooing and giddling at their babies and I feel like an alien. I just don't want to sit and coo and babble at DS2. I talk to him like he's an adult which I think is maybe not right! I just can't get all gooey and lovey dovey over babies but I do remember feeling similar with DS1 so maybe it's the babyhood thing that I struggle with rather than DS2 as a person. I think I need to make more of an effort to fake it.

Notsoyummymummy1 We made the decision to have DS2 because (naively) I knew how brillianly DS1 and me got on and how great me and DH both think he is. I think maybe subconsciously I wanted to replicate that... not that I wanted another DS1 exactly but that I just saw the amazing bond and wonderful joy he has brought to our lives and I wanted to experience that again. We both wanted to have another person round the table. Another child to love and a sibling for DS1. It just didn't quite turn out the way I planned it. sad They were both very much planned and because DS1 was quite a tricky baby we decided to wait til he was at preschool before trying again. I think in my head I had believed DS2 couldn't possibly be as difficult a baby as DS1 so I was bound to have an easy time, lightening wouldn't strike twice hmm Again not the way I planned it! So when DS2 turned out to be just as whingy and cranky as DS1 as a baby, I felt myself retreat physically and emotionally away from DS2 and gravitate towards DS1 who was now a fabulous, happy, fun 4 year old. The problem is, I've never really reconnected with DS2.

This has turned into a bit of a novel! Thank you for reading x

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Fri 03-May-13 11:39:26

what you say makes a lot of sense. how can you deal with ds2's crankiness? do you use a sling? they worked miracles with my two... plus the physical closeness is very bonding.

SecretCodesAndShame Fri 03-May-13 11:48:10

Hmmmm how do I deal with it...not well I'm afraid. I do pick him up and sing to him, comfort him. I usually just try and pick him up til he's stopped moaning and get him interested in something else as quick as possible. That's not good is it? I feel like all the time he's on me, I could and would rather be doing something else, something for DS1 or something round the house. I know I'm not nice. I sometimes get snappy with DS1 for doing something unintentional to wind DS2 up because it then means I have to comfort DS2 when I would rather be doing anything else other than that. What is wrong with me? Why the hell can I not just love him??? I think it's entirely my fault for viewing him as a 'problem' and I need to think differently but I don't know how. When he cries I don't drop everything and run to him in the way I did with DS1, I kind of procrastinate and hope he's going to stop before he needs me. That is really wrong and I know this but something about him, something about his cry makes me feel so on edge and I need to get away.

barleysugar Fri 03-May-13 11:50:57

I think you're being very harsh on yourself.

Do you think maybe that what you are dealing with is a expectation/reality mismatch? You loved DS1 so much that you unconsciously thought ds2 would be exactly the same, if not even more wonderful.

What you have probably learnt is that each time is completely different, and you feel sort of disappointed. But, at the same time, you know, it's ok. It's ok to feel differently, it's quite normal to have different feelings for each child (I have three). They are different people, after all, and a different genetic mix up each time!

It's also ok, for one child to be super close to one parent, and the other be super close to the other parent.

I feel like once you accept that this situation Is Ok, I think you will gradually accept things and not blame yourself for anything.

I also wonder if when ds2 becomes more communicative and interactive whether your feelings will change.

AitchTwoOhOneTwo Fri 03-May-13 11:52:00

stop stop stooooooop with the 'i'm not nice' stuff, it's really getting you nowhere. you're perfectly nice, you're just struggling at the moment. everyone's been there at one point or another, with one thing or another, no-one gets a shit-free life.
how would you feel about trying a sling? would that be too much right now? it would give you the liberty to interact AND get on with your day, while either DS sleeps or has plenty to look at cos you're doing what you're doing.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now