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Help me, utterly overwhelmed by 4th child

(71 Posts)
Undercooked Sat 26-Mar-16 07:49:53

I always knew baby number 4 would be hard as i have quite a spread of ages (9, 7, 3 and now baby). Also I hate pregnancy and my immune system is always v v weak for at least a year after each birth. However I have always loved the baby stage so I was looking forward to it.

I am not coping. I have never not coped before.

My eldest DC is in Y5 and studying for cello grade 4 and also 11+ exams. She needs lots of attention. I feel awful that I can't give her any.

The toddler resents the baby and is being really tantrummy.

DH works long hours and I ferry the older kids from club to club with the baby screaming in the car.

I get no sleep and feel physically ill a lot. Some mornings I wake up and cry at the thought of having to get up and be responsible for all these children while feeling so ill.

My two eldest are fantastic with the baby and I take advantage of that and let them look after her a lot which is wrong. I feel I have ruined their lives.

I am counting down the days until I go back to work but in the past I've loved maternity leave.

Did anyone else find the transition to four real hard? I though it would be really easy as I found two to three a doddle.

Tell me some good things about having four please! Right now I feel like it was the craziest decision ever.

WhatsGoingOnEh Sat 26-Mar-16 07:54:11

I only have 2 DC so I have no advice at all, but I couldn't read and run! I'm so sorry you're feeling like this.

There is NO WAY that you've tuned your children's lives by letting them take care of their tiny sibling! It's LOVELY that they can help and get to learn about parenting. It's NATURAL for families to look after each other.

ovenchips Sat 26-Mar-16 07:57:53

You have my sympathies. It does sound overwhelming at mo. Can I just ask how old your baby is?

Undercooked Sat 26-Mar-16 07:59:51

Ovenchips, the baby is two months old

outputgap Sat 26-Mar-16 08:16:43

Have you been to the GP about how physically sick you are? Presumably you're having or just had your 8 week check? You shouldn't feel as weak as you sound. You need to get help for this. If you felt half way normal you'd find it much much easier to cope I bet.

I have approx a squillion health issues that only turn up while I'm pregnant and I generally feel awful for the duration, so I know about how guilty it makes you feel about your older children. But I'm sure all of your kids know how much you love them, and that you are there for them, even if you're not free for every request to play or listen. I had to completely miss my dc1's start at school, unable to get off the sofa or stop chucking up. She has suspected asd and transitions are one of her issues. I couldn't believe I was going to fail her by not being there her first week. She was more than fine.

Of course your toddler is cross! They would be if there were 2 kids or 4! I love cross toddlers, but again, you have to be in your full health to cope with them. Do they go to nursery for their free hours?

And I think babies get a lot more manageable after 3 months.


Afreshstartplease Sat 26-Mar-16 08:23:46

Wow, I am expecting DC4

When they are born my older three will be nearly 9, 7 and 3

So very similar to you

I'm overwhelmed just with the pregnancy never mind when the baby is here

I work four days long hours and do most of the running around after DC too, I am already wondering if I will even go back to work

I suffer from spd in my pregnancies and at 11 weeks am starting to feel sore

Do you have any one who can help you out? Family or friends?

MrsJohnLuther Sat 26-Mar-16 08:24:39

Yes, no 4 nearly sent me over the edge! I had ages 10 1/2, 7 1/2 and 41/2, the age spread is hard - I remember well the dragging baby to clubs, events etc. I did a short stint on anti Ds too. Please do go to your dr and take any offers of help (I didn't). I don't really have any good advice but things do get better, honestly. And you can cope promise xx

IsItMeOr Sat 26-Mar-16 08:27:45

You need to get checked out by a doctor, as the level of distress you are describing is not sustainable.

Could your DH make any changes to his working pattern for a while, to be able to give you some additional support?

Pantone363 Sat 26-Mar-16 08:28:05

Ok, OP I was exactly the same going from 3 to 4, I also found 2-3 really easy and was so surprised at how hard the fourth was.

I think the first thing is just recognising four kids is a lot of work, it's normal to feel overwhelmed, lots of people feel that way with 1!

You haven't ruined anyone's life, I felt the same way though, an overwhelming feeling that I had upset the balance of all our lives etc. It's a tricky time and the car thing doesn't help, my fourth is also a screamer in the car and it's a nightmare!

Re the illness, obviously you need to go to the GP and get some blood tests maybe? Are you breastfeeding? It really can make you feel so run down sometimes.

Make use of the older DC, it's a great life lesson for them and mine are so close now (DC4 is nearly 1 now).

I try to spend 15 mins everyday just one on one with the youngest, could the older one watch the baby for a bit whilst you read a book with the toddler? It doesn't sound like much but my youngest looks forward to our special time.

