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TOPIC: Struggling to Bond with Second Baby

Struggling to Bond with Second Baby 2 years 11 months ago #78522

Hi - bit of background. I've been with my wife for eighteen years and all is good, lucky to have found one of those rare instances where you just click with someone. About 5 years ago we decided to try and start a family - long story short, we needed IVF and had our little girl 3 years ago. From day one i have been besotted with her, no problems bonding and have played an active part in bringing her up - we are best buddies :)

We decided to try naturally for a wee brother or sister and within a month of trying fell pregnant (we were both delighted) and our son was born in July and is now nearly 3 months old. I have really struggled to bond with him and,as it stands, have no real sense of feelings for him. I feel awful writing this but it's the truth - it's like he is someone else's baby and i am having to look after him.

He isn't an easy baby (colic & silent reflux) and has a cry that just seems to be like nails on a chalkboard to me, but it isn't his fault and i know i should be able to put things in perspective and bond with him...but i just can't. If anything, i just feel angry that he has come along and is making things so difficult - completely irrational, i know.

Came to a head this morning when my wife broke down saying she can;t bear to see me look at him as my 'eyes are dead' and she can't understand how i can have so much love for our little girl but none for our son.

I am at a loss as to what to do - I'm not deliberately going out of my way to feel this way...it's just how i feel. Any other dads gone through this? All advice welcome as i really need to find a way to break this vicious cycle of trying to bond, becoming frustrated with him, and then feeling as though we are back at square one.

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Struggling to Bond with Second Baby 2 years 11 months ago #78527

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Hi there

I'm sorry to hear you are struggling and I want to reassure you that you're not alone in feeling this way.

The statement that stood out to me was the fact that he isn't an easy baby, this could have a lot to do with how you are feeling, that and the anxiety and guilt that you feel this way about him. It's a vicious circle I'm afraid, but it's to your credit that you are aware of it and are seeking help and that's the first step to getting back on track.

I can understand your wife's distress that she can see a difference iin the way you react to your son, perhaps you need to really talk to her about how you are feeling, perhaps not doing so has helped to increase her sense of confusion.

There is such a condition as post natal depression in men, it could be that you are suffering from this to a degree. It might be helpful to look not this and see if any of the signs and symptoms apply to you, once recognised you would then be able to start to work to get back on track. There are some websites that address this problem where you'll find advice on how to deal with it.

There are probably all kinds of emotions bubbling under the surface without you being aware of them. You could be feeling resentful that more of your wifes time is taken up with the baby, jealous that he demands so much of her attention, tiredness because of interrupted sleep and fear and anxiety that you feel helpless to do anything about it.

Acknowledging the problem is an important first step, talking about it to your wife is also crucial; once she understands how you are feeling and that you aren't to blame she will be integral in helping you to get over it. Looking for support from outside bodies will also help, perhaps you and your wife could talk to the Health Visitor or your GP....trust me they will have experience of this, it's more common than you think.

In the meantime try and be kind to yourselfq, don't play the blame game and cut yourself some slack. As your little boy grows more independent and develops his own little personality it will get easier and you will onc with him I'm sure.

All the best

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DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

Struggling to Bond with Second Baby 2 years 11 months ago #78533

Thanks Mojo, appreciate you taking the time to respond.

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Struggling to Bond with Second Baby 2 years 11 months ago #78544

Hi There,
.
I agree with Mojo, I think that as your son hasn't been an easy baby, this has made things worse for you, on top of that you may be feeling that since his arival, you have less time for your daughter, I think it's all a natural feeling to have, the disruption to the house must be imense if he doesn't settle.
.
I think talking to your partner about this is a good idea, but be ready in case she doesn't see things for what they are, I would assume that she has formed a strong bond, and may not understand how you couldn't have, so be patient and keep calm, and try not to let things get heated.
.
GTTS

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Struggling to Bond with Second Baby 2 years 11 months ago #78545

Hello bravewolverine,

How you feel is quite natural and very common. As the baby grows and responds to you, the bond between you will grow.
It is a huge change in your life having an addition to the family and time is needed to readjust.
You sound very upset about how you feel , quite understandably but don't add further stress into the situation, just accept how you feel at present and in a few months time, I believe you will feel completely different.

There is this expectation that people instantly have a bond when a baby is born but many do not. It is my belief the mother has a head start in bonding with the baby as she has carried it for 9 months, the father hasn't and consequently the bond grows naturally for the father over a period of time after the birth.
I am a mother and grandmother with a considerable amount of love and time to give but I have never felt an instant bond with any of the babies in the family not even when my Son was one. I have felt that my bond begins to grow when the baby is 3 to 9 months old. I don't believe it has been to my detriment or the children's as I have a wonderful loving relationship with all of them.

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Struggling to Bond with Second Baby 2 years 11 months ago #78546

Thanks both - I spoke to my wife about it last night and she can't understand why there is no bond. Have explained we just need to give it time and try not to push it. Not a great place to be in at the moment but just going to put my head down and try my best to let things take their natural course. I appreciate you taking the time to respond.

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Struggling to Bond with Second Baby 2 years 6 months ago #82057

Just a quick update...wee man is now 6months and whilst things are slightly better if i'm honest it still feels like i am looking after someone else's baby rather than him being 'mine'. Has anyone else still felt like this after 6 months and if so, any recommendations on what you did/who you spoke to in an effort to try and unblock whatever is getting in the way?

