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I do have a favourite. And I feel sick about it.

(156 Posts)
MyFirstName Thu 27-Feb-14 23:06:57

Following from a thread earlier (I have namechanged for this)..I read the thread and almost everyone said they loved their children equally.

Well I don't think I do. I kiss or hug my DS (5yo) and these huge waves of love engulf me. I would do anything for him. I bonded with him from birth.

My DD (7yo) in my head she is amazing, wonderful, clever. A pain sometimes. But totally worthy and deserving of soooo much love. But no wave of it engulfing me. I can find her very irritating.

It must affect how I deal with them (I know I am harder on her).

And the worst thing? I experienced favouritism as I was growing up. I was the golden child as far as my DM was concerned. Recently my DSis (we are close) has started to get some counselling to deal with her relationship with our parents and her self esteem issues.

The thread this evening really just slammed it right in my fucking head. I could not say "Yes I love my children equally". How fucking awful is that? There are potentially so many "reasons". Multiple miscarriages before we had her - I know I never truly felt I would have a baby in my arms until she finally arrived...and then crushing PND followed. My relationship with parents...who knows. But I have to, have to, have to fix it. She deserves so much more. They both do. And actually, fuck it so do I.

Anyway. Not quite sure why I am writing this. Am in tears. But DH is out. My best friend is going through a major relationship crisis so cannot call her and I think it would be crass of me to call my sister. So I needed to tell, to confess. To acknowledge I am fucking repeating history. Fuck.

Before doing this post though I have spent the last hour researching local counselling services and emailed one.

I need to deal with this. I am going to deal with this.

Please be gentle with me. Is there anyone who has been through this and got out the other end? Surely I cannot be the only totally crap one. Fuck.

Sorry is so long.

Redflagcatcher Thu 27-Feb-14 23:10:07

No advice really, just wanted to say that you sound like a wonderful mum, it must be so hard to face up to, and you're doing it. Your lucky dds.

I haven't experienced this but did have PND and didn't get the wave until DS was a few months old. So I know and understand that bit.

I'm sorry you feel this way. It must be really difficult. I will hold your hand.

MyFirstName Thu 27-Feb-14 23:15:34

I am scared of counselling. I don't do emotion. I am shit at emotion.

Apart from huge snotting gulping crying crap that is happening at the moment. The dog just looked at me in disgust and moved to the other side of the sitting room. See...even the dog thinks I am shit.

I need my hand held. I am scared. But I have to do this. It has been eating me up for years - and god knows what it has done to DD.

perfectstorm Thu 27-Feb-14 23:15:45

There was a thread on here a few years ago now, with a mother in exactly your shoes only very much more severely - she didn't even like her eldest, much less love them. Chronic PND after that birth, and then a simple and happy relationship from day 1 with the second. A year later, she posted a very moving update, and counselling had worked wonders. She had grown far closer to her child, did now love them, and was building a deeper relationship with them every day. In turn, the child was becoming more and more lovable and responsive.

Like you, she was a bloody wonderful mother because she was willing to look at hard and painful things in her mothering and take tough and problematic steps to support and help her children. All of us have failures, and it's a lot easier not to admit to them, even to ourselves.

perfectstorm Thu 27-Feb-14 23:16:58

I can PM you the link to the thread if you like? I just don't want to resurrect it, given it was so personal to her and it doesn't feel like my place.

BillyBanter Thu 27-Feb-14 23:18:06

You care that you feel this and you want to do something about it. you won't get a hard time from me.

You're not totally crap.

In every family the relationships with each child and parent is different. For lots of different reasons. That was the case in mine anyway. I'm one of four. I'm sure we all feel we got the short straw on one level or another.

