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Second family fears... emotional support please?

post #1 of 15
Thread Starter 
Please please please... I do not want to hear any posts about "knowing what I signed up for" when I got involved with a man that already had a child... that is the LAST thing I need to hear right now.

Also, please note I'm 6.5 months pregnant and very emotional, and maybe that is adding to this, and I'm under a lot stress right now with different projects at work, the holidays, etc...

But I need help, support advice... something from someone who has BTDT. Maybe my DH is just clueless... maybe I suck at communicating properly what my needs are to him... I don't know... But, let's begin...

When I first got pregnant he was so on board. He was on board the whole TTC process! He was going to prenatal visits with me and being a real support.

When we moved it became less feasible for him to accompany me at the prenat appts because it is about a half hour away. I was fine with that. He said he would still come to some of them, depending on schedules and such.

He always made it a huge point in telling me how involved he was with the prenat care for his first, and whereas he didn't get to go to all of them with his ex either, he made it to most...

Well, he has not been to an appointment since 1st tri... he came to the 20wk u/s of course... but no more appts. Today is my last appt in 2nd tri, and the last appt he will be able to make it to because his schedule at work is changing in 1.5 weeks.

I asked him to please come because you can really hear DD's heartbeat really loud and clear now and I think it is the most awesome thing ever, and I just want to share that with him! Sometimes I feel so alone in this pregnancy because he has BTDT...

He has flipped out saying he doesn't understand the big deal in him going and that it is such a waste of gas!! I started crying... how can hearing the most beautiful sound in the world be a waste of gas? Even if it is just a for a few minutes?? I told him it wasn't fair and I wanted him to be there with me just like he went with his ex... he said it wasn't the same thing because they lived only 5 minutes from their doctor, vs our half hour.

I pointed out he told me he'd go to some, even after the move, and he hasn't been to one since 1st tri and this is the last appt he will be able to go to... this is his last chance to hear DD's heart before she is born... He is still being whiny about it and, I just want to break down and cry and give up... I don't know what to give up, but I just feel really really awful and feel like not doing anything at all.

I hate to bring it up and mention it... but it is fueling my fears that DSD will always be more special, will always be #1... and screw the rest of us... He has never once mentioned anything with her being a waste of gas... not even the 40 minute drive to see her dance camp presentation for 20 minutes... but he can't fathom driving 30 minutes to share hearing his daughters heartbeat with me? Seriously... wtf?

Have any of you that have had children with a man that already had children ever experienced this? How do you communicate these feelings without coming across totally wrong?
post #2 of 15
You are not alone, and this is a very tough sitiuation to be in! I really struggled with feelings of jealousy towards dsd adn resentment towards my dh. He also told me stories about how his ex-w (his girlfriend at the time) got backrubs from him everday, how he cooked all the meals, cleaned the apartment, etc. That did not happend during my pregnancy. He told me how he felt so bonded to dsd while she was still in utero, which also did not happen during my preg. (there were a lot of other cirucumstances at play here, but I'm not going into that now) Etc. etc. etc. Very hard to take, even now looking back on it. He would bring up test they had done or decisions they had made for dsd when I was talking about dd and it made me furious.
I only have a minute, but advice:
-remember that dsd is just a child. She is not the one you are mad at. I really struggle with taking out my frustration with dp on dsd-and not by yelling or being mean, just by withdrawing a bit.
-Explain to dp that it is hard being the second wife/mother of his child. This is how I felt, I wanted to be the one to bring him into the experience of fatherhood.
Okay-be back later-dd is calling.
But I'm sorry he doesn't understand how beautiful it is to hear dd's heartbeat. Good luck!
post #3 of 15
The truth of the matter is that you only have his word for how the pregnancy went with his first child.
I am not saying that he is lying to you, but how he remembers his ex's pregnancy is based on his perspective today.
Maybe he wasn't that great during this other pregnancy? That was a while ago and he was a different person then than now.
It may just be that he is worried/busy with other things outside of the pregnancy (since he's not the one carrying the baby in his body) and he is getting frustrated because he really doesn't understand the importance of these landmarks during your pregnancy.
My DH and I had our one and only child together two years ago and I clearly remember him becoming uninvolved with the pregnancy by the second trimester. After the initial wow factor wore off, he just didn't have the same connection with the baby that I did...I don't think this is reserved for DH, I think that this happens with many men with pregnancy number 2,3,4, etc.
Now that we have a child, living and breathing on this Earth, he is an awesome dad that truly appreciates having a child that doesn't have to be shuttled from one household to the other.
He has told me how special it is to not have to miss things with our son that he had to miss with his children from his prior marriage. It's a bittersweet thing, but I think that having our son is actually helping him to heal some old wounds of being apart from his other children.
All that I am saying is that it could have nothing to do with your pregnancy. He could be worried about other things and might not even know it OR he could just be clueless like so many other men...been there done it and it's lost it's excitement for me. Remember, you are the one that has the special gift of carrying this child in your body and connecting with it that way...he completely misses the boat on that one!
You are right, with all of the things going on with you emotionally and physically, this is a tough time to feel rejected over ANYTHING. Maybe try to go to a neutral place away from everyone else and away from your home and tell him exactly how you are feeling.
Hang in there and try not to compare your pregancy with any other pregnancy...you're unique and your pregancy is unique.
post #4 of 15
I had these same fears but after the baby came he was a great father and still is. I think men dont connect to the baby until she or he arrives.
post #5 of 15
I want to echo what others have said. I really don't think it has anything to do with giving his older child preferential treatment. As a matter of fact, see his involvement with her as a good thing because it is the best indicator for what kind of father he will be to your child. I think it's hard for dads to get uber-excited about subsequent pregnancies. Some do a better job of being involved than others, but that doesn't necessarily mean they are less emotionally involved.

