"Last week there was a post on second child Shangri-la which I read in earnest, hoping to find some help with my own issues around having a second child. I am having much, much sadness over a loss that I could not anticipate with a second child. With my first child, I was "ready" for losing a bit of my identity and having to give up certain things, which I embraced, and I actually enjoyed that transition and moving into a new role for myself. I found such enormous satisfaction in giving 100% to another person and I was able to manage that intense love for a child with a wonderful relationship with my husband, a terrific job, etc.
Now, with the second baby, I'm having another identity shift that is hitting me harder than I expected: the loss of intimacy with my first child. I miss him, our little family of three, our quiet (and loud!) times together, the attention I was able to lavish on him, and so on. He seems unphased by the change, so I think it is just me and my own feelings of loss. I cannot believe how much I am grieving over the closeness that I shared with my first child, a closeness that we barely are able to glimpse these days with a new baby in the house.
I need help processing and coping with this -- all my friends tell me that it was so much easier for them to move from the one child to two children than it was from no children to one child in terms of identity, transition, life, etc. I thought I was a "pro" at being a mom and now this has just knocked the wind right out of my sails.
If you have any advice regarding this, I need it. My family is across the country, I live in a rural area, and I don't have many mom friends. The Moxie community could really help me process this; perhaps many parents out there have experienced this to varying degrees and have some data points about "letting go" or "renegotiating" the relationship with the first child .....It's causing more "blues" than I really need right now."
Yes, yes, yes, yes, yes.
Having my first was tough and really broke me down, but at the same time it taught me how to love another human being. It taught me that I actually could love another human being. And my son and I clicked so well that it just felt natural to be his mother.
And then the second one came, and I loved him instantly (probably sooner than I loved my first one), but our personalities just didn't click as perfectly, and I missed my older one. Those first months were difficult, with a baby I didn't feel I was doing a stellar job with (because there had just been this magical thing with my older son, so comparatively speaking I wasn't as good a mom to the second, I felt) and wanting to be closer to my older son, but not having the ability to with the second one.
It was a rough time, and I also felt like there was something wrong with me because other moms said going to two was so much easier, and I didn't feel like it was easy.
What helped things for me was:
1) The passage of time. As the baby got older I got things together more, got my routines down, and felt like I could have a better balance of time between the two kids.
2) Realizing that my older one needed me less anyway. He was a big boy, and wasn't so dependent on mama. It wasn't bothering him not to be spending as much one-on-one time with me, and maybe that was OK.
3) Working things out with the baby so I could feel that closeness with him, too. I felt like there was a disconnect between us, something that just made us miss each other. What fixed it for us was an offhand remark I made to my therapist (isn't that always the way?) that let him see that what my son was missing from me was something I'd never gotten as a baby (and, guess what--my mother had never gotten as a baby, either!). As soon as I started giving it to him we started to click. And some stuff shook loose in my relationship with my mom at the same time. It was a win-win-win.
I think negotiating the divided mind and affections of having two kids is the biggest problem of having a second child, honestly. (Others might disagree, but I'm sure there are plenty of people who agree with me.) And it takes awhile to find your peace within it, with being a mother of two, with not being the end-all-be-all to your older child, and to having to let this new person into your psyche. Be kind to yourself while you're going through it.
Readers, help for Marina? How did you cope until it started to be OK to have two?