MrsBennetsEldest Thu 27-Feb-14 23:21:14

Can I suggest you write a letter to her ( not for her to read) putting down all your feelings for her, how wonderful you think she is, everything you feel for her, hopes for her future etc.
Sometimes writing your feelings down can be very therapeutic and cathartic. It can help, a bit like talking to someone.
I think you do love your children equally but treat them differently which is perfectly normal. They are different people. I treat mine differently, they have different needs, personalities etc.

phoolani Thu 27-Feb-14 23:21:28

To an extent, I would say exactly the same about mine. I don't love them unequally, tho, I just love them differently. My ds, 4 is the textbook definition of cute - he makes grown women cry in the supermarket with his spontaneous outpourings of love for me - and I feel that obvious wave of love for him because, man, loving that kid is easy! Dd, 8, on the other hand, is stubborn, argumentative, sarcastic and prone to meteoric temper strikes..just like me in other words. And she is harder for me to love, no doubt about it. But what comes harder is more rewarding, so when we connect, it really hits me. And there's that wave of love again. It's not the same wave, not at all, but it's just as big. We are harder on our daughters - probably because they're more like us and we're hard on ourselves. And we're harder on the pfb. Give yourself a break. you might just not be recognising that your daughter is a different wave.

MyFirstName Thu 27-Feb-14 23:21:59

perfectstorm yes please...that would be very kind of you. I think I need some hope. I have read so many parenting books over the last few years to try and "fix" it myself - I think as a way to try and avoid the counselling. But I think I have finally come to realise it may be me I need to fix before I can fix DD & Me IYSWIM. Knowing someone else has been through it and come out the other end may keep me strong.

Thank you for being kind. Though fuck of you nest of vipers - it is making me cry even more. flowers

MyFirstName Thu 27-Feb-14 23:24:12

off blush

IglooisnowinSheffield Thu 27-Feb-14 23:29:30

Oh lovey you poor thing. I think counselling could help you with this. Having recently had CBT for treatment of PND it has worked wonders for me. It's bloody hard work and exhausting though and you may well feel you've done ten rounds with Mike Tyson.

It's important to keep in mind you are not the first person to feel this way and nothing can shock these therapists, your GP could refer?

Perfect, I remember the thread but missed the update so thank you - lovely to hear.

Good luck OP, you are brave thanks

perfectstorm Thu 27-Feb-14 23:30:34

You have a PM. smile

perfectstorm Thu 27-Feb-14 23:32:08

Igloo it was one of the happiest things I've seen on MN, yep. Really, really glad for that family - and that Mum was a lovely woman. Brave one, too.

MyFirstName Thu 27-Feb-14 23:34:40

Recently moved house and therefore under a new GP (haven't even met them yet tbh)so would not feel at all comfortable going that route atm. I think I could cover the costs myself for now. Also somehow it feels so raw I want to compartmentalise it. Hide it? Now sure really how to put it.

morethanpotatoprints Thu 27-Feb-14 23:35:13

Hello OP

I think you are fabulous and so brave facing up to this, it couldn't be easy.
FWIW, I'm sure your daughter will not have been harmed and if it turns out you do have issues to overcome your relationship will blossom.
I now know that I had pnd with ds2 he always tells me he feels like me and dh don't love him as much as the others, but it isn't true.
I don't think you love your dd any less either.
You are a fantastic mum who will go from strength to strength.

halfwayupthehill Thu 27-Feb-14 23:38:31

I know what you mean.

renlo Thu 27-Feb-14 23:44:27

OP I'm very sorry you feel this way. The fact that you recognise that there is a difference in how you feel about your children and you want to change it suggests to me that you're probably a better mum than you give yourself credit for. I read that thread and also noticed how the majority stated they loved equally. What was interesting to me was all the replies about their own experiences of either being favoured or not. Clearly there is an issue of perception; would all those children they say they love equally also say the same if asked?

I think being a parent is bloody hard; we all have different likes and dislikes and find it easier to gel with some more than others, even with our own children. It's called being human. I freely admit that I have days when I genuinely don't like one of my children or both but also know that I would lay my life down for either of them in a heartbeat. You can show and feel love in many different ways, like you I'd say I'm more cuddly with my youngest dd than with my eldest and it used to bother me that I didn't really get the same urge with dd1 but I've come to realise that she's just not that of person. She is very practical, loves to draw and do puzzles so I make a point of always making sure we do those things together, just me and her. Could you find some other way of expressing you love to your dd? By all means explore counselling if you fell it might help but please don't be too hard on yourself.

NormHonal Thu 27-Feb-14 23:54:56

I understand where you're coming from as well.