I'm sure this is hard for you--it's hard to not see it as a competition or to take it personally. Just hang in there and try to find a way to express yourself to him in a way that will keep him from getting defensive--I know, easier said than done!

post #6 of 15
My first piece of advice is one you have already acknowledged... you are pregnant and the hormones can make you really emotional... I cried because of absolutely nothing all the time when I was pregnant. And at 6.5 months, your body is exhausted from growing and nurturing another little amazing person and it doesn't have the energy to regulate your emotion like it did before. Do not under-rate the energy it takes to carry a baby... you are creating LIFE!! It is amazing and exhausting, and is something you can't really grasp if you haven't been through it. A husband, no matter how wonderful, cannot truly "get it" no matter how much they try so try to be patient...

I've also learned that my husband and I think about different things... I want to have more babies and think about whether I have enough time and energy to give more kids what they need... my husband thinks about whether we can put them through college and pay for day care. My husband doesn't want to get pregnant right now because of our life today, I am thinking about our life 9 months from now. Our heads are in different places, but it doesn't mean that ultimately our feelings about pregnancy or our babies are any different.

I agree with what someone else said-- he might remember the former pregnancy with rose-colored glasses. I was married before and I often think back to things that happened in that relationship and it is hard to remember why it upset me at the time... our brains remember things the way they want to, and if he FELT involved and WANTS to be involved, that's what he will remember.

And now for some more practical advice. Here's an example of something I would say to my husband when I was pregnant: "Yes, it will be extra gas for us both to go. Maybe it is irrational that I want you there and that I am so insistent about it. But it is how I feel and it is what I need from you. It might not be important to you to hear the heart beat, but it is important to ME that you hear it with me. I need you to be there for me."

One final word... my husband reminds me that hearing MY second child's heart beat for the first time was no less amazing because I had been through it before with my first... Yes, I had heart a baby's heartbeat before, but I had not heard THAT baby's heartbeat before. I don't love my youngest less than her older siblings because I'd already BTDT, and I don't love my oldest more simply because he was first... and neither does my husband.

Good luck. Take care of yourself.
post #7 of 15

I am not pregnant (as far as I know ), but I share similar fears of "can he be as amazing second time around?" I can't say BTDT in going through pregnancy (btw, I can't believe your 2nd tri is almost over!!), but I can say that I worry and compare things I shouldn't worry about or compare to his "past life".

