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I am struggling with dd1 since dd2 was born...

(13 Posts)
silverfrog Wed 01-Aug-07 23:15:36

Please excuse this, I have a feeling it will be a long mixed up ramble.

I think i am finally going through the "grieving" bit re: finding out dd1 is ASD. I have known for a long time that dd1 is ASD; she was finally diagnosed in April.

We were getting along well (and, in fact, still are) with decent enough support (portage, good SENCo, down on waiting list for specialist nursery, funding for one-to-one for current nursery) and I thought I was doing well with mourning the dd I thought I would have (IYSWIM).

Then dd2 was born. She is now 5 months old, and I am seeing exactly what I missed out on with dd1.

Dd2 smiles and laughs at everything (I htought dd1 was a happy enough baby, although it took a lot to make her laugh until recently, but dd2 reacts - to everything).

I know I shouldn't compare them, but it is so hard not to. I also feel that I shouldn't revel so in dd2's complete and glorious babyness, on two accounts - 1) I shouldn't count my chickens, and 2) does this mean in some way I prefer dd2? (I know it doesn't, but it is so much easier to be charmed by someone who reacts to you - not expressing that very well.) Basically, I am enjoying dd2's babyhood a lot more than I did dd1's.

Thinking about it, it is exactly dd1's babyhood that I am mourning. She is doing very well atm, but when she was a baby (ie under 12 months) I certainly didn't feel the utter joy that I currently feel with dd2. I suppose I am feeling guilty for that. Dd1 really did not care whether I was there or not when she was a baby - of course she needed food, comfort and care, but there was no real connection, whereas dd2 lives to communicate with people.

I love dd1 deeply and fiercely, and will do everything I can to try to ensure she reaches her potential, but I really do wish I didn't have to fight so hard to get her there.

oh, ignore me, I'm having a bit of a rough time, especially since having to withdraw dd1 from nursery - I needed that time (only 2 mornings) apart from her to be able to give her my best the rest of the week. It'll be better again when she goes to new nursery in September.

alycat Wed 01-Aug-07 23:21:37

Don't be too hard on yourself.

I still mourned for what I missed from DS' babyhood, 2 friends have recently had babes and I still struggle with envy when I see them - alert, responsive and moving.

Not long until September and hopefully you will feel better with a little 'time off'

bubblepop Wed 01-Aug-07 23:28:11

hiya,not sure what to say but im sending you a big ((hug))

FioFio Thu 02-Aug-07 07:32:06

Message withdrawn

clutteredup Thu 02-Aug-07 08:03:46

I had pnd after ds, i was still struggling when i had dd1, now with dd2 i have more time, energy and no depression, i have so enjoyed having dd2 unlike the other 2,neither has SN just couldn't really cope, so i understand some of where you are coming from although in my case itwas all my fault. it sounds to me that you coped extremely well in whatwas adifficult situation. you can't blame yourself and mustn't dwell on the past ( i know its hard i still have pangs about what i missedwith both dd1 and ds) but enjoy what you have now, you know you love both dc the same, allow yourselftoenjoy dd2 babyhood, it doesn't change the pastjust you can be happy and are allowed to. i can't umagine how hard it is for you but allow yourself some fun and pleasure it sounds to me like you're doing a really good job of being a mm to both your dc.

silverfrog Thu 02-Aug-07 08:08:15

Thank you all for replying. It is nice (in a way) to know I'm not the only one who has felt this way.

I think part of it is so completely normal that it has nothing to do with SN - friends have described how, once dc2 comes along, dc1 can seem a lot more troublesome (and often are ) as the baby seems so easy to deal with compared with a toddler. No fiddling with htings, no ignoring you when you're saying something they don't want to hear, no tantrums etc. Babies really are a complete breeze.

The other side is that I almost don't want dd2 to achieve things too quickly. I don't want her to catch up with her sister and maybe overtake her. Dd1 is oblivious atm, but may not remain so, and I don't want her to have that to deal with.

