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How do you deal with not being the 'first' person your DH has had a child with?

(15 Posts)
slightlyonedgemum Tue 26-May-09 12:35:43

That's pretty much it. My DH's first wife died when my DSS was 3 (he's now 7). When we got married I felt a bit 'second wifey) but that has mainly disappeared now and only rarely comes back to me (often when I'm tired and feeling low). I think what helped was him saying that he felt differently about me and we had a deeper and more equal love (cheesy yes).

We want more children but I'm already worried about feeling like a 'second' again. He's already done all of the excitement, stress, tiredness etc of having a baby, I haven't. I also know my MIL will constantly say 'when DSS was a baby, his mother did this when he wouldn't do X'. If you see what I mean.

I want children with my DH, my DSS desperately wants a baby brother or sister but, I don't want to spend the whole time feeling like he's done it before.

I think part of the issue is feeling like nothing we do will be a first for my DH. I know it's my issue and I know I have to deal with it, but so far the only way is ignoring it which I don't think is particularly healthy!

Any advice/experience please?

silverfrog Tue 26-May-09 12:44:23

The bottom line is, your dh has done it before.

I am a stepmum to dh's first 2 children. I have had moments of irritation with dh, over little things - and have said on a cople of occasions things along the lines of "could you not just let me have my blissful ignorance" but on the whole, it has been fine.

It has been very useful to have a dh who has done it all before (dd1 was art least 10 days old before I even changed a nappy grin - brilliant when I was adjusting to the whole new baby bit)

On the "when dss was a abby, his mum would do this" front - people would say this to you anywasy, whether about dss, or your cousin, or your dh, etc etc. you always get adice on how to do stuff/how not to do stuff.

The one thing I can say (now having 2 girls with dh) is that each baby is different - your dh has "done" children before, but he has not had your child before. Things will be different because it is a different situation - your dh has not had to cope with the sibling issue before, for instance.

My dd1 was both a firstborn (mine) and a third born (dh's) - our age gap is larger, though (dd1 is 15 13 years younger than my dss) so it was easier to see the two families as distinct as well as as a whole.

I hope some of that makes sense (have both dds helping me type grin)

Tillyscoutsmum Tue 26-May-09 12:50:21

Ime you just get over it.....

It sounds quite glib but I did have those worries and when I was pg (and hormonal) with dd I quite often was concerned about dh's lack of excitement and assumed that it was because he'd "done it all before" but I was wrong.... He just doesn't really get excited until the baby is here

It was the first time we'd had a baby together and therefore it was new to him. I was different, our relationship was different and our dd was different.

Apart from that, dh has a terrible memory so he had forgotten most of it anyway grin

I know it must be hard, especially as his first wife died, but please don't let it stop you having a child. Honestly, it will all seem so inconsequential

slightlyonedgemum Tue 26-May-09 13:00:19

I have thought about his usefulness although I was very involved in my Godson's upbringing so have had experience (although as I said to DH last night, have always been able to give them back)!

I don't mind getting advice from people (lets be honest, it'll be handy at times) it's just I know I'll be feeling like a replacement. I already had my MIL and DH's first MIL doing that about the wedding, so I know it'll be worse as my MIL thinks the sun shines out of DSS and will want to be 'helpful'. As DH says, she's never been good at sensitivity or tactfulness at the best of times. It's even got the point of me reading a 'green' book and saying if we had children I might like to use 'real' nappies. My DH then says 'oh yes we did that with DSS' and I then spent the evening thinking that whatever I do it'll just be the same as before for him. Silly I know.

I know that our children will be different from DSS (and DH has said this) but at the same time that causes other issues as I don't want him to feel I love him less now I have my own biological child. We want our family to be one unit, not two or even worse my DSS feeling like he's not part of it.

ellingwoman Tue 26-May-09 13:03:11

You see YOU will say the same things when you have your second and third. Don't make DH feel he has to keep his feelings to himself. I'm sure he won't/doesn't say things to belittle you.

Hope it works out!

slightlyonedgemum Tue 26-May-09 13:13:09

Oh I very much don't think he will say things to make me feel worse and one of the issues is I don't want him not saying things as that just creates a problem. I just need to learn how to deal with i.

But I do still think my MIL will say things to belittle me whether she means to or not. Happened with the wedding and as she looked after DSS after his mum died, she already seems to want to 'compete' with me. Although whenever having a 'conversation' with my DH says 'I'm not trying to compete with X'.

Hmmm

silverfrog Tue 26-May-09 13:16:27

I just want to clarify - our family is very much one unit, not 2 separate families.

It was just easier for me to see dd1 as being a firstborn (as she is, for me) because of the age gap - dh couldn't really remember much about dss's and dsd's babyhood (was all too much of a blur by then!)

