When you welcome your first child into the world, it’s a love so profound that it feels unparalleled. Then the second baby arrives, and with it, a whirlwind of emotions. There’s an unspoken societal expectation that parents should shower all their children with identical love and adoration. But what happens when the heart tells a different story? Delving into this delicate topic, we uncover the multifaceted feelings parents grapple with when it comes to their second-born.
A Closer Look
A man recently shared with an online parenting community that he felt guilty because he didn’t love his newborn as much as his first-born toddler. These are ten insights from the forum into this taboo topic, breaking down the barriers and starting an open conversation about a difficult subject.
1. Adjusting to the Arrival of the Second Child
Your first child was a significant worldview change. You had to learn a lot of self-sacrifices, which immediately bound your heart and emotions to the object of that sacrifice. Child number two doesn’t engender that same emotion and perspective shift because you’re already in self-sacrifice mode, so it feels like you aren’t bonding with them.
According to one mother, you should give it time and fight for unique relationships with both your kids, and it’ll mostly take care of itself.
2. Personality Takes Time To Emerge
Another person advised parents to keep in mind that they don’t know his personality yet. It takes a while for that to emerge. Once he starts responding to you (like smiling) and his character comes out, things will change.
3. Less Time, Less Sleep, and Less Connection
The second child is always more demanding. After all, you’re doing all the newborn stuff on even less sleep because you have another child that needs your energy. So, you have less time for everything in general. It’s very normal to feel less connected. Once your son has more personality and can interact more with you, you’ll likely find that your outlook will change.
Postpartum anxiety and depression can affect men too. When babies are new and tiny, crying and pooping are common. However, constantly comparing your experience to others can steal away your joy. If you feel irritable or regretful later on, don’t hesitate to contact your doctor.
5. The First Year Is Survival Mode
You are in pure survival mode. There are no emotions outside of keeping these tiny humans and yourself alive. The first year is so hard. When they are older, you can play together, you guys can do fun family outings, and you’ll be overwhelmed with new emotions.
6. Parents Have Favorites Among Their Children
People need to understand: parents of multiple children have favorites. Even if they say they don’t and they don’t feel they do. Sometimes this preference is subtle, but other times it can be extreme and lead to neglect. It’s important to recognize and accept this bias and work to balance your attention and affection between your children.
7. Avoid Comparison
Remember that your second child is not a replacement for your first child. It’s essential to resist the urge to compare them and remember that they are unique individuals with strengths and weaknesses. Try to celebrate their differences and appreciate them for who they are.
8. One-on-One Time with Each Child
Make time for one-on-one moments with both of your children. It can be hard to juggle the demands of multiple kids, but setting aside a particular time to spend with each child individually can help strengthen your bond and make them feel loved and valued.
9. It’s Okay To Have Different Feelings for Each Child
Try not to put too much pressure on yourself to love your second child as much as your first. It’s okay to have different feelings for different children, and it doesn’t mean you love either of them any less. As long as you do your best to provide for and support both of your children, that matters most.
10. Seek Help
Don’t be afraid to seek support from others. Talking to other parents who have gone through similar experiences can help you feel less alone and provide valuable insights and advice. You may also benefit from therapy or counseling to work through any difficult emotions or feelings of guilt you may be experiencing.
It’s normal to have different feelings for different children, and it’s okay to struggle with loving your second child as much as your first. Give yourself time and space to adjust to the new dynamic and work on developing unique relationships with your children.
Be kind to yourself and seek support when you need it. With time and effort, you can build a solid and loving bond with both of your children.
This thread inspired this post.
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