You are currently viewing A mum mourns: When the relationship with the first child suffers due to the birth of the second

With the birth of a sibling, many firstborns experience the pain of no longer having mum and dad to themselves. But as a mother, how do I cope when the previously exclusive bond with my first child changes?

Krrrk. I wonder if the sound of my heart breaking is audible for everyone. It announced itself through a painful tugging after my return from the hospital. Again and again it made itself felt quietly when I looked at you after you became a big sister. I didn’t expect it to be easy, either for you or for me. Still, it’s a shock to me when it happens.

I had prepared well – I thought

I prepared myself so well: There are countless books and blogs about the so-called dethroning of the firstborn through the birth of a sibling. Loads of tips on how to prepare as a family for your little world to explode. I used the time and got smart while your little sister was growing in my belly: how do you include the first child, how do you somehow cushion the pain of suddenly having to share your parents?

Sometimes I almost had a bad conscience about having another child, my head was pounding so much when I read about the fear of loss and the feeling of worthlessness.

I envisioned creating islands of time for us where it’s just the two of us together. I wanted to make you feel like I wasn’t your mom any less if your sister was around. It would be okay, somehow.

Nothing and nobody had prepared me for the pain of my own separation

Then the time has come. And I have to say: Despite all the reading, nothing and no one bothers me think prepared for pain. It hits me unprepared, with all its force.

Your little sister is born healthy, it feels easier than the first time. I already know how breastfeeding works, nothing feels really foreign anymore. I’m in love. Even the baby blues, which hit me hard a few days after you were born, stay away. I am happy.

We’re separated for four nights for the first time, but it’s not difficult for me, you’re in good hands with your dad and your grandparents. You are not allowed to visit me because of Corona. I enjoy the time with your sister, get to know her, always have her with me. You and I are like in a bubble where there is mostly us.

I cry once when your father comes to visit us and shows me a picture of you. I don’t want to talk to you on the phone for fear that you’ll miss me and that I’ll have to cry even more. I’m excited when we can go home.

I’m not just your mom anymore

The apartment is still empty, your grandparents are with you so we can arrive in peace. They will bring you back shortly after we arrive. I’m so nervous, can’t wait to see you again now. When you’re standing in front of the door, I cry, hold you in my arms, cry even more. You suddenly seem very tall to me at three years old. That’s the first time I really realize that you’re not my only child anymore. I’m not just your mom anymore. That’s where the pulling comes in for the first time.

You’re happy, but at the same time unsure, you ask why I’m crying. you want to see the baby It’s the first time I’ve seen you two side by side, on the couch. two children

For three years it was mostly you and me. You spent the most time with me. I carried you, nursed you, comforted you. We both did so many things together for the first time.

You melted me, drove me insane, I laughed and cried because of you. you were so familiar to me A part of me. With every argument, every tantrum, I felt like I could still reach you somehow. I was fine without you, I enjoyed the time alone when you were out with your dad or your grandparents, and bit by bit I regained a little independence. I’ve always felt that bond.

And now suddenly there is something between us. As if we weren’t quite together anymore.

It feels like lovesick

In the days that followed, the pain came with full force. When you’re angry and don’t want to be hugged. When you can’t focus on us in the moments I’ve scooped out time for us. When you go outside with your father and I stay at home with your sister. When he puts you to bed, reads you your bedtime story, lies down with you until you fall asleep.

I try to do as much as possible with you, to put you to bed as well, but you are incredibly hyper, refuse to put on your pajamas, take forever to fall asleep and I lie next to you in the dark, afraid that your sister is about to cry and I have to go out and swap places with dad. Because then you put your arms around me, hold me tight and say, “No mom, you should stay with me, you shouldn’t go.”

That’s when it happens for the first time: my heart breaks. It happened over and over again over the next few days. I feel your pain and my pain all the time. It’s too much I think, I can’t take it anymore. But it doesn’t stop.

i love you i love you i love you I want to make you understand somehow, want you to feel that there are no words for what I feel for you.

Your sister sleeps through the days as a warm bundle on top of us. When I’m alone with her, her calm radiates over me, I put my feet up, feel her little body rise and fall with each breath, and have no problem spending hours in this position on the couch. We are lucky with the weather, the sun usually shines warmly through the window.

In some moments, however, I am infinitely sad. I feel like after a breakup, I’m lovesick. I talk to your father about it for comfort, but I don’t think he understands the depth of this feeling. So I google for similar experiences. I type words like “sadness, longing, mom, baby, sibling,” but everything I find is about your sorrow again, not mine. How can that be?

It will never be the same again

At some point I meet our neighbor at the sandbox, also with two children. Tears come to my eyes as I tell her how I’m doing, alongside the joy that your little sister is here now. she nods. Finally.

Little by little, I’m hearing from more and more friends that the same thing happened to them after the birth of their second child. I wonder why no one has ever told me about this before. I still hope that it’s just a matter of time before everything settles down and goes back to how it used to be. But a friend tells me quietly that, in her experience, this close bond with your first child will never be the same again.

And I’m slowly realizing: I can bend over backwards, try to split myself in two, put myself at the back so that I can still be there for you as much as possible, but I can’t help it – we’ve separated a tiny bit from each other. I’m not going to get us back the way it was. And even if things have calmed down once the four of us have settled in a bit, it won’t be the way it was before.

All I can do is try to help you deal with your sadness and wait for mine to calm down a bit and make way for something new.

The author: Hanna (36) lives with her husband and children in the Black Forest. She is actually a scientist, but her heart beats for writing.

Bridget

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