Guilt over new baby? - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 6 Old 05-27-2010, 09:32 AM - Thread Starter
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I'd love thoughts or advice from anyone who's btdt.

Here's an overview of my situation with big kids: .

New one is coming in about a month, and some days, I lay in my quiet house when kids are gone and realize, "I get to be with this baby every day." But instead of happy, I cry and cry over all the time I've lost with my other three kids, and how much I'll continue to lose.

Things with their father (first three kids' dad) happens like yesterday, when he refused to bring dd to (yet another of) her school concert during his custodial time; my husband tries to reassure me by saying, "At least you know our baby won't have to deal with this," and I feel such sadness and guilt at all the opportunities this baby will have that my other three can't because their father refuses to allow anything except staying at his house during his custodial time.

It's so hard to be welcoming our baby into the world with such hugely conflicting emotions -- all the joy at the new baby, and all the sadness over the losses my three incurred when their father and I separated. Some days I almost wonder if the escalating not-quite-abusive physical behavior that led me to separate from him was better or worse for him than this; if having a father who would unpredictably grab at or swat at them was better or worse than a father who can't physically hurt them anymore, but who hurts them in so many other ways. At least when he was absent in our home, I was still there to care for them. (It's been over 5 years since I asked him to either stop hitting the kids or to move out.)

How do you balance feeling so joyful over bringing a new baby into the world -- one that you can hug every day, one that you won't be entrenched in court battles for your right to breastfeed, etc (youngest ds was just barely 1 when xh moved out) -- with the guilt and sadness that comes of having your other kids gone from you almost half the time, and feeling powerless to influence a life where they are just left to drift half the time in a home where they are loved but not respected as people?
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#2 of 6 Old 05-29-2010, 06:52 PM
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I know how you feel, and I'm sorry. My ex isn't abusive or violent, but he is emotionally unstable. He treats our 3.5 year old like she is his girlfriend, and it truly freaks me out sometimes. I feel so guilty to her that her little sister is going to have a true father, and she will always just have some man that depends 100% on her for emotional gratification. (Ex has gone as far as to tell me when I left that he will never date again, because DD gives him all that he needs in a woman... Freaked me out!) I know that Ex isn't sexually abusive, he is just very insecure and sees DD as a solution to feeling unappealing to women, since he has this little girl who loves him. But DD2 is happy and healthy and will never have to owe us anything, you know?

It makes it worse that DH and I are moving far far far away, and we will only have DD1 half of the year. Ex and I split after he unilaterally decided that we were staying in my hometown forever after I went to school, got grants, and got a job outside of the country, after knowing since the day he met me that my only goal in life was to leave. He promised we would leave, and then decided (2 days after I married him, when DD was 7 months old) that he couldn't leave New Orleans, and didn't care if he had told me otherwise. He told me this on our honeymoon, two days after we were married. Talk about emotional manipulation. That was 3 years ago, and to this day, he has "no idea" why I left him.

At least he has quit being unreasonable for now and decided not to fight me for full custody. I am more than willing to share it with him, though I know how emotional and weak he is, and I know that being around him isn't what's best for her. He would love for me to just leave and never call or see her or have her stay with us, but that isn't going to happen. All I can do is make sure I have one stable daughter who's fragile mind isn't going to be tampered with by someone who should know better. It was really hard while I was pregnant, but it is much better now that I have her here.
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#3 of 6 Old 05-29-2010, 09:09 PM
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I know these feelings, exactly!

When my husband and I first started dating, I told him I didn't think I'd want to have another child, because I'd feel guilty with regard to my first two, who have a "broken home" and developmental delays. How could I make them watch me raise their younger sibling, with an easier life? Much later, when I was married and pregnant and we learned my husband's son would be coming to live with us the day after the baby was born, we both worried how he would wind up feeling about this baby who gets to be with his mother every day, while my step-son will only see his mom a few times a year (she lives across the country).

And you know what? H.o.n.e.s.t.l.y, none of it matters. All 4 of our kids - half-brothers and step-brothers have come to feel and behave like brothers. They love each other, they irritate each other, sometimes they relish chances to be away from each other and have their own experiences, but they're always excited to get back together as the family we really are - not a nuclear, Leave It to Beaver family, but very much family, regardless. And it is an immeasurable gift to children, to have siblings.

Furthermore, each individual child comes into the world with his/her own challenges to face - whether it's poverty, birth defects, learning disabilities, difficult personalities, or tough things that will happen in their lives that they'll have to deal with...or having easy lives and thereby a bigger obligation to help those around them whose lives are harder. We can never fully predict or control what our kids' challenges will be - and there's never a guarantee that siblings' challenges will be meted out equally! On a fundamental level, the fact that your older kids have a "broken home" and your baby won't is similar to one of kid having a disability a sibling being healthy. Whatever the circumstances, you are only responsible to love and guide your children as the individuals they are - not guarantee that their lives are the same.

