Two different children,two different experiences,but one love that we share-Paulo Rollo
The arrival of the second child in our life is indeed a time of happiness and joy. However it also heralds a a time of changing dynamics within the family. The first born who was the sole and exclusive focus of attention within the formerly family of three is all of a sudden exposed to new changes ,especially in terms of divided attention of the mother. If not dealt with, in a tempered and wise method can lead to life-long feelings of deprivations and Ill feelings.
As for me,as soon as I had realised my second pregnancy ,the dynamics of relations between me and my daughter drastically changed. During my pregnancy I was undergoing various changes which made it difficult for me to enjoy my daughter’s company as I did previously. A few of them were as follows.
- I was unable to carry my daughter in my arms any longer as the doctor advised against it till at least 5 months.Although incidentally I never really picked up my daughter during my entire pregnancy.This was perhaps the most unpleasant change for my daughter as it contributes to the bonding process of mother and child. Understandably it was the most difficult for her to accept.
- Eventually ,I had slowed down and my energy level relatively declined making it difficult for me to participate in my dd’s pre-school life less actively.Although I did try my best.
- The frequent bouts of illnesses and hormonal topsy turvy made me uncircumstantially snappy at my little girl.Having said this I believe it is really natural and by no means the mother should hold herself guilty for it.
An essential role of parents during this period is to gradually prepare the child for the new addition to the family. It must be done in a gentle manner by slowly breaking it to the child about the concept of a baby. Thankfully our daughter did not take it but positively. When you are telling a 4 year old that they can start looking for a new play-friend who unlike their friend is not going to leave them ever. They can do little much than to look forward to it.To share a certain conversation at this point-
Me:Are you ready to welcome your new friend,its coming soon you know?
DD: Yes.But is it going to jump with me on the bed?
Me:But of course!
Well,although I would later tell her the truth that since it is a baby it is going to take some time for the baby to actually get around to doing that! 🙂
Now,as a mother I never really believed that I could love the new baby more than my first born. However, Surprise !Nature has strange ways of working.The second child had suddenly become the center of my universe. I was suddenly too protective and doting a mother to my second newborn to the extent of being neglectful towards my DD.Little can you blame yourself when you are undergoing recovery from your painful and weak physical conditions. Not to forget the hormonal problems and sleep disturbances accompanying motherhood. Hardly can you blame yourself! However it must be all the more difficult for your first born who is grappling with the changing attitude of her mother who she loves more than anyone else.So remember to always re-evaluate your behaviour with her even if the newborn seemed to have taken the better part of your affection and care. A few things a mother can keep in mind are:
- First and foremost,it’s the father who can and must assist in showering his affection upon the first born.
- He should all the more work as a comforting figure when times are really tough for the mother and she is irritable in general or in particular to the first born.
- However the father can ensure that unhealthy feelings and negative opinions towards the mother is not encouraged towards the mother.
- Even,grandparents can responsibly do their share by providing balanced affection towards the first born.
- If possible start introducing your elder kid to relatives or friends with more children so that they can learn to accept their family changes by example.
- It should be gently explained to the child that her mother is unable to give ample attention to her but it by no means implies that she loves her any less.
- Healthy feelings towards the new baby should be promoted.Telling the first born that the baby is very much hers can go a long way in fostering healthy relations between the two.
- The mother must try taking assistance in whatever small way possible from her child in rearing the baby.For instance she can ask,’Can you fetch me a nappy,please’ ,or communicating to her that she will always need her help to look after the baby can instill feelings of belonging within your child.
- Whenever mommy gets time ,do not refrain from giving your elder child a hug,cuddle or kiss.She will need it as much as possible.
I would like to end this by sharing what a friend’s mother once suggested her.’ Always be careful and attentive towards the first born after the arrival of the baby for the former can sense and get affected by your harshness or carelessness of behaviour towards them easily and more quickly than the baby ever will.’
With a little help from the husband,family and friends things can settle down in no time and it won’t be long till your elder child turns out to be the most doting and helpful sibling ever. As for ‘ sibling rivalry’ we can leave that to be discussed later.Really,Really later!