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Loving my second child as much as the first

post #1 of 16
Thread Starter 
Forgive me if this is in the wrong spot- wasn't quite sure where to post. Also- I feel horrible even talking about this- which is why I'm hoping to find support here- it's not something I could share with anyone IRL.

I'm 8 weeks pregnant and struggling with prenatal depression. This pregnancy was planned, but ever since getting a BFP, I've felt really conflicted and scared. My desire to get pregnant with DS (3) was overwhelmingly strong. I always knew (thought?) I wanted at least two kids, but I never felt that *need* this time, tge way I did when we were TTC DS. My love for my son fulfills me so much more than I ever imagined. Anyway- I'm feeling very scared that I won't be able to love this child the way I love DS. It feels like there's not enough room in my heart. I'm afraid I made a terrible mistake getting pregnant because I won't be able to love this baby the way it deserves.

Am I totally insane? Is this the depression talking? I can't really sort out rational thought from hormone-induced craziness at this point. I haven't been able to feel connected to or excited about this pregnancy, and in exploring why, I realized that I'm really scared of not being able to love anyone else the way I love DS- and resentful of anything that would compete for my love for him.

Any kind words are much appreciated. Also feel free to tell me that I've lost my marbles- I can take that. :/
post #2 of 16
I'm sorry greensad.gif you aren't alone though!

We tried for almost a year to have our second and it felt like almost immediately I regretted it. I was scared of the unknown, of doing things over, of knowing our life was about to change again.

And honestly? I love her so much. She's my little cuddle bug. She and I mesh so well together.

There's nothing wrong with feeling worried and scared of the unknown. I love my babies right away but it takes me a good couple years to really fall in love hard with them. When their personality comes out and they start to talk... I'm just smitten wink1.gif but I feel guilty that it takes me so long to fully fall in love with them, and I do more every day!

I hope you can be gentle with yourself and there's nothing wrong with finding a therapist to talk to either smile.gif
post #3 of 16
I actually found it easier to fall in love with DD2. It took me a few months to really love DD1 but, with DD2 I think my heart already knew how to love a baby if that makes sense. It's a bit hard to explain. But I fell instantly in love with her.

I think what you're experiencing is totally normal and pretty common but if you have depression as well then that is probably making things harder for you. Depression can alter the way you think quite profoundly.
post #4 of 16

I think that this is a somewhat common feeling (at the beginning of a second pregnancy especially, as opposed to subsequent ones).  I also think that it is made so much worse by a sense of guilt at the mere idea of being able to love someone as much as you do your firstborn. 


I had my second son about 2 1/2 months ago.  I love him.  I love him sooooooo much!  And something that is really really cool... having another baby has taught me to love my firstborn in ways that would have been impossible had he never become a big brother.  So not only did my heart figure out how to 'make room' for another, but it grew exponentially so that now I have even more (how is this possible???) love for/with DS1!  Love is just kinda crazy like that I think.  Oh, and you might not love your next child the way that you love your first.  That's okay, they are different people.  You will love each child in the way that is right for them and for your relationship with them.


Take good care of yourself and your growing babe; love your body and your baby will thrive.  I hope that this passes quickly for you, but if it doesn't, do talk to your midwife or a therapist.  Hugs Mama! 



post #5 of 16
Hi there, momma! Congratulations on your good news! What you're feeling is completely normal and understandable. Three cheers to you for reaching out here -- you're definitely not alone, as I'm sure you'll find out. I felt exactly the same way with my second, my hormones were askew and I worried about all of the things you mentioned. As it turned out, the love I felt for him was indescribable and unique. My bond with my first born was not affected, in fact it was enhanced with the arrival of my second.

Also, I read a really good book by Kevin Dr. Leman called The Birth Order Book which gave me some really great insights. We're rooting for you and wish you all the best.. Enjoy the rest of your pregnancy and the special time you have with your 3 year old. Sending along a hug to you!
post #6 of 16
Thread Starter 
Thank you mamas for your kind responses. It's good to know I'm not alone in this- or "broken", as I was beginning to feel. I know rationally that I should be able to love this baby-- I keep telling myself I'm not the first woman to have more than one kid!!-- but this pregnancy has just been so much harder than DS's that I often sink into fear and doubt. I'm hoping the hormones will begin to stabilize soon so that I can feel normal again. It does make me feel much better knowing that other women have had these fears and gone on to have strong bonds with their babies.
post #7 of 16
Originally Posted by Mama505 View Post

So not only did my heart figure out how to 'make room' for another, but it grew exponentially so that now I have even more (how is this possible???) love for/with DS1!  Love is just kinda crazy like that I think. 

YES! Very well put.

post #8 of 16

Quite frankly, I never loved dd2 as a baby as much as I had loved dd1.  Sure, I loved her.  I wasn't angry about her.  I cuddled with her, nursed her, loved having her around.  But I wasn't head-over-heels in love with dd2 as a baby.  Maybe I was exhausted (I was.).  Maybe she just wasn't as button-cut as my first (She wasn't).  But she did have a winning personality.  She was bright, curious, precocious.  


