Redditor Wonders if Anyone Else 'Fell Out of Love' With Their First Child To Love Their Second

One second-time parent got personal about how their feelings towards their first changed. Redditors rallied behind them with support.

Mother with her son and her newborn child
Photo: Getty

When parents find out they're expecting a second child, the excitement is sometimes tempered by worry. "How can I love another child like I love my first?"

"Will my first be hurt and resent the baby or us?"

"What if I don't love my first as much anymore?"

Seasoned caregivers to multiple children often respond, "Your heart will double in size to make room for the new little one."

But that's not always the case—at least not at first, and it can make life as a parent to two or more kids guilt-ridden, as one Redditor recently divulged.

"I'm a horrible parent," wrote robocopter6 in the Parenting subreddit. "I have a 10 [year old] son. I love my son. He was my world for 10 years, and we did everything together. He is a wonderful person, and I'm so proud of him."

But the Redditor had a daughter last summer, and things haven't been the same.

"I find myself being massively irritated by my son," they continued. "As soon as he talks, I just wish he wouldn't. He is always asking for things and demanding my attention for trivial things…He wakes the baby accidentally, and I feel so much anger and fury."

The original poster (OP) tries to hide these feelings from their son, but they are confused and full of guilt.

"Why has this happened?" OP posited. "Why have my feelings changed so quickly? I can spend time effortlessly with my baby, but with him, it's like pulling teeth. He is a wonderful child—funny, smart, and engaging—so why?"

The comments are full of other users concerned about the poster.

"This sounds like a form of PPD (postpartum depression). You need to talk with your doctor," wrote one.

Others agreed and assured OP they aren't alone.

"My PPD manifested as rage. Mostly at my 3-year-old. I have a lot of shame around this, but I recognize that something was wrong with me," said another.

"I was furious and not myself towards others with my PPD and PPA. I became a mother I did not recognize. I had started therapy because I expected PPD after my first. It wasn't enough, and I'm now on medication. I feel like myself again. I'm also doing therapy with my oldest to help us get on track," said someone else.

And others just wanted to show support.

"I don't have PPD, but it sounds [awful] to deal with. Please, DON'T be ashamed. I hope you reached out to someone," wrote a Redditor.

The poster is correct. Postpartum anxiety (PPA) and postpartum depression (PPD) are common and nothing to be ashamed of. The mental health disorders may affect up to 1 in 5 women, according to some estimates. Symptoms of PPD include mild sadness to severe depression and difficulty enjoying favorite activities. PPA symptoms may consist of restlessness and the inability to get worries and "what ifs" out of your head to the point they impact day-to-day life.

If you think you are struggling, speak with your OBGYN or primary care physician. Postpartum Support International also has a directory of perinatal mental health providers and support groups in the U.S. and Canada.

Experts also say it's common to feel frustrated towards other children once a new baby is born. Give yourself grace—this is a season, and it will pass with the right support in place.

It appears the OP is going to get the help they need. In an update, they wrote, "All your advice is very helpful and reassuring. I think there may be an element of PPD/PPA/PPR, and I am sure I will need some professional help for this. But just seeing that this is a common phenomenon, and I'm not a terrible…mother has helped already. I'm already feeling better."

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