Loving your children differently(10 Posts)
My pregnancy with ds was stressful (bleeding) the birth wasn't as planned (hospital induction) and breastfeeding was traumatic and complicated by tongue tie: I used to dread him waking up as I knew he'd want feeding things began to improve after 4-6 months, but I still questioned my bond with him. In contrast, dh fell head over heels the second ds was placed on his chest (i on the other hand was knackered from 3 hrs pushing and said "what's that?!" ) and did everything except feed him those early months. I even remember dh loving how ds smelt - i didn't get it.
Ds is nearly 4 now, and very like me in temperament; sensitive, dislikes change and stubborn as a mule! We have a rocky relationship and I lose my temper with him too easily. I think we clash. Dh however still
thinks the sun shines out of his backside can't bear to be apart from ds for too long and he's the apple of his daddy's eye. I got a job when ds was 22 months (stayed home before then) and didn't really miss him...
With dd i was extremely sick when pregnant but the (planned home) birth was amazing and I couldn't get enough of her. Breastfeeding wasn't brilliant due to bloody tt again, but less painful and better quicker. The first time I left dd for a few hours (to spend time with ds) i had to hold myself back from going home early! I look at her and smile. I love kissing her head (she's much more affectionate than ds) i look at him and feel...guilt more than anything. I can't say I've ever felt the forceful rush of love others describe - but I do feel compelled to nurture and respond to my children's needs, above my own.
My own relationship with my mum has been a hugely negative influence in my life - mainly because I believed she didn't love me. I'm terrified of recreating this
Has/does anyone feel similarly? I already feel like a shite mother most of the time, so will just agree with those who tell me that
I think that birth experiences can have a huge impact. I had an easy (although unexpected) birth with ds, whereas dd's arrival was very stressful. She was also a very demanding baby, and of course I had ds (only 16mths) to care for too. It took a while to bond with her properly and I went back to work when she was three months partly to escape from what felt like her relentless demands. I'm not a baby person and I suspect dd would have been a lovely baby for someone else. To balance things ds was a pretty difficult toddler/little boy, whereas dd has been easy ever since.
Anyway now my two are teenagers and I love them both very much but differently as they are different people. ds is much more like me in character so where dh struggles with him at times I'm more likely to shrug off his irritating behaviour and reflect that perhaps my mother wasn't that awful after all (we clashed!).
I wonder how much of your feelings are tempered with the guilt you obviously felt about your relationship when your dd was tiny? It's not unusual to find second children easier than first ones, or to find three/four years olds trying and you obviously care for him and about him. Might talking to someone neutral about your feelings help you to let go of them?
This is one of the reasons that I'm scared to have a 2nd child
Have you spoken to your husband of health visitor about how you feel?
Some babies take longer to bond with or understand or are just harder work. However it's really possible to see all the amazing different qualities of each child and love them all equally. It might take time sometimes and effort.
If he really is sensitive like my son, this book from Amazon turned our relationship around.
The highly sensitive child (by Elaine Aaron I think?)
Misty, if I were you I would be going ALL out to make time for him and just him (no sister or dh) take him out, cuddle him ~ play rough and tumble and really focus on deeply. As you walk, run or do whatever together you will become closer to him, you will learn and understand his little ways, you will get to know him. I think your guilt is stemming from your need as a parent to do this. Children DO know who the favourites are, even if you are skilled at hiding things, they can tell. It is interesting that you had such a difficult childhood and the situation is unfolding, you seem very understanding of the impact this is likely to have on your ds. If you commit to spending special time with him every week or more, the guilt will certainly lift if nothing else.
I was in shock with my firstborn, you describe something similar to how I felt, the second baby is much easier to enjoy because you are not so in awe/shock/overwhelmed. It is definitely entirely normal to feel this way. I definitely enjoyed my second baby more, because I was less worried and knew what I was doing from the word go. My view is the firstborn gets undivided attention but suffers lots of mistakes, the second born does not have undivided attention but suffers less mistakes and has an inbuilt play mate. It evens out in the end.
I think can turn this around for your ds if you want to, he is certainly young enough to make it happen before it is too late and the moment is lost.
I bonded immediately with dd1 and we were so close before I had dd2. Dd2 was a much easier birth (home water birth) than dd1 but I've found it much harder to bond with her.
I adore her but she's a terrible feeder and I feel that's really affected our bonding.
I feel so sad that I don't have the same bond with her as dd1. She's just such a difficult baby that I feel I don't know her at all or what to do with her. I feel I've lost the first few months with her due to not bonding and I don't enjoy being a mum as much as I used to.
I love both my DDs but I have a much better bond with DD2. Looking back I was completely shell shocked when DD1 came along. She was a very high needs baby and I had friends with laid back easier babies so I assumed it was all my fault. She's 7 now and is still very high needs and has both bowel and bladder issues which cause massive stress. DD2 was one of those laid back easy babies who slept, feed, weaned and developed with great ease. I loved her baby stage and now she's now a sunny, happy toddler. I feel sad that DD1 and I just don't have the same bond so to counter it I make sure I have a lot of one on one time with DD1 and spend every night reading and cuddling her before bedtime once DD2 is in her cot.
Thanks all for your responses. writer I'm so glad we had dc2 as she's such a lovely human being, so please don't let me put you off
though I'm not sure I'd have children at all if I could go back in time
Today has been an awful day - but Monday was lovely, so thems the breaks with young kids, I know. Health visitor aware and have been getting support from children's centre and parent infant mental health too. The difficulty is, due to my profession, I know all the theory; its the practice I struggle with and no one but me can change that. I know I need to spend one on one time with ds too, but I feel ashamed to say I just don't find playing that easy. Plus he likes to run the show!
Must do better...
Buy the book I recommended earlier in the thread. It's helped me and my friends who are also in the profession.
Join the discussion
Please login first.