There is LOTS of good stuff about having four! You have a ready made gang of mates for a start! Any 2 month old is a bloody nightmare, chuck another 3 kids in the mix and it's a whirlwind of exhaustion but it will pass X

NattyTile Sat 26-Mar-16 08:32:52

You haven't ruined their lives, I promise!

I was their age when my brother came along and I loved helping out with him. I'd spend hours entertaining him and caring for him; it's a really precious memory.

Toddler is Stropping because that's what they do. You won't have ruined his life either.

This is temporary. Baby will sleep. Toddler will smile again, one of those gorgeous grins that melts you. Sats and cello and all the other stuff will happen (but not for the next week or so, assuming it's now school holidays).


Is there any way you could stretch to paying for some help? Just another pair of hands to hold screaming baby or take toddler to the loo for the hundredth time, or ferry an older child somewhere? If not, does sure start/home start/sorry I can't remember what it's called operate in your area? Volunteers who come and support families with young children. Or a local teen with an eye to work experience for a health and social care qual?

This will pass. You've not ruined their lives (or yours), you've enriched it. It just doesn't feel like that just yet.

Be kind to yourself. You're a good mum.

Undercooked Sat 26-Mar-16 08:42:16

Thank you so much for all your lovely

It's interesting that others found the transition to four so hard. I only know one other family with four and the mother told me that after two each addition got easier and easier.

I just feel so guilty for not enjoying the baby. I love babies and this is my last and I feel I am missing out on those magical floppy new born moments because I'm always leaving her in a pram, car seat or bouncy chair while doing a school run, taking to a club, cooking, supervising homework, adjudicating sibling disputes, cleaning, asking about someone's day, emptying a school bag, coaxing the toddler of a tantrum, playing Lego, pleading for the tv to go off, making an Easter bonnet that I forgot until there last moment... There is so much to do. I gave the baby a top up formula this week having exclusively breast fed the others and now I feel bad about that too although I know I should not.

And she cries more than the others.

I will go to GP about feeling ill but I doubt it's anything. After each pregnancy I have been like this. Pregnancy and breastfeeding really takes it out of me and I just succumb to every virus going. The difference in the past is that I have felt ill but happy and able to cope.

When I work we have live-in au pairs to ferry kids around and do school runs. I thought I would do without for a couple of months so we could be together alone as a family but I think I might need to hire a new au pair. I have no other help as my mother died and my in laws are far away. I have great friends but I would never ask them to help too much.

NattyTile Sat 26-Mar-16 08:47:23

Hire away! It won't take away your family closeness, but might give you back some family peace.

Would a soft sling be any good to you? You could then have all the squidgy cuddles whilst still getting on with everything else, and the baby might cry less too.

Belikethatthen Sat 26-Mar-16 08:50:31

No advice re 4 children sorry but I find the clubs and after school activities difficult with just 2 so the first thing I would do is put those on hold for now. I pay someone to drop off and collect for one of my dc's to do an activity and it saves so much stress I don't know why I didn't do it before.

Squashybanana Sat 26-Mar-16 08:57:23

I have 4. Mine go to clubs immediately after school only, or on Saturday. Each only gets 1 or 2 clubs. I can't do evening ferrying except for vital things (like 11+ tutoring). When I do a ferry of that type I turn it into a treat for those coming along for the ride. Eg while DS1 was at the tutor the others and I stayed nearby in a garage with magazines and a subway to sit in; they had a cookie and a magazine and we chatted and they still talk about it as if it was great, two years later. While ds3 does a club on Fridays I take dd 4, now aged 5, to a cafe for cake and a chat and that saves me driving back and forth and we both enjoy it. I also start leaving ones who don't have to come at home. My eldest was 9 when number 4 was born, and could stay at home for an hour or so. I have to write stuff on the calendar or I forget who needs swimming kit, who needs cookery materials, who needs to make an Easter bonnet etc. It is a constant juggling act, but it does get easier.

lljkk Sat 26-Mar-16 13:41:59

You haven't ruined lives of the eldest 2. You've given the opportunity to be loving & caring & helpful. Never feel bad you helped them develop those things.

2 to 3 was my horrible transition. Child 3 taught all the others bad habits, sigh. I'm not suggesting you have a 5th by the way! Just saying that sometimes we find our limits when we didn't want to.

Wrt how you feel about the baby... you know that saying "Fake it until you make it". It's how a lot of people get thru demanding jobs & tiring times. Parent them as you know you need to even if it's not very sincere. Then you have nothing to feel guilty about. When your energy gets back up, it will be sincere.

Undercooked Sat 26-Mar-16 21:26:21

Thank you again for your supportive comments.

