Mothering Forum banner
1 - 19 of 19 Posts

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,210 Posts
Discussion Starter · #1 ·
Can't really believe this has come to pass, but my greatest fear about having a second baby has come true . . . I have fallen out of love with my ds1, who up until 11.5 wks ago was the love of my life. And now I feel like I can't even *see* him anymore . . . like I know he's in there, but all I see when I look at him is this annoying little nudge of a person whose main goal in life is to harrass my baby and drive me batty. He knows I feel this way, too. It is heartbreaking to see him notice my heavy sighs, and he calls me on even the slightest edge in my voice. Then of course there are the "you don't love me's" which come all day long. At first I cried when he said this; now I am scared to death that I DON'T love him anymore and that it won't come back!

The main thing keeping me from panicking outright is that I feared I would fall out of love with dh (my h.s sweetheart and soulmate) once our first baby arrived, and sure enough, I did! I lost ALL interest in him for several months (I've talked about this with many of you here) but gradually warmed back up over the course of that first year until we were closer than ever. The good news is that our marriage did not take that hit with Baby #2, BUT (and what a horrible BUT) my relationship with my precious son did! And he's only THREE YEARS OLD!!! Can his self-esteem weather my ambivalence?!? WHEN will I fall back in love with HIM?!?!

Help me out here, Mamas, cause as much I have devoted my life to my firstborn, I cannot belive that I find myself here now. Any words of wisdom you can share?
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,329 Posts

If you want to love him, you will love him. I haven't ever experienced anything to that degree, so I can't say I've BTDT. It sounds like a detachment issue w/ your history, which could be a serious thing. So, I hope for your families sake that you can resolve this one your own, the mind is a very powerful thing.

My ds1 was 3 when ds2 came along. Ds1 was such a big little helper and he was so sweet. Ds2 was 23mo when dd came along and he can be sweet and can be so mean. So, I totally get the "hurting my baby" thing. Try saying "hurting his brother/sister" instead, so it isn't a me statement.

I find it very helpful to look into my dc faces and really look at them. I like to do this when they are not looking at me. I really get the warm fuzzies. Each one is so special and so dear, ds1 is my sensitive boy, ds2 is my distructive one, and dd is my angle.

I also love to look at their baby pictures, it reminds me of each of their infancies and reminds me of how deeply I felt about each one of them then. I still feel this way, but sometimes I have trouble showing them that each one is still loved deeply. It inspires me to do something special for each of them individually.

3 can be a great age. They can communicate their needs and wants. They can begin learning about being an important part of the family with responsiblities (such as picking up laundry, folding the dish towels).

Your 3 yr old probably feels a bit left out right now and I dare say he is really wanting mommy attention. I had a c/s w/ ds2 and when we got home from the hospital I was exhausted and in pain. That evening my ds1 wanted me to read him a story. I'd been away for 4 nights and now I was home with a new person. I knew I needed to read that story no matter how tired I was b/c if I didn't he would resent his brother and me and I couldn't ever repair that. So, I read the book in my exhaustion, fortunately I know it by heart.

Maybe you could sit down w/ ds and look at his baby pictures together and then do something special. It's hard on 1st child when siblings arrive. If you can doing loving things, then you can learn to feel the love as well. I think it is important to not let him in on your emotions, you can show love by doing things w/ him and being interactive w/ him. He needs to know you love him even if you can't feel that right now.

HTH a little.
 

·
Premium Member
Joined
·
22,696 Posts
I had the post partum experience of having to fake it. All my focus went to the new baby and I felt like everyone else in the family could just fall away. That only lasted a few weeks or a month or so then how we four would fit together started to gel. I had to go back to the old trick that I used in the past before I ever had kids where I imagined how I'd feel if the person died, then I realized how much I loved my family.