I have two stepchildren, one of whom is AS (the elder) and the way she is treated and regarded by her sibling sometimes takes my breath away. He can be very patronising, and routinely undermines what she says/tries to do because he has been taught over the years (by their mother, who also treats dsd this way) that this is the way to behave. She has virtually no self-esteem, and, gets a very rough deal with regard to extras etc (nothing is too much for dss, whereas most things are not worth the trouble for dsd)

I can say now that this will NOT be the case within my household for my children (and is not the case with step children when at our house, but it is impossible to change attitudes of dss) it really saddens me to know that there are people who will have this attitude, and that there is little I can do to change it.

gess Thu 02-Aug-07 08:26:47

Ah yes the overtaking thing is really hard, but kind of gets easier as well. Ds3 (aged 2) is streets and streets ahead of ds1 (aged 8) now. Eventually you end up being pleased by the younger one's progress rather than saddened by it (although I must admit to see ds3 playing with a 'baddy' - a rat toy- and understanding that concept and knowing the word baddy aged bloody 2 was a bit of a case of mixed feelings!)

Davros Thu 02-Aug-07 09:03:57

silverfrog, I think your posts are very touching and accurate (if that's the right word). You have expressed it all so well, I hope posting has helped you feel better about it all. Your insight into the situation of your step children is wonderful and your determination not to let a similar thing happen to your children or the step children when they are with you.
clutteredup, please don't feel "it was all your fault", of course it wasn't.

pagwatch Thu 02-Aug-07 09:12:14

Can I also add a little thing. MY DD is 4 now and DS2 with special needs is 10. I was so not prepared for what a playmate and a protector DD would become to her brother.
DS2 is treated with love and respect by his older brother and DD takes her clues from him and from us. DD has overtaken her brother but she loves him, she plays with him and they have a level of communication that it quite extrordinary. She also pays him the huge compliment of never patronizing him by letting him win games or letting him get away with extra turns etc.
Please try to enjoy all your babys progress and development or you may later regret it. They are just different experiences - and my endless reminder to myself if that all of my kids deserve to learn from me what happiness looks like.

silverfrog Thu 02-Aug-07 13:24:28

I do feel a bit better having posted, thanks Davros. All things better expressed than bottled up.

pagwatch - thank you for sharing that picture of your children. That is what I want for mine - acceptance of what each other are, and just seeing it as a part of life. We cannot change who we are, for better or worse, and so we must make the best of it. This is the part that is hardest for me. We have yet to tell dss that dd has ASD as we know that his attitude to her will change. his sister (dsd) has never been allowed to a school function or sports match (and she was, at his prep school, his most avid and ardent supporter) because he is embarrassed by her, and, I assume a little ashamed. I can only assume that he wil have a similar attitude to dd, and that sadeens me greatly. It is impossible to know how best to handle it.

Clutteredup - please don't think it was your fault. If I may just quote you here, you sound to me as though you have coped extremely well in a difficult situation

SouthEastLondonMummy Thu 02-Aug-07 17:03:55

I am in the opposite situation. DD1 (3, no SN) was a horrendous baby, really grumpy, plus I had no idea about babies and was a bit horrified by all the work involved in entertaining them. I hated maternity leave with her. She has turned out lovely, mind.

DD2 (7 months, cerebral palsy - left hemiplegia) on the other hand is a delightful baby, so happy. She giggles constantly (well, not constantly) and is just fun to look after - if only she wasn't disabled!

Sometimes I wonder if I don't see any bad in her because I feel so guilty about her condition and am overcompensating wildly... But I LOVE them both equally, and so do you SF.

HairyMaclary Thu 02-Aug-07 18:21:54

Hi, I've only just posted my first post on another thread but had to reply to this one too! My DS2 is 10 weeks and I can't believe how much his legs move, how fast he's growing and how much he's smiling! DS1 was 11 weeks early so all his milsestones took sooo long, and he's still not stable in sitting, can't walk etc... I love him very much and his language is fantastic, but it's already clear that DS2 will overtake him quickly and I just wish that sometimes we didn't have to do all the hospital appointments, therapy, exercises etc etc and could just be a 'normal' family. Sorry for the hijack, but you're most definatley not alone and awful as it sounds I'm really pleased someone else feels like this!

theheadgirl Thu 02-Aug-07 19:19:41

Hi silverfrog, your family sounds just lovely and the feelings you describe so eloquently are very understandable. When my DD3 was born with Downs syndrome, for ages afterward I felt as though the trauma of her diagnosis, soon after she was born, took the shine off my memories of the births of DD1 and DD2. My previous happy birth memories were "tainted" by the sadness and fear I felt when remembering DD3's birth.

But she's now 6, and I can honestly say that that particular aspect of it has passed. If I'm honest, replaced by other worries! But I know too that they will pass, and that, after all, I have 3 glorious girls and I wouldn't swap any of them. Give yourself time to cope with the cards you've been dealt. I think you're playing a blinder!

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