Squash - I cannot limit the older children's' after school activities. Partly because they love them and I don't want them to feel punished for having another sibling. Partly because we have invested huge time (and money!) in their activities over the years so can't waste that now. And partly as I've chivvied them to practise so much ch I can't let that practise feel likes waste to them.

We had a slightly better day today because DH was home all day and he is kind and patient and unflappable and all the other things I should be.

Tomorrow we are cooking a huge Easter lunch for 8 visiting relatives so any respite I got today won't be repeated tomorrow.

RandomMess Sat 26-Mar-16 21:36:40

I didn't feel overwhelmed by #4 however there were huge differences:

She was an easy baby, I did PUPD from when she was 5 days old so she self settled from then apart from when very unwell shock. She would happily just watch everything going on around barely a squawk out of her.

Only the eldest was at school and having after school activities etc. We walked to pre-school, school, toddler groups so I could get her ready then pop her in the pram and she was ready to go.

#3 is the one that nearly killed me, she had undiagnosed silent reflux from 7 weeks to 6 months. I went back to work to have a break from the misery that was her babyhood.

So back to your thread! If you can afford hired help that does sound the way forward, stop the guilt, get enjoyment of your older ones entertaining the baby - precious memories and times, lucky them!


Buttwing Sat 26-Mar-16 22:12:53

Oh god you sound just like me last year, I had dd10 (also doing 11+ prep) dd4, ds2 and a newborn. All I can say is it gets better it really does but don't feel bad it's bloody hard work. Friends of mine who had 4+ children all said "of when you get past three it doesn't matter they just slot in".
Sorry but not in my case I had three under five and it nearly finished me off!
On the positive side they the youngest is now 17 months and life is still busy but fun most of the time. If anyone offers help or lifts for the older ones to and from groups snatch their hand off. I wish I had done that more instead of struggling and if anyone offers to have the baby for an hour while you sleep do it.
Most of all be kind to yourself and try and get any rest you can (I know it's hard).
Congratulations on your new baby thanks and copious amounts of brew

Buttwing Sat 26-Mar-16 22:13:50

Oh and if you can stretch to it any kind of paid help!

Pickofthepops Sat 26-Mar-16 22:31:58

op - you said DH is 'kind patient and unflappable - all the things I should be'. Pls give yourself credit - -- a 3 month old, three other children - your body is still recovering and you sound lovely. Of course your DH
Can be like that when he doesn't have the same demands 24/7

Think about getting something from your GP. Massive respect to you.

Undercooked Sun 27-Mar-16 08:04:28

Thank you Pick that is very kind if you.

I just feel like I'm failing at the moment. I'm paranoid that my eldest won't get into a good secondary because I'm not helping her prepare for the 11+. I'm paranoid the toddler goes to bed sad and feels usurped. I'm paranoid my middle child is even more overlooked than she was as the middle of three.

Ratatattat Sun 27-Mar-16 08:32:28

You have same age gaps as me. 4th pregnancy and aftermath of birth was awful.
I coped by FF. I just had to. I didn't physically have time for BF. I needed to know he'd been fed and settled in his seat for school run etc. it also meant I could leave him with my mum or mil or DH while I gave the older ones attention.
I have no idea how anyone BF a 4th baby. I know plenty on mn do but they are better than me.

Ratatattat Sun 27-Mar-16 08:37:03

Sorry just read you don't have a mother or mil around. If I was you I'd ask your DH to take the baby for the day and you go out with the older ones. I needed that for my sanity.

Pickofthepops Sun 27-Mar-16 08:59:29

Agree re 'splitting up' time wise. I only have two - and DH takes one and me the other for sanity, maybe he and baby go for walk and I take. 8 yr old to cinema. I was against it so to start, had it in head we had to do everything as a unit.

I'm sure that if you asked your children to draw a picture of family life they would draw lovely sunny fun filled pictures of all of you.

You're in the hardest toughest time with baby - it will start to get better

And think of the cumulative things you've done to give your children opportunities - lots of steps towards good schools, clubs and activities etc. You've put in the groundwork over the years - it won't all come tumbling down now that you're putting some time into new baby.

Hope you had a good night as much as possible. My 18 month old still doesn't to through the night

DangerMouth Sun 27-Mar-16 10:00:04

OP l had this feeling with dc2 blush Life was so easy with just one, why had l thought a second was a good idea?! Kudos to you going again for dc4. I can only imagine how relentlessly tough life at the moment must feel flowers

One thing l did was ask dd1 CM if she would do school run for a few months until l and dd2 got settled. It was a life saver. An au pair sounds like a very good idea. Sometimes you just need another pair of hands to juggle everything.

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