Part of what made things easier for me was that my dd was older and is in school, so I have absence to make the heart grow fonder.
Then when she comes home and tells me stuff, I realize how she is changing and growing and will only be this age for a tiny while just like my baby. I've also viewed movies of her as a baby and toddler which reminds me of what she was like as a baby.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
3,082 Posts
My advice may seem overly simple, but it has worked well for me. I have 4 children and have had these issues off and on through the years (And not just when there's a new baby. When you have several kids, usually someone's in a not too desirable phase while another is being particularly adorable.)
My advice is to act as if he's your only child and you love him to death. Hug him every time you are near him. Tell him you love him often. Count to 10 before reacting to any troubling behavior, and force yourself to react appropriately, and not out of anger. Try to say yes at least twice as often as you say no, and try to include him in anything you can.
This works surprisingly well. Eventually, your feelings follow your actions. Same if you are having a bad day, but determine to wear a smile, eventually you start to feel happier.
I try to remember every day that my children didn't choose to have 4 kids in the house - I did. Therefore, I try to act toward each one as if they are the only child I'll ever have. Obviously, this doesn't always work. The older ones sometimes have to wait when a baby needs nursed or similar, but they certainly feel better if they know I love them and will focus on them as soon as I can.
Also, setting aside a little time a day just for your firstborn helps, too. Maybe eat breakfast together while the little one naps, or play with him in his bath, or something that you try to do just with him. Sometimes that little bit of time to reconnect with you goes a long way toward helping behavior the rest of the day.
Good luck - it really is possible to love more than one child, and these phases come and go. I don't think it's at all wrong or unnatural to feel that way, but it's I think it is important to try to act how you wish you felt while you are waiting for the feelings to even out again!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
2,984 Posts
I like doctorjen's advice.

I don't have anything to add really.
:

My almost 5 year old told me yesterday that he loves his baby sister slightly more than he loves me. He loves her SO MUCH (which is great, but I find myself dealing with irritating behaviors too), but that was irritating to hear.
: So I guess it goes both ways.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,474 Posts
I agree with Doctorjen also.

Cant say i struggled with this issue when my kids were small....when my second was born, i was actually really enjoying my first (she was 3) truly and deeply ...i hadn't enjoyed her as an infant. However, as she got older, i feared i....well...didnt like her! I knew i loved her, but she rubbed me the wrong way, simply by being herself. I am being brutally honest here, but things changed because i did. All my kids are loved equally, i would die for anyone of them, but sometimes personalities do clash, and things can get hairy. But i look at baby pictures, take out their tiny baby clothes, and sometimes sniff an old binky.....

Each child is an individual to be loved and respected for who they are. Its just that sometimes it takes a bit of effort on our part.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
5,018 Posts
I can TOTALLY relate to that feeling. I will share a little story about something that happened when I was feeling that way. I feel like I can because you are being so candid. I have posted it before but it seems to fit.
I was sitting on the edge of my bed holding the new baby. My older son came in and hit the baby. Without a moment's thought, I struck my older son in the head (open hand). It was kind of a pivotal moment for us. He was naturally incredibly upset and shocked. I was overwhelmed with guilt and disgust in myself. Yuck. It makes me feel like puking just thinking about it. But I understand it more now that time has passed. With a new baby, our instincts are to protect them and sometimes that instinct can blind us. We need to focus on the new baby. It is vital for the baby's imprinting and development. Gee, I hope this doesn't sound like I'm recommending you hit your firstborn.
Body language was my saviour. Whenever I nursed the baby, I always held out an arm to invite DS1 to come for a cuddle. Even though it was totally uncomfortable for me a lot of the time. Even though all I wanted to do was stare at the baby's face. I did fake it and I *know* it paid off.
I've been out alone with my older son maybe three times since his brother was born. I wish it was more often but I remember the first time so clearly. I suddenly got to see him in relation to the big, big world and realized how very small he really is. My heart melted and I fell in love all over again.
Which brings me to my last thought. Size. It may sound simple and even trite but I really think it plays a part. The first baby is so little and perfect. You get used to gazing at his mini face all day and night. His perfect skin, his downy hair, his baby smell. In walks poor Dad with his HUGE face and his 5 O'clock shadow, and his smell of man and world. It's enough to turn anyone off for a while. Until you adjust to the contrast like walking from the sunshine to a darkened room. Bingo, you find a way to be in love with them both. Then the next baby comes and you've already been through this adjustment with your husband. But suddenly your 1st child seems so big. Physically and emotionally. Just hard to fit in. Like you did before, you adjust your lenses. And it all clicks together.
I did go through those feelings you described...my advice in a nutshell: Fake it till Ya make it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
9,825 Posts
Yes, it will come back. I've gone through periods with all of my kids (and my DH!) where I felt more and less loving with them. It changes and evolves over time.

