A man is questioning whether it is typical to experience reduced affection for subsequent children following the birth of the first child.
Having A Second Child
Having a child is often described as one of the most life-changing and rewarding experiences a person can have. However, for some parents, the experience of having a second child can be more complicated. Recently, a father who we will call ‘Jimmy’ opened up about his struggle to love his second child as much as his first. While he loves his newborn son, he admits that the love he feels for him is significantly weaker than the love he feels for his two-year-old daughter.
How He Felt When he Had His First Child
I have a daughter who is almost two now,” Jimmy said, “and she’s the most important thing in my life. The minute she was born, it felt like the one thing I was missing finally clicked into place. I love her so much it hurts sometimes, and nothing brings me more joy than being this little goober’s dad.”
Trying To Find Space For His Son
Jimmy continued. My wife and I just had our second child, a boy, and it worries me that I’m not having the same experience. I love him, but that love feels significantly weaker. The best way I can describe it is that it felt like my capacity for love grew when my daughter was born, but with my son it feels like my capacity is the same and I’m just trying to find some space for him in it.”
He Hopes This Phase Will Pass
Jimmy hopes that things will turn around as they pass the newborn phase. My wife and I both wanted two kids, and I still believe that’s the right number for our family. But this concerns me. I’m hoping that this is just a product of going through the joyless newborn phase again, and once he starts interacting and having a personality I’ll find the love I’m missing. That’s still unfair to him, but I don’t really know what else to hope for.”
Others Respond: Jimmy Shouldn’t Worry
One person’s response appeased Jimmy. The man, who is in a similar spot as Jimmy said, “I wouldn’t worry too much. Your first child was a significant world view change. You had to learn a lot of self sacrifice and that immediately bound your heart and emotions to the object of that sacrifice.”
He continued and pointed out that the second child “doesn’t engender that same emotion and perspective shift, because you’re already in self sacrifice mode, and so it feels like you aren’t bonding with them. Give it time and fight for unique relationships with both your kids and it’ll mostly take care of itself.
Wait For The Baby’s Personality To Emerge
“Keep in mind, you also don’t really know his personality yet. It takes a while for that to emerge. Once he starts responding to you (like smiling) and his personality comes out, things will change.”
Diversity Is A Treasure, Not A Problem
Another said, “my sons are teens now and though I love them both, there are just times I felt closer to one than the other. Personalities and interests change so you’ll be all into a video game with one kid and going on all the roller coasters with the other. Instead of thinking, “Why can’t you be more like your brother?” Accept their differences because diversity is a treasure not a problem to solve.”
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