DC1 is DD, DC2 is DS. DD is still young but since starting school has been tired/argumentative and definitely harder to love (as a PP has said) than DS, who remains cheeky, cute and squidgy. I do think it's natural to some extent to feel more protective towards the younger, less-able-to-protect-themself child.

I did have a tough time when DD was 4-6mo, don't know if it was full-blown PND but I was definitely heading down that path, and perhaps it's had a lasting effect. Or maybe we are just more critical of our DDs, especially if they are the eldest?

I think being aware of such thoughts is a good first step, and I try my hardest not to show anything to my DCs. I'm also envisaging a future where I "lose" DS to sport (and he will probably do much of that with DH rather than with me) and do think that DD and I will become closer then. I hope.

Contemplates Fri 28-Feb-14 00:07:28

I'm not an expert but my first thought was that there is likely to be some PND mixed in there somewhere.

My second thought was admiration for your honesty.

My third impression was that you're being too hard on yourself because dogs aren't judgmental like that.

My final thought was that I feel certain you will resolve this through your counselling/research. Reminds me of a saying I saw recently to the effect that: no one does a better job leaving no stone unturned than a worried mum, not even the FBI. I'm sure your relationship with your children will be enriched through your vigilant parenting.

MyFirstName Fri 28-Feb-14 00:30:29

Thank you perfect I have cried even more now. And ordered the book. (Torn in Two by Rozsika Parker if anyone else may find it of interest). And there was a lot of things that resonated in that old thread. And so sadly, so many things in that long, first list have parallels. But without me having the excuse of having a cranky, crying baby. When even your HV describes your daughter's calm serenity as the "Perfect, angelic baby." and you just don't get that love how awful is that? She is bright, confident, sensitive, thoughtful, kind and funny.

Right. Stiff upper lip and all that. Must get to bed. Thank you all so much for your kindness and support. TBH I was expecting a harsher response and I am very grateful that has not happened.

I feel drained but weirdly relieved. I am not a total freak. I am making some steps to change things. I asked the counsellor to phone me back, not email me - less option to ignore it. Book is ordered. My pragmatic, non-emotional side has ticks on the list. But fuck - who knew one little, chatty thread on MN would push me to do something about this - something that has been lurking for years.

I need to write a list. Of what happened in mine and DD's relationship (yep, involves, C-section, no skin to skin, return to SCBU after discharge, trouble breastfeeding including thrush, PND, "coping" rather than living....I could go on).

Thank you for holding my hand. You cannot understand how important this has been.flowers

And the dog is definitely hurumphy with me tries to be vaguely amusing to shrug off the emotion crap stuff.

I may be back (if OK with you guys).

BerlinerBelle Fri 28-Feb-14 00:32:59

OP - you know - you love and care for your DD - that's so much more than a lot of us ever got. Forget about the waves of love. The kids dont' feel those - the feel your actions. Be a bit kinder to yourself.

YouAreTalkingRubbish Fri 28-Feb-14 00:57:01

I bet a lot of the Mothers (fathers?) on the 'we all love our kids equally' may change their minds once their kids are older. smile. Imagine a parent with a cute little baby and an obnoxious sullen teen, I can't imagine that the parent is going to feel the some rush of love for both children.
I think some children are more 'lovable' than others and, unfortunately, some are a lot more irritating confused
I suppose it depends on what you think love is? Do you really believe you are harder on your DD than your DS because you love her less, or could it be because she is older and the type of child your need to be harder on.
As long as you are careful not to show favouritism and as long as you show all your children love does it matter if you don't feel as you love one as much as another. IYSWIM
I hope everything works out ok OP, please don't be to hard on yourself.

YouAreTalkingRubbish Fri 28-Feb-14 00:57:29

Sorry about typos

maggiemight Fri 28-Feb-14 01:10:15

I would say your feelings are normal. I had 2 DCs then after a gap a third, well with no one to fight with the third was much 'cuddlier' than the other two, also it is tricky to cuddle two at the same time.

I just presumed that you prefer the one which is most like you and therefore on your wavelength, or, of course, if you don't like some of your traits you will like the one which doesn't have them.

Perhaps DD reminds you of yourself when little and you are stricter as you are 'correcting' her perceived or imagined faults??

And I doubt DS will want those cuddles and kisses for much longer so you won't be doing so much of it then.

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