It's scary, and it's understandable. *HUGS*
hang in there. Do something good for yourself! *HUGS*
post #8 of 15
I think that men, in general, do not get as excited over the pg part of things, especially after the first baby. My DH was also very there for his ex for the whole pg. He went nuts decorating the nursery (his ex is not the super motherly type) and set things up for the delivery as far as having somone there to record it. He was so excited.

By the time I was pg with DD1 (unexpectedly) he had been through his awful divorce and had gone from being his DD's primary caregiver to only EOW. He was pretty messed up emotionally after that for a long time. I think he was pretty scared of losing that again with our child. kwim It took him a while to really let his guard down and feel connected to things. It took no time once she was here, though.

Try not to take it personally if your DH doesn't seem to be as excited. It isn't his first child like it is for you. And it is different. I know it was different for me having a second and now a third child. Your focus is elsewhere because you are already parenting another child. kwim It is just a different experience. So, try not to take it personally. Enjoy your first experience with motherhood.
post #9 of 15
Thread Starter 
Thank you everyone so much. I really needed some kind and helpful words yesterday and you said just the right things. lol

Men can just be so utterly different than us at times... it's weird.

DH paid me a big compliment yesterday though... he said he is very impressed with how on the ball I am with learning and having knowledge. At the appointments I can carry the conversation with my MW and when she brings up a test or looking at classes or something, I'm already a step ahead of her and have answers and/or questions. He told me I am way more prepared than him and his ex ever were and he is proud of me. It really helped and I am happy that he is now comfortable with the care I have chosen and he is not only comfortable with it but supporting me. So yesterday turned out okay afterall. :

Until later... but that is for another thread.
post #10 of 15
two things:
1) Both my husbands were less excited their second time round the merry-go-round.
2) Someone around here has the signature "to have a child is to have your heart go walking around outside your body." Well, your DH has his heart go walking around outside his body and he doesn't get to see her every day, isn't her one-and-only, doesn't get the small stories about her life. That's got to be hard, and it's got to impact on the next pregnancy emotionally, I would think.
I say get yourself in counselling now, just for a few sessions. I've seen enough marriages founder on the "he was more committed the first time around" rock to believe that it's a big one- and whatever he does after your baby is here, there are inevitably going to be days when he's lazy and idle and you're resentful.
post #11 of 15
Just echoing more of the same. I'm coming at it from the other side as the one who has a child already and it's the first time for my partner. There are a couple of things about that. One - this pregnancy feels sooo special to me because I'm with someone that I really believe I will be with for the long haul and it is part of creating a whole new family for all of us. It's pretty amazing. I imagine your husband feels the same way. But, two - I also have had major feelings of ambivalence about "will i love this child as much as i love my daughter?". I have such an intense relationship with my daughter and now we're entering new, unchartered territory and that's exciting but scary too. Of course, I know I will love my new baby just as much but it's different when you have a child already. They are so tangible. My daughter needs me NOW, has things to be done NOW, etc. That will change when the baby is born and, as I've warned my daughter many times, the baby's needs will be the ones that are omni-present because they are so immediate.

I also feel a lot of guilt for what I am able to give this new child that I wasn't able to give my daughter - i.e., a happy home with two parents who it will not have to split time between. I tend to compensate by emphasizing all the cool things my daughter has - more grandmothers, relatives, etc - but I know it will never be the same. I would imagine your husband, who is also non-custodial, must have similar feelings of guilt. Hence why he doesn't think twice about gas to get her to activities.

What has helped is to be able to be honest about my fears without feeling like I am somehow demeaning this pregnancy or child. The fact that my partner and I have been able to talk about all this has been really important. Obviously, it's different because I have the baby kicking inside of me so it's more real to me. This is my partner's first child and he's really excited but it's still me who is really thinking through things.

I would very much say what you need from your husband in terms of support. He may not fully realize - especially because you seem to have your stuff together so well and are so on the ball. I would also prompt him to talk about his feelings about the baby and how it will affect the dynamics in your family and any concerns he has about his relationship either with his daughter or coming child. He might have a lot to say and it might help you guys to work through the stuff together.

