This is something I'm afraid to write. I'm afraid I will be judged to the high heavens and not many people will understand what I'm trying to say. But, for a while, I felt like I had lost a connection with my daughter since the birth of her brother. At one point I even Googled "Loving your first child less after a second baby".
How F-ing awful.
There would be nights where I would lay in bed trying to understand why I felt this way. I loved her, of course, but for some reason, she felt so distant and different to me.
When pregnant you often wonder whether you would love your new baby as much as you did your first. This was true for me too. For three years we were a family of three, Darcie was my entire world and I loved her unconditionally. But when her brother was born something definitely changed.
I started to spend most of my time shouting at her, telling her to be quiet, to stop climbing all over me when I was feeding Henry. There would be a lot of tears and it was becoming really unpleasant. We were still finding our feet and whilst Henry was slotting in just fine, Darcie was seemingly being pushed to one side. At least, that's what I felt I was doing. Pushing her away.
I have never spoken to anyone about this. Not even my husband. But after doing a little research a couple of months a go, I found this was actually very common. Your hormones are all over the place, sleep is limited, breastfeeding, whilst wonderful, is bloody hard work - especially in the early days. Stress levels can be at an all time high. I blamed Darcie every time Henry would wake early from a nap, telling her she was being too noisy etc. I look back now and think "what a monster". But really, I was one tired mamma who desperately wanted her baby to sleep and was trying to direct my frustrations at someone as opposed to just getting on and dealing with it.
One afternoon I decided to do that "ask your toddler these questions" that was doing the rounds on Facebook. One of her answers broke my heart and instantly filled me with mummy guilt. I'm so glad it did because it reconnected me with her completely and washed away all those irrational thoughts.
One of the questions was "what makes you sad" and her answer went something like this (I can't remember the exact words she used)....
"I get sad when you're sad. Like when I wake Henry or when I don't put my toys away. I get sad when you shout and I don't know what I've done wrong. I just want to make you proud like you were before Henry."
My little girl has never shown any jealousy towards her brother, never blamed him for my mood swings and has showered him with nothing but love. But she did notice that I had been showering him with love and leaving her out a little too much.
Her words broke me and woke me up. My little girl hadn't changed. She was still the most caring little being with the biggest heart. She is fearless and determined and always wanting to better herself. She tries her hardest at everything she does and loves those around her unconditionally.
The only thing that had changed was that I had another little person to care for and all running on a lot less sleep. My patience was shot and was feeling physically and emotionally drained. I wasn't able to spend all my time with her, reading stories, playing with her dolls, even just having a lazy afternoon snuggling up together just me and her. We wasn't getting the quality time that we needed.
So, Darcie, I love you and I'm sorry.
I'm so glad that this horrid feeling is now over. I think I felt a whole new level of mummy guilt. BUT, if you are feeling thought's like this just remember it IS common. Having another baby does bring a lot of change. Sleep deprivation is a complete b***h and does make you act/think like a crazy person - I mean it is used as a torture method!! So if you're feeling a little less connected to your child for whatever reason and feel that you need someone to talk to, by all means feel free to drop me and email or message on social media. I happy to lend a ear.
Mummy B xoxox