1st time bio mom feeling different about stepkids

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-26-2012
1st time bio mom feeling different about stepkids
4
Wed, 12-26-2012 - 11:54am

Hi everyone.  New here.  To be 100% honest, I just left my job to stay at home with my first child so I don't have $110 / hr to pay my therapist so here I am!  I have a 5 month old daughter who I am head over heels in love with.  I waited so long to have a baby (I'm 35).  I read tons of books, took my prenatals, really gave thought as to how I wanted to raise her (like most of you all did with your kids).  Never knew I could love anyone so much.  Before I met my SO I was pretty independent.  I didn't want to live with a man.  I didn't want to get married.  I loved my alone time.  But I fell with a wonderful man. I was honest with him about my hesitancy to cohabitate.  He had 2 kids from a previous marriage.  I was always good to them.  We kept our separate residences and when he had his kids (half of the month) I would go out to dinner with them, come over to the apartment occasionally and then let him have his "dad time" (and I'd get my "me time").  I got pregnant and of course the game changed.  He wanted us to all move in together...do things somewhat the traditional way.  I understood it.  I knew it wasnt fair to ask him just to live with us half the time.  But I wasn't ready to be a stepmother.  I knew all of the hardships that come with that and I voiced to him (gently) I wasn't comfortable with making us an "insta-family".  Long story short, he kind of steamrolled me on this.  He said that he couldn't live like that.  So we all moved in together when my daughter was born.  Instantly my feelings toward the kids changed.  I felt resentment.  I felt annoyed.  I felt like I was having to "tone down" the joy over my baby girl so that his kids wouldn't feel slighted in any way.  We have a three bedroom house and my daughter was going to have to share a room with her big sister even though they're only here half the month.  I get it that they need to feel special but it just pains me to have my daughter affected.  And here's another little kink to throw in the mix:  I was sexually abused when I was young.  It affected me my entire life.  I couldn't trust any man..or I didn't know how.  When my SO came along he was  incredibly understanding.  I knew I could confide in him.  He cried with me when I told him.  He put up with several times of misplaced mistrust on my part and he helped me through it, going to counseling with me, etc.  Now that his son lives in our house (6 yr old) I watch him like a hawk.  He is never...I repeat never alone with my daughter.  It's like I'm on pins and needles half the month. She sleeps in a crib in our room mostly due to this.  Whenever I'm around the kids I feel like I'm an actress in a play.  Right before I come in their presence I take a deep breath and force myself to smile and be loving for them.  I don't truly feel it.  I've been reading about a phenomenon called LAT (Living Apart Together).  It sounds like heaven to me.  But I can't do that to my SO.  He has been so good to me. He took over my well-paying job so that I could stay home with her.  I feel like I'm constantly having to remind myself of this just to get through the weekends we have the kids.  I have taken odd jobs every weekend that I can take my daughter to just so I can have a break when they're at our house.  Whereas I used to see his kids as sweet, I now see how his daughter is becoming spoiled (We couldn't get as much this year for Christmas so I spent days picking out the perfect gifts for them with the money we had - when her granparents and other famly members asked her what she got for Christmas, she only listed off the things she got from her other side "iPad, Coach purse." and she's 11.).  His son cries over everything.  I've heard his mom say "he's sensitive".  Yes, well every time I see the boy cry over having to take another bite of chicken or not getting the seat he wants, I think, "Sensitive or not, he's being disobedient and the poor kid is going to have his a** handed to him by the real world one day.".  It's just become a bit like torture to me.. not only having these feelings, but having to pretend like I don't and then having the guilt that comes with them.  Meanwhile, I feel many days like my time with my own daughter is being compromised.  I realize this is partly irrational.  I now have all day at home with her, while I try to start a home business.  But it's how I feel.  Something has to give.  I can't see myself doing this for 12 more years.  Please know that I realize this isnot a loving way to feel.  I realize those kids didn't ask for their parents to get divorced.  I guess I'm praying for a response that will help me to ride this out.  I thought it might just be the hormones after  but I feel 100% back to normal in most every other regard whereas this situation has gotten worse.  Thank you in advance for your replies.  I hope everyone had a happy Christmas.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-26-2012
Wed, 12-26-2012 - 12:32pm
  1. I'm no expert by any means, but it seems to me like you might have postpartum depression or anxiety, or both. You say you feel 100% back to normal other than these feelings, but that's not 100%. Many people think of PPD as a “one-size-fits-all” illness. It's not.  Your experience may be focused on just a few of the symptoms and you may not have others at all.

Does any of this sound familiar?

You feel guilty because you believe you should be handling new motherhood better than this.

You feel irritated or angry. You have no patience. Everything annoys you.  You feel resentment toward your baby, or your partner, or your friends who don’t have babies (or your step children who compete for your attention and other resources with your new baby.)