I totally believe that your husband will fall head over heels in love with your baby once it's actually here. He just might need that reality. I would really try to let go of the fear that dsd will always come first (harder said than done i know). Realistically, that seems very unlikely. After all, he will be with your guys' child full-time. But he may easily have all sorts of feelings that need to be worked through - I second the recommendation for talking and possibly some counseling around it. You don't want to set yourself up to be on opposite sides of this when you both want the same thing: a loving family, a healthy and wonderful relationship with his daughter and a loving and close relationship with his new child - relationships that can nurture all the members of the family. This seems totally possible for you guys.
post #12 of 15
Thread Starter 
That is beautiful advice, bronxmom and a lot of great insight! Thank you very much. *nods* That makes a lot of sense to me and certainly helps.

I know you are very right that DH is likely feeling a lot of guilt right now with the new LO on the way and what he is unable to provide for his DD (intact one loving home)... I hope he can work through those feelings and not end up resenting his new family because he is so overcome with guilt... Sometimes, it does feel that way...

Such as we still have not purchased a single thing for baby yet... this is in part put on hold because he wants to take DSD on a shopping spree for some new school clothes. When I try to object it turns into a "you can't tell me I can't provide for my daughter!" Which of course is not what I said... but we do have to live on a certain budget and I'm getting a little anxious as there are only three months left, which means not many paychecks, and Christmas is in there as well, and ZERO things for baby... I'm very anxious indeed...
post #13 of 15
Hopefully you will get a baby-shower thrown for you, is one in the works?
post #14 of 15
Thread Starter 
One is in the works.. but I don't expect us to get much and don't like depending on hand outs.. I know my family does not have a lot of money right now, certainly no one is going to be able to get us some of the bigger items, such as the breast pump, stroller, car seat, etc.

At my friends shower last week all she got were some clothes and blankets, and I suspect mine will be much of the same... and baby's needs are more than that when we have nothing. lol

This is OUR child and we should be working to provide for it, not waiting and hoping our family members come through... the shower is not until the end of November anyway, and that is much too close to my due date and Christmas... we should be starting to obtain things now, in my opinion.
post #15 of 15
I would be starting to feel worried if I didn't have anything for the baby yet too. Maybe one thing would be to sit down with your dh and figure out how much money you have to work with and then allocate a budget that includes expenses for dsd (back to school clothes - i totally get that) and for the new baby stuff. If it's a limited amount then that means less for each (obviously proportional - baby stuff is obviously going to cost more than new clothes for dsd) but at least you are working with a plan and know funds are allocated for the baby. For DSD, I would also point out that the time and care spent in taking her shopping is in many ways the most important thing. I took my daughter for a back to school shopping trip and managed to get by with only $80 spent, which I thought was pretty good, and she was thrilled.

For the baby, I think there are a couple of things worth thinking about. One is to seriously figure out what you need and don't need and explore different ways to get stuff. For clothes, my friends gave me TONS of hand-me-downs, which I just unpacked and put away in a dresser. I didn't get to buy them myself but they're awesome and beautiful and in good shape because babies outgrow the stuff so fast. So I'm not worried about clothes. Are there networks of moms or friends that you could tap into for hand me downs? Or thrift shopping? Then pick 3 or 4 things YOU really want to buy for baby - like a special outfit - and focus on that. Try not to get emotionally attached to stuff being "new". Also, DON'T feel bad for asking for stuff or getting stuff in a shower. Maybe you could ask family to chip in on a big, really important expensive thing - like a breast pump or stroller. Some stuff you can get on craig's list really cheap. People will want to get you stuff. And be clear on what you need - at showers, sometimes pple buy a bunch of small but pricey and often unnecessary stuff. Make a registry list and be clear about your needs.

And I would involve your husband in this discussion. It sounds like maybe he does have some stuff to process and I would try to push him to have a conversation about it. I don't think he will resent the baby at all - he will LOVE it. But it does sound like he's not dealing with preparing with you for the arrival of the new baby and you and your new family need and deserve that. You have a right to ask for that and your feelings, in my opinion, are valid. I would try to open up the conversation in a really gentle way that acknowledges the complex emotions he might be facing but asks for you guys to figure out a way to move together on this stuff.
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