I suspect that your child will weather this storm just fine, as long as you ACT loving even though you're not feeling that way.

I've been reading lots of adoption literature lately (we're going to be adopting in the next year or two). And one of the snipets I keep running across is this:
"you need to act loving long before you feel loving" with a new child (this is especially true with children adopted at older ages). Although you may not have a strong bond, it is possible to (re)form a strong bond if you work hard at it.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
I've been through that too at times. I don't know about faking it. I don't think I could do that. But I'm with the spending time alone with your oldest. It's difficult with a new babe, but maybe you can run to the shops with him while dh looks after baby, and as a "big boy" let him choose something. Or get him to help you with chores while the baby sleeps. That way he can feel and be special because he is so capable.

And yes, try and be as available as possible to him while also nursing the baby. I used to love napping in the afternoons with one ds on either side of me. Perhaps you could all snuggle together while you read him a story.

The other thing is to pre-empt his demands when you feel like doing something with him (or cuddling, or something) so that he is less needy with you and therefore you get less riled with him.

And while I'm about it (!) get him to help look after the baby as much as possible. At least that way you can help him to build a relationship with the baby, instead of just you building one which excludes him. He will feel great if he knows you trust him to hold the baby or do certain other jobs by himself.

Visualise and be confident that it will pass.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,210 Posts
Discussion Starter · #10 ·
Thanks for the support and all the good ideas, Mamas. I must say that I find it hugely comforting to hear that many of you have BTDT, and that I'm not some kind of emotional cripple for not being able to be in love with both boys all the time, from the outset. I agree that we are biologically programmed to focus on our newborns, and frankly, if we hadn't been SO AP all along, I do believe that my oldest would be FAR more independent by now (and DEFINITELY in preschool) and I'd have much more emotional (and actual) distance from him in order to just "be" with my baby. And of course APing the new baby is very intense, in the sense that I respond to ALL his needs and his needs come first, so that if I'm having "big boy and Mommy time" and the baby needs to nurse, Baby gets to nurse. Not to mention that I'm holding and slinging him all day, so it has been QUITE an adjustment for ds1.

And not to "yes, but" all your great suggestions, but I'm either already doing them (like having ds1 help with ds2, reading books to ds1 while nursing, snuggling with ds1 the MINUTE ds2 can be put down) OR they are actually not doable right now (like leaving the house without baby or having ds2 nap on his own). But I also found this to be comforting, bc it means I've already come up with some good coping skills and really am just doing the best that can be done right now.

And I love all your ideas about faking it and re-framing things . . . I thought of you guys when dh and I watched a movie this weekend with some touching scenes of childhood and I realized that this is ds1's ONLY childhood and that he is still SO little. It did help me to reconnect with that lovey feeling.

Of course all it takes is one bad night to set me back, but I'm working on it, I really am!