You feel nothing. Emptiness and numbness. You are just going through the motions.

You feel hopeless, like this situation will never ever get better. .

I highly recommend this website: http://www.postpartumprogress.com/the-symptoms-of-postpartum-depression-anxiety-in-plain-mama-english and encourage you to discuss these feelings with your doctor.

Post partum mood disorders are not the same for everybody they have many different symptoms and can arise any time during pregnancy or in the first 12 months after birth.

*HUGS* Good luck! I hope everything works out for you and your family.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-26-2012
Wed, 12-26-2012 - 5:00pm
Thanks for your response, serendipity. I actually don't feel numb at all. I feel more joy than I ever have. I never resent my daughter. It's actually quite the opposite. I feel so much love for her I always want to do more. I feel no resentment toward friends or family or my SO. It's just the kids unfortunately. Thank you for the hugs.
iVillage Member
Registered: 11-28-1999
Thu, 12-27-2012 - 11:10am

I am wondering whether you have health insurance that would pay for therapy because honestly, I think that it would be very benficial.  Your fear that a 6 yr old boy is going to molest the baby is really irrational--I've almost never heard of a young child being the molester, have you?  And there is really no reason that you have to pretend not to be excited about the baby--maybe if you are excited, the kids will be more excited about having a sister and can maybe help you out with her.  I also think that it's normal not to feel the same about stepchildren than bio children--people never admit that, but I had a DSD and I never felt close to her at all--I got married to 2nd DH when she was 12, after we had dated 2 yrs.  She was actually a nice kid until she went to high school and then I just don't know what happened--she caused a lot of problems--ok, sorry to scare you there, but you're right--being with your Skids occasionally is not the same as living with them, even if it's only 1/2 the time (my 2nd DH was a widower so I got his DD ALL the time).  It really is not going to be a tremendous hardship to your DD to have to share her room sometimes--in many families kids share a room--my uncle actually had to share a room w/ his grandfather who lived with them and my mom shared a room w/ her 2 sisters.  Plus I think you're being very unrealistic about his kids' behavior.  So what if his son cries?  He's 6--he's not 16.  He'll most probably outgrow this phase of behavior.  He doesn't need to be a man at his age.  And it's very natural that if his DD got some fancy gifts from her mom's family, that would be what would stick in her mind.  

The thing is that you actually don't have to live w/ your BF if you don't want to--but being a single mom of a baby with no help actually isn't that great.  I got divorced when my kids were 7 & 1 and my ex was around a lot--probably every other day, but a lot of times I was on my own with a crying toddler who wouldn't go to sleep at 10:00.  I had to work almost full time and it's very tiring.  So before you think that living apart is going to be the solution, think about going back to work--will you be able to work full time again & have to put your baby in daycare?  If you have some kind of work at home job, you might be able to keep her with you now, but realistically when they start to walk & talk, it's impossible.  I tried working out of my home sometimes as a lawyer and if I got on the phone with a client, that's when my DD would decide that she had to talk to me immediately or she'd start climbing up on the counters or something--I would have to get a babysitter to do anything even when I was home--it was actually easier just to go to work outside of the house.

iVillage Member
Registered: 12-26-2012
Thu, 12-27-2012 - 2:33pm

HI again, I just responded to you on the other thread as well.  I don't believe that the 6 year old is a child molester.  I do see that he is jealous of his little sister.  I know that is completely normal.  But I don't know what that will translate to for him.  And seeing as how we will be living together through his teen years, I'm watchful starting now. Maybe it is just a phase and not one single thing will happen from it. My watching closely should have no bearing on it in that case. I know you probably don't like that response, but as I said on the other board, the person who abused me, no one ever suspected.  And I was too scared/embarrassed to tell.  No one was watching for the signs.  

As far as the crying, I have to admit, I'm not familiar with boys this age and their behavior.  I've tried to tell myself that there are much worse behaviors than the crying.  It usually helps. But after a long weekend, it just all starts to get on my last nerve.  He's constantly asking, "why is she (the baby) crying again?" and the jerk in me wants to say "Good lord, she cries less than you do.".  I know.  I know.  :)

Regarding living apart, I actually do everything for her already.  Since my SO works all day, I don't ever have him get up and change her and I'm breastfeeding so it's just easier for me not to pump bottles and do it myself.  She gets her "daddy time" when he gets home for about half an hour but even then if she starts to cry I take her and walk her, etc.  I guess it's more of a fantasy at this point due to the money factor.  I've always supported myself but with trying to start the home business it's very slow right now.  So the LAT situation wouldn't work.  But goodness, it still seems ideal.  And yes, I've worried about how I'll do this business once she's walking, talking. Ha.  Thank you for your responses.