New baby on the way, older daughter struggling to accept.(13 Posts)
I had my first daughter when I was 20 and her father has never been part of raising her. His parents maintained a relationship with her and have been supportive of both of us. For ten years it was just me and her. I have always tried to do my best, with the help of my large, extended family (I am one of 6) and she has generally been a happy child. I remained single for ten years. Whilst her father met someone whom he now has 3 children with. My daughter has always been aware of her father's other family, and it was only a year and a half ago that she actually met her father and her half-siblings. The meeting all went well and was instigated by my daughter's paternal grandparents as I think they have increasingly felt the conflict of loving all of their grandchildren but them all being separate. Any regular meeting with her father or siblings or relationship did not materialise.
This all happened just after I met my partner. My daughter was ten (she is now almost 13) and he is really lovely and is brilliant with my daughter, and I know loves her and already takes on such a fatherly role in her life. We are now expecting a baby and my daughter is really struggling with accepting it. As I am giving all the information here, I am appreciating just how much she has had to process and handle in just a couple of years!! We have really tried so hard to include her in everything and reassure her of her position, but she is really struggling. I feel so lost and sad. I am angry at her absent father all over again. I feel sad and guilty that it is all so complicated for her, and mostly I just want her to accept and love her new sibling without resentment or rejection. She has understandably put a lot of barriers up but I would like to know how to bring them down.
Keep the lines of communication open.
Talk to her about her, not the impending sibling.
Give it time; she has been rejected by her father and replaced by his other children, now she is probably worried that for all your talk and reassurance you will do the same. Nothing is going to convince her otherwise, until you prove it to her with actions.
Add to all the upheaval the fact that she's 13 and probably a hormonal mess, you're fairly lucky if she's not having screaming, door slamming tantrums.
What's her school's pastoral care setup like? Is there someone she can talk to there? Sometimes it's easier to talk things out with an 'outsider'!
All you can do is be there for her and acknowledge her thoughts, fears and resentments. And while you are obviously happy that you are having a new baby, she is entitled to not be happy about it, as harsh as that sounds.
This may have nothing to do with her father and his family, and everything to do with the fact that she has been an only child and the centre of your world for thirteen years and now that is all about to change.
Also, at the moment the baby is not a baby yet iyswim, and she may well feel differently once it is born. But she may not, and in truth there are no guarantees that your dd and this baby will have a close sibling relationship. Even if you'd had them thirteen years apart with the same father there would have been no guarantees.
She needs to accept that there is going to be a new baby because that's not going to change. But she doesn't have to be happy about it. But just keep talking to her, and listening to what she has to say without trying to sway her thought process. As hard as it is for you, this wasn't her choice.
Is there anyone else she would talk to who isn't quite as emotionally close to the situation?
Both replies are fantastic. Thank you. I am sure things will change once baby arrives. There are lots of factors at play here, I know. I detailed everything to give as much context as possible.
I think I do want to get to the making everybody happy stage. She has been my sole concern always and I am struggling with her being not 100%. My instinct is always to do anything to make sure she is happy, but I suppose it is not as simple as that. I have to give her space for feelings and totally reassure her at the same time. Having someone else to talk to will be very good for her. This thread has helped me!
I think it is wise to look at the bigger picture, but also it's possible that your discomfort at her unhappiness may be partly fuelled by the fact your ex has other children and she obviously doesn't feel as negatively about them? But that will also be because she doesn't have the relationship and close contact with them that she does with you.
Fwiw I am going through something similar atm with my almost thirteen year old ds, but the difference for me is that it's my xh's gf who is pregnant so I am more detached iyswim. But we have had conversations around the fact that he is free to express how he feels both now and after the baby is born, and that what he says now won't be set in stone after the baby is here because then it will be a real person and his sibling and he may well feel differently (I expect he will, but even if he doesn't, that's ok too, he is entitled to his own thoughts and feelings that are apart from theirs iyswim).
The reality is that there are plenty of adults who are unhappy about a pregnancy and as adults we make allowances for those feelings e.g. if the pregnancy is unplanned. But there is an expectation on siblings to be happy because the parents are happy and it's sometimes hard to see past that happiness and acknowledge that for them, the pregnancy was unplanned too.
@wannabe all very sound advice and few home truths!! Thank you. Hope all goes well for your son and new sibling.
She's obviously worried this new baby is going to replace her, like her father's children did. You can't convince her that this won't happen until the time comes, but you can acknowledge her fears! Perhaps you could tell her you understand her worries, and that you would feel exactly the same if you were in her shoes, (who wouldn't tbh) but also keep reassuring her by discussing things she wants/needs/expects from you, up to and after the birth.
Perhaps when baby's born, you and dd could arrange a few hours a week/day when you can go out just the two of you. So she won't feel like she's had to sacrifice all of her time with you..
I really feel for your situation. It's such a close bond you have, I can understand how worried you are.
Hope it all goes well xxx
Don't forget that your pregnancy is also stone clad evidence of the fact that you are having sex. Something that no teenager wants to face.
And it is not just her that knows but everyone! All her friends, the horrible girl in 9G, the lad she secretly fancies but has never got as far as talking to......
She is probably worried that she will be usurped by her new sibling. Naturally the family dynamic will change with the arrival of her new sibling and she may think she will become 'second best' in your affections.
This is a very tricky age, even without the added extra complication of a new baby.
Also she has had you exclusively to herself until now. Hopefully she will be more accepting when the baby arrives.
Also Mumoftwo makes an excellent point re the sex point.
I can only talk asthe mum of a 14yo DD, and as a very sad daughter with a difficult "blended" background myself.
My DD has had a very tricky time from about age 10.5 to almost 14. That's completely normal - and that's without me introducing a new sibling at the time.
It wouldn't be surprising if she felt pushed out by her dad and half siblings, and now fears the same might happen with her mum.This is possibly the most difficult and insecure time of her life so far.
My advice would be not to over-analyse. The only solution is to keep talking, keep close, keep telling her how much you love her, how proud of her you are, and put her first always. Model how you want her to feel about your new baby. Share your best memories of her as a baby, how angelic she was and is, and how she'll always be your first. tell her how much you enjoyed those years with her as a baby.
Keep it alk about her for as long as you can.
Then when the new baby arrives, tell her how much you are reminded of her.
Good luck .
I agree, don't over analyse. The way she is reacting could be due to her background, or it could be just acting like a normal 13 year old facing the prospect of having a baby in her life, or just teenage hormones that she doesn't understand herself.
I would just keep including her in things, but without making a big deal of it and wait and see how things evolve when the baby is here. For all you know, she will fall madly in love and won't keep her hands of your baby!
my brother's step daughter really struggled when DB and SIL were trying to conceive. She said that because the baby would be DB and SIL's baby they would love it more than her, because she was the baby of a relationship that was over.
She had a good ongoing relationship with her own father, and grandparents on that side, and a good relationship with her step dad, (DB) but still she recognised that the new baby would be the product of the happy couple, and so thought it would be loved more.
My SIL talked to her about how much she was loved and all their shared history and how when her sister was born the love didn't get less, but there was more to share and so on. It took a long slow trickle of reassurance.
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