Thanks to all of you for your thoughtful replies and empathy. Just being able to come here and be honest about the challenges we're facing means SO much, and really seems to be more than 50% of the solution!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,306 Posts
i have no advice specific to having more than one child, but i will say that faking it until you make it works WONDERS for me in ALL aspects of life. LOL if i'm feeling tired, i pretend i'm ready to run a marathon and it perks me up. if i'm sad, i pretend i'm the happiest mama on the planet. it's bizarre but it works! hang in there...i hope it gets better!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
1,167 Posts
Quote:

Originally Posted by Breathe
Can't really believe this has come to pass, but my greatest fear about having a second baby has come true . . . I have fallen out of love with my ds1, who up until 11.5 wks ago was the love of my life. And now I feel like I can't even *see* him anymore . . . like I know he's in there, but all I see when I look at him is this annoying little nudge of a person whose main goal in life is to harrass my baby and drive me batty.
oh yeah. yep. uh huh.

i came home from the hospital with the new babe, and i was greeted by this gigantic person with fingers the size of sausages!! where was my ds1?????

it is now 10 months later, and we are still adjusting. some days are great. others....well...we are going through a difficult time (don't know if it is the "new baby" or being 3).

when a new family member comes along, the prior relationships are changed forever.

but i know ds1 and i will be close again. i'm willing to wait it out.

good luck mama!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
8,109 Posts
hey e, i just found this thread. i certainly know what you're talking about. i think you got lots of good advice. just wanted to commiserate. i find that a little mommy & older sib time does help as does a little time alone for mommy. i have found that i have a limited amount of patience. poor dd1. i used to have soooo much patience with her, but as she got older and more defiant and dd2 came along i just burn out really quickly, but at least i'm starting to recognize the signs and can sometimes ward off a potential mommy tantrum by getting us out of the house and doing something else. dd1 is being really sweet at the moment and times like this when i can hear her little voice as she narrates her activities in another room it just makes my heart smile. when she's screeching like a banshee about dd2 being too close or wanting to play with a toy it's more difficult, but we're all working on it. i do agree with whichever PP mentioned looking at them when they're sleeping. also looking at them when they're standing near dad and you're across the room and can see how small they really are has always helped me.

hth and talk soon, really!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,146 Posts
I'm bawling reading all your posts. I was sure it was either just me that was skrewed up or DD is really the exorcist.
She's driving me nuts and all the sudden since Cole was born I just cannot stand it. I know her behavior is about attention and her place in our house and all that... I do, but the worse she acts the less I want to spend the extra time and devote myself to her. It's hard to fake it when you really wanna wring their neck!

But, I'm going to try it and try HARD. I've tried everything else and nothing is changing. She's been doing thing thing for the last YEAR that makes me nuts. She says "I think I said a bad word!" ALL THE TIME. She never actually SAYS a bad word. This is just another thing she does to either make me nuts or get attention. I've tried explaining how good behavior gets good attention and bad behavior does not. She doesn't get it. She's 5. I'm SO short fused and scream alot. Ive found myslef saying things to her that I hate myslef for immediatly after the words leave my mouth. She's spending MUCh of her time in her room, outside or doing arts and crafts at the kitchen table. If she's in the living room she's bugging me to tears.

I feel EXACTLY like you do!

Strange thing is that I'm still as loving and interested in my 2 yo dd. I can't spend as much time with her as I used to but I miss her and wish I could. She's disabled and very infant like and doesn't have any unpleasant behavior.

I'm scared that I will never like her again. I know *I* am only making her behavior worse by how I obviously feel about her right now. She pushes my buttons and I fly off the handle jsut like she intended.

Oh that's the other thing... she is constantly yelling out from the other roon or right next to me, things that she is NOT doing. SHe's sitting at the table right now yelling that she moved the bananna tree. I don't give a shit!!!

I'm licking my hand....

I touched my sister....
I touched a book....
I picked my nose and wiped it on your carpet...
I did that bad word thing again...
I peed in my panties a little...
I stepped on Megs blanket..
I just wiped snot on my sleeve.

My older sister noticed this behavior over CHristmas and it even drove her nuts until she didn't want to be around her at all.

WHat the hell do you do about THAT? I've tried ignoring it. She insists that I hear her. If I ignore her, sometimes she will walk right up to my face and repeat herself asking if I can hear her.