Still.... 18 months, still didn't love her quite so thoroughly up down and sideways as dd1.  Then I sort of forgot about it.  Stopped feeling guilty about it.  And at some point, when I looked at a picture of her sweet smile light up her face, her curls, her fun imagination and her curiosity about everything, I realized some where along the road, I finally had fallen in love with her.  I just lost track of right when it happened, but I'd say it took about 3 years!

post #9 of 16

I had these same feelings, and it's totally normal to have them. I have heard other women express the same thing. :-)


I love each of my kids for what makes them unique. Each has a totally different set of personalities, talents, and challenges. I love one for certain things, and and I love the other one for other things. But the level of love is the same. 

post #10 of 16
In your first pregnancy there is also the excitement over experiencing something for the first time. The second time around you are already busy and tired.

I was so happy about the pregnancy the first time. The second time I worried about everything and felt quite pessimistic. It was very strange. But I love my little ones just as much as my first. Hang in there.
Edited by Springshowers - 11/16/13 at 7:03pm
post #11 of 16
Thread Starter 
Yes springshowers! (I would quote, but I'm on my phone and haven't figured out how to do that.) Your post really hit home. With DS's pregnancy, I was so excited about the whole experience. I couldn't wait to get the round belly and experience birth and breastfeeding and all the rest. This time I'm just scared. I know now how hard it can be. I had a great home birth, DS was a nursing champ-- all in all, things were great. But I was still an exhausted, burnt out mess for 2.5 years and I'm afraid to go back there. I think those memories are stronger right now, while I'm feeling sick and fighting depression. (I conveniently forgot about the challenges of the early years while we were TTC.) My fear and lack of excitement have caught me off guard- it makes me feel guilty, especially since everyone is so excited for me. I try to remind myself that I can learn from my experience and do things differently this time to prevent reaching the point of exhaustion I did when DS was little.
post #12 of 16
I did so many things differently the second time. The experience of the first really does help. I never experienced the extreme tiredness with my second. I was smarter about getting sleep where I could and did less when needed.

It sounds like you are starting to understand how you are feeling and accept it is okay to feel like you are. That is a huge step.

Hugs to you. It is going to be fine!
post #13 of 16

I've felt the same kind of thing... particularly when I found out the baby in progress is a boy. I think I'd wanted another girl. And my daughter is such an awesome kid it's hard to imagine loving another one as much. But people have told me that this is normal, and I am trying to remember that I wasn't super-thrilled when I was pregnant with my daughter either. I was glad to be pregnant but didn't really enjoy being pregnant and didn't feel that connected with the baby until after she was actually born. So I'm just going to believe that it will be the same thing this time, and that as I get to know this child as a unique individual the boy/girl thing won't matter after all, since gender is such a small part of who a person is anyway. 

post #14 of 16
First off, I believe we can control our actions, but not our emotions. Our emotions come from somewhere deep/primal and we simply aren't responsible for how we feel, only what we do/say. So worst case scenario you don't feel the same about your second child but as long as you show her love, keep her safe and never purposefully pass her over in favour of your first, there's nothing to feel guilty about. Your actions are where guilt could be appropriate.
Now, I honestly don't think you'll love your second any less. I think the ladies above really had some amazing perspective for you. I was stressed when I found out I was expecting #2. We were going to try for a babe in March but she cropped up in October at a time I was convinced I couldn't get pregnant. I really wanted to nurse my first to 2.5 at least but try as I might, between the pain, aversion and huge dip in supple, she completely stopped right after her second birthday. I felt SO guilty, like I was taking away nutrition, comfort, you name it, from my then 18 month old. I felt like I was choosing baby over my toddler and that my irresponsible antics have ruined her childhood. I actually got to a really dark place of self loathing. I'm so grateful that there is a counselling centre set up in town with a focus on reproduction related mood problems in women. I had counselling which helped a lot but ultimately it was hormones and I didn't really recover until about 3 months pp. the good news was though that as soon as I held my sweet baby girl, I was flooded with a relief. It was worth it. It wasn't 100% head over heals right away but I loved her the second I met her. She's 4 months old now and every day I love her more - just like every day I love my 2.5 year old more. They're both amazing little girls and I wouldn't change a thing. One thing that really helped was when the older started taking a big interest in baby and I realized I didn't take anything away from her but gave her a lifelong gift: a sister <3
post #15 of 16
And yes, being pregnant with #2 is so much harder! Chasing a toddler with morning sickness - ugh! I swear it was: "Congratulations!", then the 20wk US, then my water broke. Felt like a month lol. I was in survival mode and really only connected with baby to say "why didn't you kick this afternoon?!" While trying to fall asleep.
post #16 of 16
These are very normal feelings, and you will feel silly about them later smile.gif I have been through them and been on the other side of them. You WILL love baby #2 as much. Differently, maybe, but definitely as much. I have 4 babies now, ranging from age 12 to age 18 months, and I love them all in very different ways, for different reasons, but my life would have a huge gaping hole if any one of them was gone. I promise your heart has plenty of room.
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