Your children will feed off your attitudes. Try to teach them there are things to be happy about in their lives and not to focus on the negatives and let that define them. After the baby arrives, let yourself celebrate this addition to your family without guilt. Appreciate and celebrate the family you have, when everyone's together. And give yourself permission to enjoy the special time you and your husband will have alone with this baby. It will not benefit your older children one bit, to think that you are miserable or guilty, while they're away from you. And it certainly won't benefit the baby. It. is. OK. for you to enjoy parenting this little one, even though things didn't turn out quite the way you wanted for the older ones. Let them know there is a happy, loving family for them to come home to, that they're part of.

But right now, you are pregnant and hormonal. Don't stress about how you're going to pull off this positive attitude. Try to have faith that there can be happiness for your family, once the baby comes and that you will be open to it. But it's OK that you don't yet know how all the dynamics will work. You will figure them out as you go along. When you feel like crying, think about what comforts you and give that to yourself. Letting yourself be comforted and distracting yourself from your sadness is not selfish. By taking care of yourself - physically and emotionally - you are taking care of your baby and your family.

Later, perhaps you should explore what - if anything - you can do, to change the older kids' situation at their Dad's. Maybe you need to have more control over their lives and he needs to have less parenting time, if he is truly not meeting their needs while they're with him. But whether or not you can change this will not be entirely under your conrol, either. But that can be tackled after the baby comes, when you're not pregnant.

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#4 of 6 Old 05-30-2010, 10:44 AM
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I too have the same guilt, I'm pregnant with my 2nd with dh. My older 3 go to their dad and step-mom's every Wed night and every other weekend. I do at times feel so guilty for finding the love of my life and raising these babies out of love when my first 3 didn't get that opportunity. But here's the conclusion I've come to about it all, my older girls will be stronger for it. My mom married an emotionally abusive man when I was 10 and it sucked, I had a miserable life from that point on but I'm a crazy strong person today because of it. My girls have an amazing life with 4 parents who love them to pieces. I know they wish they could have both of their parents with them all the time and having two houses is so hard but they deal with it.

I found after my last baby was born that it gave dh and I a chance to be our own little family when they were gone. With it being his first child it was good for him to experience what that felt like. Not that he wouldn't give anything to have my girls with us 100% of the time, but he gets to have special time with his child without making my girls feel insignificant. He worked very hard when his daughter was born to make sure my girls knew he loved them just as much. I also like that it gave the baby a chance to have the attention of an only child occasionally but she also fits into the 4th child mold just as easily. It teaches her how to be adaptable. So I deal with the guilt when it comes up, I feel it completely and let it move on. Then I remember all the positives and think of what strong people I'm raising and how all of these lessons will be invaluable in their lives.

homebirth.jpgMama to 4 girls and forever missing Bright 6/12/10. Married to my best friend and dreaming of the day we leave the city for chicken3.gif
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#5 of 6 Old 07-10-2010, 11:05 PM
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I know exactly how you feel, I have 2 older children from my ex and they live with their dad. The hardest part is that I live in Mexico with my DP and 2 sons and they live in NC with ex. I feel so guilty right now. It's the summer and they spend the summer here with us in Mexico and I just realized that the summer and 2 weeks at Christmas is NOT enough time to be a mommy. I need more time than that. I've been very emotional this summer, my daughter is 10 and needs to be with her mommy. I feel so bad not being with her like I think I should. DP and I have also thought about having another baby, but I'm thinking that my oldest 2 will feel left out or just not have warm fuzzy family feelings if I have another baby.
I try real hard to not let that voice talk to me in my head, but it still creeps it way in and makes me feel so guilty.
I wish there was another way to do this, so I could spend more time with the kids. I did spend 2 1/2 months in NC this year and had them every weekend. But that is not something that I can do every year.
I have to keep positive and make every minute count when they are here.
My daughter also tends to work me over and make me feel bad for not doing what she wants to do. She tends to be very high needs when she is with me. I know that she needs that attention and it's possible that her father does not give it to her in the ways that she needs it! Oh you are so not alone.

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#6 of 6 Old 07-11-2010, 12:09 AM
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Im sorry that we are in the same shoes...

If it helps you at all, I was in your childrens shoes... and yes sometimes I did feel a bit jealous that my little brother and sister got so much more (time, attention, money, etc.) from my mom and step dad than me or my brother who shared my dad with me did... its not a grudge I hold against mom, or dad, or my siblings or anything. It helped me to learn very quickly that life isnt fair and some kids get more...

But I never questioned that my mom loved me. Shes my best friend, even now... it broke her heart when I moved 1100 miles away to be with DH while he is stationed in NC... broke mine too since the last time we lived so far away it was her moving to be with HER DH (my step-dad) and for the same reason! And I was only 10 at the time.

I guess this didnt help any but man... its a sucky situation from all angles and theres no way around it, but do not beat yourself up over it!

Remember, there are things those kids get that the one in your tummy wont... like Christmas with you, then Christmas with him... Birthdays with you, then birthdays with him..

Artist, photographer, stay-at-home-mom and Marine wife. Mom to 4; a boy and three little girls.
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