Please help me love my older daughter again.(11 Posts)
I'm bracIng myself for a flaming here. I probably deserve it.
I have two daughters, dd1 is almost 4yrs old and dd2 is 8 months old. Dd1 is generally a well behaved, bright and funny little girl but I feel like I have fallen out of love with her since dd2 came along. Maybe it's because I am so tired but I've no patience with her these days. When she's naughty I overreact and get very cross with her and I feel suffocated when she wants to play with me constantly. I can't leave the room without her shouting for me, even to go to the toilet or prepare a quick meal. She is excellent with her little sister- loves her, plays with her etc but doesn't try anything silly like picking her up or feeding her anything inappropriate! I'm thankful for that but I do find myself getting cross with her and feel fiercely protective of dd1 if she accidentally knocks her.
A bit of background, which may or may not be relevant:
Dd1's birth was not an easy one, we were separated for twelve hours afterwards and she was not an easy baby at all. In fact the first few months of her life were truly awful. I did not start to enjoy her until she was at least seven months old. Dd2 was a longer awaited baby, had a perfect birth, and is an absolute delight. I honestly don't remember loving dd1 as much as I love dd2. I'm wondering whether I ever bonded properly with her at all.
I know the problem lies with me and not dd1, but how can I fix this? I'm quite sure I don't have pnd because I don't struggle to enjoy and love my younger daughter. At my lowest points I have really shouted at dd1 and I sometimes feel like I could happily leave home with dd2, leaving dd1 with her dad. Tbh, I'm ashamed of how I feel.
I would be really grateful for any advice. Tia.
You could have PND from your first birth.
DD1 will feel a little unsure of her position and need reassurance from you because you will be spending time with the baby and not her. Its natural.
Can you have a few hours a week when you and DD1 go out alone ir do something at home together with no baby?
It's quite normal to have feelings like this, you have lots of emotions going on plus tiredness. First thing is to try not to beat yourself up over it
You could try doing little things to make her happy which in turn will help you see the nice side of her. Leave her little presents on her pillow so when she gets out of the bath she has a little gift just from mummy. A new book, soft toy, little treat.
Does she have a good girl chart? Small rewards like stickers to praise the small every day things she does well?
Make sure you have some time for yourself.
Maybe try spending some one to one time with dd1 as much as you can,making her a priority to try to build a bond.i felt like this with dd1 and to a lesser degree with dd2 as had bad Pnd after both.
I understand where you're coming from. Ds1 (3.5) gets a raw deal from me at the moment. It's almost as if I resent him for taking my attention away from ds2 (7 mo). I also know this is totally my issue but not quite sure how to fix it.
I try and get some one on one time with ds1 at the weekend and make more effort to do done thing with ds1 when the baby is asleep.
But I don't know how to make myself have more energy and patience!!! The constant why why why is enough to drive anyone a bit mad!
I feel similar about my two. I have actually been meaning to post about it for a while so thanks for starting this OP. Like you I feel that didn't bond properly with dd1, the birth was good but I didn't hold her straight away due to being stitched up & really out of it on gas and air. Then she was a terrible sleeper till she was 2..during her first 12 months I was up with her hourly. I think I had PND when I look back but at the time I didn't see it. I had a terrible feeling of just going through the motions with her most of the time At the same time I know that I love her deeply with all my heart , and I tell her this everyday (she's now 7) , I am fiercely protective of her, and things that hurt her, hurt me. But, my relationship with my second child was very different from the outset , I instantly bonded and fell in love. The baby\ toddler time was very hard with two but it has got easier every year. As the pp said , I always try and make time for one on one with dd1 & she thrives on it..and I do love them the same, I really do. I wish I'd known how important that early bonding was though
Thank you for all of your kind words.
I have been making a real effort lately to spend quality one-to-one time with dd1 and this does often help. The problem is, if she is naughty soon afterwards I feel even more frustrated. I need to be more understanding of the fact that she also has had a major change in her life.
Part of the 'problem' could be that she is so bright for her age. Her vocabulary and understanding are way above the norm for her age and I think that sometimes causes me to expect more from her in terms of her behaviour.
I've the idea of little treats and presents, I might try that. Thank you.
I suppose there may be an element of residual pnd from the first time around. I can totally relate to the feeling of 'going through the motions'. I know most people say that you are always more relaxed with your second child and therefore often enjoy them a lot more so maybe some of my feelings are normal. I don't know. I do know that I am rambling now though, sorry!
I totally know where you're coming from, and have felt the same way over the course of the last 3 months. Then this morning, DS1 was being particularly cute over brunch, chatting away, sharing his food, laughing and giggling...and I started crying because be was so gorgeous as I love him so much. I think he was probably the same age as 3 mth old DS2 the last time I did that!! It's hard having 2, trying to split yourself so that each gets what they need from you. It won't always be so hard though, so hang in there!
Omg - you could be me. I have exactly the same type of children and age gap and feel exactly the same - and so gulity!
I've found spending time with people who love dd1 a big help - grandparents/friends etc who love her and bring out her better behaviour. I try not to be on my own with just the two of them too much.
Honestly, I try to see see dd2 as more 'dull' to help me love dd1's 'spiritedness' a bit more
I try and 'voice' dd1's feelings for her 'gosh it just make you feel really sad to see mummy feeding baby - I think you need lots of cuddles too' - does help a bit
Try and do one thing weekly at least alone with dd1 that she loves - I take dd1 swimming
Will be watching your thread with interest for other ideas!
Mostly I just feel relived re dd2's easiness but so guilty and cheated we didn't all get that experience with dd1
You seem to be expecting a lot in terms of good behaviour from your 4 year old. They can be extremely hard work whether they have a new baby sibling or not! Does she go to school yet? Or pre-school? Can you get your "fix" of your baby when dd1 is not around? Could you also make sure that her dad and grandparents fill the gap a bit.
There have been long threads on here in the past where posters have committed to not shouting at their young children any more. Perhaps a read of one of those would give you some ideas re. the shouting.
Spending time with dd1 is essential. If she is so understanding of the situation, then that only means you need to be too. I honestly think she is fighting for attention because she feels insecure.
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