I love your post doctorjen. I know this is a bad way to feel but knowing it's somewhat normal helps SO much!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
296 Posts
my~hearts~light, I feel for you. It tends to be my older ds I have trouble with. I think partly because I expect more from him. I have to say that 1:1 time works wonders if you casn get the time to do something special with your dd that you couldn't normally do with the others. I guess it's difficult for you to get much time away from the baby, but maybe even a walk down the street, or a visit to the store together. Or when someone else is around, leavethem with the baby in the other room and play a game with your dd that reminds you of how interesting and capable she is.

Giving her some special things because of her age is also good. Like make it clear she goes to be later than the others, she gets to help out with special chores, etc.

But most of all, remember it will pass and things will be ok again eventually.
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,401 Posts
Isn't it amazing, how someone you thought was SOOOO perfect just weeks ago you now see as someone soooooo irritating? My goodness, was this kid always like this?

Never fear. It's just those new mommy hormones (or at least, that's what I blamed) kicking in.

Yep, I have looked at one of mine, from time to time, and thought, YIKES, this kid's just making me nuts.

For me the worst was when I had the twins. They were #4 and 5. I was overwhelmed at the thought of having two perfect litle lives to care for, along with their sibs.

Then the bad thing happened! I looked at one of them and fell head over heels. ONE of them! I was aghast! Maybe I wasn;t a good enough mother to love two babies at the same time?!

A few days later, the feeling hit again. Only it was the other. The firsst was suddenly red-faced and demanding!

After a few more days, I realized that my overloaded system was doing it's best to handle two, and I was falling in love with each, a bit at a time. NOw of course, I loved them both from before birth, but falling in love was different. And then I had a week or two of thinking my then 2 yo was teh perfect one and these two interlopers were making a mess and a lot of noise!

DH? What DH? Oh, him. Yeah. But he sure is hot now!

Take your son out for a few hours, alone. Make time to spend with just him. He'll do somthing cute, or funny, or silly, and your heart will just flip.

In the meantime, keep the babe out of reach, so he can't aggravate him/her. Take a nap, sleep makes everyone seem better! Give him a hug and relax. IT WILL work out. Time is the answer. Can you take him to the playground? SOmewhere the babe is just baggage and he's the king?

Best wishes!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
25 Posts
Oh good heavens! I thought I was the only one who'd gone thru this. Like mamajama said, you come home from the hospital and there's this HUGE person towering over your new baby. My first daughter was a VERY tall 4.5 year old when dd#2 was born, so it was awful. It took a couple of weeks for my sense of proportion to adjust. I also love doctorjen's advice. Love your big one all up. Get dad to hold/rock #2 so that you can read to #1 or eat ice cream together etc. You will get the old lovey feelings back, don't panic!!!
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
4,743 Posts
I had the same thing happen. I also struck my firstborn, same situation as a PP. I was nursing my 1 week old daughter and my 22 month old came up and smacked her in the head. My foot went up and I kicked him to the floor. There were unfortunately a few other incidences where I spanked or hit him as well. I still feel guilty about it. The saddest part for me is I STILL do not feel that loving towards him. I have spent time alone with him, I put him to bed every night and snuggle him all the time. But I just never got those really loving feelings back for him. He is so disobedient and mouthy and I find myself wishing sometimes that he would just go away. The weird thing is my 2 year old can be mouthy and disobedient as well and I don't feel as harsh towards her. I DO love my son, very much. When he's asleep sometimes I just crawl in his bed and hold him. I just find it very hard to deal with him during the day. And I know he senses that. I am still trying...
 

·
Registered
Joined
·
7,146 Posts
I also feel much more loving toward my daughter when she's asleep.. maybe there's something to that? Ya think? It's getting better. I find that she's REALLY bad only when DH and I are together. When he's at work she's great and when I'm out and about she's good for him too. If only I had time to love on her more when he's gone. I'm just SO busy and this baby won't be put down for a second. All the same, it's getting a little better every day.
 
1 - 19 of 19 Posts
This is an older thread, you may not receive a response, and could be reviving an old thread. Please consider creating a new thread.
Top