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I really need help but don’t know where to start - feel like I’ve lost bond with my eldest DD.(6 Posts)
It all started when my youngest DD was born 16 months ago. I came home from hospital with her and just didn’t feel the same about my eldest DD (nearly 6 at the time, she’s now 7)
I really struggled to bond with my eldest when she was born but felt as though we’d ‘made it’ eventually and felt our bond was strong. I bonded with my second straight away and I feel as though it just drowned everything else out.
Home life isn’t great to be honest thanks to many factors. I have little support with the DC’s and also have my step daughter a lot of the time. Myself and DD have barely had any 1:1 time since youngest DD was born and with the lack of support I have, I don’t know how to remedy it.
I don’t understand how I’ve gone from sobbing my heart out when I left eldest DD at my mums to be induced to feeling indifferent about her. Her behaviour has really deteriorated since she’s gone back to school and it’s doing nothing at all for my relationship with her. I look at her and feel heartbroken for her to be honest. I don’t know what’s wrong with me. I had hoped the bond we had would’ve come back but it hasn’t. Sometimes I feel better about it all than others - we still miss and cuddle and I tell her I love her but I’m also incredibly quick to shout at her but she’s so defiant.
I feel resentful all of the time and wondering I had a little more support with the DC’s and around the house if things might be different.
I don’t know. That’s probably not the answer. I don’t even know how to start trying to explain this to a health professional. I can’t even love my own child properly. To top it off I managed to fall pregnant after having the coil fitted and I’m now terrified that I’ll lose the bond I have with middle DD too. I’m due next month and youngest DD will only be 18 months.
Please help me, what do I do?
I wonder if you have depression. Please talk to your midwife or doctor. If you can’t say anything just show then what you wrote here. Be brave. You can manage it.
I think you should go easy on yourself. You have a toddler and are pregnant, I think it's natural to be feeling the way you are i.e. stressed/torn three ways and a bit shouty at the child it's easiest to shout at. Could you plan some time with her after the toddler is in bed, e.g. watching a film/reading together that she can look forward to?
IME, the strength of feeling you have for a tiny one is so different to how it is when they are older, it is almost primal/animal. The love you have for them when they are older just isn't like that. I think it is for some people, but it's not for me. DS1 is 12 now and it's changing again. I think it has to - it wouldn't be healthy or appropriate to have a relationship with your adult children where you wanted to kiss and snuggle and smell them all the time, and so that instinct has to fall away some time.
I think when you have a small age gap the oldest is still young enough to be in this cute/protective hormonal love phase but when there is a larger gap, they're not and it can cause a kind of feeling of rejection. I felt so so guilty and wrong about this but having spoken to other people with larger gaps (and even some with smaller gaps) they have felt the same.
I suspect I am not very "maternal", I have never been motivated by the whole "I love you", I do not have the world stopping heart melting response to it. It's nice, but it's also nice when they say thank you for dinner or go to sleep on time or do something funny. I have always found it most rewarding to see them grow and develop. I find the middle bit, the primary school years, TBH a bit tough - they aren't little with that overwhelming curiosity about everything any more, in fact they often think they know it all, their interests are often very childish, quite commercialised because of all the marketing towards them and not particularly accessible to adults, (ie, bloody frozen and minecraft) they can be quite whiny but still need you a lot so can be draining as well and they neither nap like toddlers nor go off and hibernate in their rooms like teenagers, so you can get a bit burnt out without having any break from it, if you don't have good support from a partner. School can help, but only if it fits with other things.
What I have found helps is fake it till you make it - set up interactions which are easy wins, don't expect everything to just automatically work. Don't be afraid to set boundaries for your own mental health and to protect interactions - for example, I found I could read with DS for about 20 minutes without getting frustrated. Keeping that 20 minute limit meant we could have a pleasant reading experience almost every day, rather than reading being a stressful experience. You want to cultivate neutral or positive interactions as these will help balance out the (perfectly normal) moments where you wind each other up or lose patience. Try to look for opportunities to praise as well. All of this helps get your relationship to a point where it's easier.
@BertieBotts thank you so much for taking the time to write this. I can’t explain how much I needed to hear it. I’d never even thought about how relationships mature and change as our children do the same.
Thank you for making me think about it enough to put it into words. It made me feel better too
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