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Struggling to Bond with Second Baby 2 years 6 months ago #82121

Hello bravewolverine,

In most situations I am a great believer in letting nature take it's course and this is one where I would go with the flow. You seem to me to be giving yourself such an unnecessarily hard time over this. It is a common occurrence for some parents to find they do not have the instant bond with their child that they expected they would have. It will happen. You may be the type of person I am whose bond begins to grow as a child's personality develops. As I mentioned before I have never had the ability to have an instant bond with any baby in my family particularly one of my grandchildren who was, as a baby, forever crying. However, as he began to develop (round about 15 to 18 months of age) our relationship really took off. The fun we have together is priceless and the bond is as strong as it could possibly be.

You ask quote, "what you did/who you spoke to in an effort to try and unblock whatever is getting in the way?" I personally think you expected you would have an instant bond which hasn't happened consequently you feel guilt which you should not. Added to which you need to have patience with yourself and accept that everyone is different and for some of us, bonds develop naturally over a period of time. I believe the thing that is "getting in the way" is that you perceive instant bonding as normal but there is no such thing as normal. We are all different and have varying timescales.
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Struggling to Bond with Second Baby 2 years 5 months ago #82953

I can relate. I had the same problem with my second. I resented how she made us neglect our oldest, and how that affected our oldest. I resented how difficult the birth was and all the knock on complications for my wife in the following weeks. When we realised that she wasn't sleeping through long after the point that her sister had been, 'resent' is not a strong enough word. My rational mind knew that none of these things were the child's fault, but it is not my rational mind that houses my emotions. Thankfully when my little girl started smiling at me and it passed. That was 3 months later though.

I see that your story is worse than mine but still, you are not alone.

I have a suggestion. Please forgive me if you've already tried this. Try to dedicate a little time to just you and your youngest together, as often as possible. Not feed time or nappy time. Not during witching hour. Try to do some activity with him that will develop into something that you'll both enjoy. So making some assumptions about the two of you (he's interested in walking while supported and you like football) buy a soft foam ball and help him run around after it and chase it into a goal ("Yeay we won etc"). Hopefully this will develop into a shared bond of some form.

I hope I helped : )
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Last Edit: by Charlie1485.

Struggling to Bond with Second Baby 2 years 5 months ago #82955

Charlie1485 wrote: I can relate. I had the same problem with my second. I resented how she made us neglect our oldest, and how that affected our oldest. I resented how difficult the birth was and all the knock on complications for my wife in the following weeks. When we realised that she wasn't sleeping through long after the point that her sister had been, 'resent' is not a strong enough word. My rational mind knew that none of these things were the child's fault, but it is not my rational mind that houses my emotions. Thankfully when my little girl started smiling at me and it passed. That was 3 months later though.

I see that your story is worse than mine but still, you are not alone.

I have a suggestion. Please forgive me if you've already tried this. Try to dedicate a little time to just you and your youngest together, as often as possible. Not feed time or nappy time. Not during witching hour. Try to do some activity with him that will develop into something that you'll both enjoy. So making some assumptions about the two of you (he's interested in walking while supported and you like football) buy a soft foam ball and help him run around after it and chase it into a goal ("Yeay we won etc"). Hopefully this will develop into a shared bond of some form.

I hope I helped : )


Thank you - much appreciated!

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Last Edit: by churchpath.

Struggling to Bond with Second Baby 1 year 2 months ago #92840

I found this really interesting to read and thank you for sharing the experience.

My second child is now 2.5 months and my eldest is 2.5 years. I find myself having the exact same feelings towards my youngest as you mention. At times, I just dont want to be near him and when i do, he just screams and screams. As soon as i give him back to my wife he stops. Its so hard to explain the feeling i have when im holding him and he just screams at me, nonstop. My wife tells me what i should be doing and i try so hard to replicate the movements or the way she holds him but nothing works, he just wants his mum.

When he was born, i really struggled in the 1st few weeks, The guilt i felt for my eldest and her not having her Daddy to herself was unbearable. And, although that has past slightly, i still have that feeling inside, when she looks at me and just wants to play but cant because i have to attend to him kills me.

It all came to head last night when i tried to help with his bedtime routine, i really wanted to have a go at it myself so i could try and create some kind of bond, i fed him and burped him and then boom, screams. Just constant screams and not like little tears, full on screams as if i was hurting him. Eventually my wife came up and i passed him over and he stopped within seconds. I felt awful and so low i couldnt look at him and just walked out the room. A bit like yourself, my wife doesn't seem to understand why i dont have the "correct" feelings for him and gets angry at me if i dont want to hold him, which to be fair if things were around the other way i probably would think its a bit odd also.

Its incredibly reassuring to read that other Dads have had similar issues and that im not alone with this, i just hope that these kinds of feelings eventually pass and dont affect other areas of our lives.

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Struggling to Bond with Second Baby 1 year 2 months ago #92857

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Hi there

Im glad that you found some reassurance from this thread and felt comfortable enough to comment with your own experience. It really does help to know that you're not alone.

At 2.5 months your son is still very young and isn't giving much back yet, I'm sure things will change and in the next few months the pressure will be lessened.... keep trying with him and keep talking to your wife. If she gets angry she probably feeling tired , sleepless nights and frayed tempers can go hand in hand.

Your little girl will love having a brother and won't mind the sharing, try not to think of it in this way, as she may also be picking up on your anxiety. You can see to him and involve your daughter too, child care is a juggling act, if you can stop being so hard on yourself you might find that the atmosphere relaxes a little.

All the best

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DadTalk Moderator... I'm not legally trained and my responses are my own views based on my experiences of the family court. I have plenty of common sense and can offer you emotional support and guide you to answers.

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