I don't think that your dss will feel that he is not part of your family - you sound as though you are far too caring for that to happen. And you will not feel any differently towards him once you have children of your own (my pet hate was my dh saying to me that my opinion on things would change onceI had my "own" children - it hasn't, and in fact I am stricter with mine than I ever was with my stepchildren)

I too had the "oh we did that" issue over things like washable nappies (but, in my case, dh was adamant we shouldn't spend too much money on them, as he was convonced we would give up using them - that was what happened first time around - nearly five years later and I'm still using them, and dh has conceded that eh shouldn't have pre-judged)

it is a delicate situation, but it is one that just has to be dealt with. there isn't any way for it to be different. talk it through with your dh, and try to come to an understanding over what yuo will be comfortable with him saying/doing (whilst not denying the past, obv), and then grit your teetha nd smaile whenever MIl says something tactless - it won't last forever, and in some ways, your children will always be compared to your dss, as they are siblings - a nice compliment to your family as a whole, really.

slightlyonedgemum Tue 26-May-09 14:01:22

I can see what you mean about firstborn and in some ways that's the way it's meant to be and in other ways I don't want my DSS to see that I feel that way.

I've always said to DH I'd rather he tells me things (he didn't at the beginning and since I still wondered, I'd have rather known) but I know he still worries about saying 'first marriage' things as I can then start thinking about it (a breastfeeding conversation about my friend yesterday ended with me talking about all of this with DH last night and depressing him).

I tend to say nothing when MIL is tactless, there's not much point so I'm learning to let it wash over me, but I'm concerned if I feel like that about babies whilst also being emotional, I won't deal with her so well!

sunshine13 Tue 26-May-09 19:58:44

i think what you're feeling is totally natural.

You're bound to feel a little bit like after being wife #2. From personal experience I know that my OH feels that first time round was a mistake. This time with you, I bet he feels like he's doing it right.

his first child will always be his first born but if he loves you he wont brag about "what it was like the first time".
He is probably grateful that you 2 are very different people. Look at it as a positive, he will probably be there to guide you through things without the smugness of some mothers (and you will know what I mean if you have ever been to MOTHERCARE )

I do know how you feel though but dont forget too.... he's not your first either.. everyone has history. God, I know I made my fair share of mistakes with men before I ended up with OH now...

slightlyonedgemum Tue 26-May-09 20:14:16

I know what you mean sunshine13, but as his wife died, it means the first time round wasn't a mistake, he had a happy relationship and would still be if it wasn't for cancer. I've often thought I'd prefer him to have an ex wife rather than a dead one (obviously ignoring the fact that my poor DSS has been through it a bit)

mrsjammi Tue 26-May-09 21:45:49

Message withdrawn

sunshine13 Wed 27-May-09 08:11:00

I agree with mrsjammi... you wouldnt want an ex wife! OH has one that is still causing problems! angry

What you have is beautiful. He loved and is able to love again. That should be celebrated.

BonsoirAnna Wed 27-May-09 08:14:31

It would be immensely tactless of your MIL to compare you and your DH's first wife and your parenting skills. If she really did this, your DH would need to nip it in the bud and tell her to stop, once and for all!

My DP had two sons with his exW. We have a DD. Quite honestly, what with having a girl and me being different in almost every way from his exW, the experience has been totally different for him - quite an eye-opener, in fact! I have never felt that he has done it all before and is jaded - on the contrary, parenthood has been a real journey of discovery for him with someone from a different cultural heritage.

slightlyonedgemum Wed 27-May-09 09:29:38

I don't know about the ex-wife thing, I understand they can cause problems and you don't get to move on in that sense, but at least I'd know my DH had chosen to not be with them, instead of knowing if his first wife was alive we wouldn't be together. But I suspect that's one of those things that you don't understand unless it happens as I very much thought it was better he didn't have an ex wife when we got together!

I've never thought my DH won't adore our/my children, I know he will and I know he will never compare them or think of them differently. It's definitely my issue about feeling like a second, not the other way around. I very much don't want to miss out or ruin us having a child together by my worrying, but I also don't want to have a child whilst that's what I'll be thinking about. I feel I need to sort out my issues first.

As for my MIL, she is immensely tactless! I was told all about their first wedding, stories of them setting up their first home, stories of when my DH and DSS were in a car crash and his first wife phoning in tears, she just doesn't seem to think things apply to her (she's been known to tell me she thinks my DH's first MIL is tactless after she told me the 'story' of DH and his first wife getting together). No matter how many times my DH can tell her things, she will always think it doesn't mean her. Even if he tells her it does. I am considering that if it happens, having a go at her then blaming my hormones but I suspect it wouldn't sink in still.

The other thing is, I don't think I'm that different to his first wife in a lot of ways. In some ways we both look the same (petite brunettes with boobs), we both are vegetarian, both liked being 'green' and even had very similar jobs. The main difference is she didn't like being 'grown up' or organised (definitely before having DSS) where as I'm manically organised and have to think things through first!

PrincessII Sun 07-Jun-09 21:19:29

I felt like you DH had seen and done it before, but DH has never had a child with you. It's your child so it will be his first time, seeing both your first child coming into the world.

Men don't think like us, he wouldn't even be thinking along the same lines as you. Please don't worry about it.

I promise you when the time comes to pushing the little bundle of joy out after those great contractions, that thought won't even have entered your head. I can't describe in words how me and DH felt, too emotional and the amount of crying involved...

I hope you decide to get pregnant and it'll be the best thing you've ever done!

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