58 answers

Feeling Regret over New Child

Please no responses telling me how awful a person I am for saying what I'm about to say. I'm looking for constructive feedback. Also, I'm the father, not the mother, but I often visit Mamapedia anyway.

We had a new baby boy nearly 6 weeks ago. He is our third child (all boys). Our other boys are 10 and 7. I am also the youngest of three boys in my own family (one is 6 years older and the other is 10 years older). A year ago I encouraged my wife to try for one more child. We actually tried 3 1/2 years ago and she miscarried. For the last few years we more or less figured that we were done (we're now both 40). However, last Fall we were fortunate enough to get pregnant at the same time that we decided that we wanted to try one more time (she was about to start fertility treatments but ended up not needed them).

The pregnancy was mostly uneventful other than a few bouts with preterm contractions and some paranoia about some meds used occasionally throughout the pregnancy. Unfortunately, those minor issues sent me into a anxiety/depression spiral that made the last two months of her pregnancy very difficult for her (having to deal with me). Our boy was born full term, had a few minor issues during the first month (rapid breathing but with no apparent problems after going to the hospital as well as seeing a pulmonologist). During all this, my anxiety and depression over this child continued to grow.

With the baby now here and the medical issues seemingly gone for now, I find myself feeling regret and guilt over bringing this child into the world. My fear now is that he is too much younger than his brothers for him to have a close relationship with them. This age gap is similar to that between me and my brothers. I never thought that this age gap between me and my brothers bothered me, but as I think about it more now I realize that I have few memories of time with my 10 year older brother and not a lot more with my 6 year older brother and it makes me sad that I've condemned my new child to this same fate, especially when I see my two older boys (3 years apart) playing together.

I have an appointment with a counselor and have been prescribed Lexapro (I have yet to start taking it). Other than hearing the comments of regret and guilt from me about this child, my wife has so happy to have this new little guy and thinks that I'm blowing this situation WAY out of proportion (I'm having trouble functioning at home and at my job). It's obvious that I need help and am seeking it on several fronts.

I find myself trying to find a solution to this "problem". Maybe we should have a 4th child close this new one? However, we are 40 and I worry about going through another risky pregnancy. Plus, that child will be even farther apart in age from the two eldest (but at least close to the new baby).

Can anyone appreciate this situation and shed some light? I've already recently posted a question asking about age gaps and most of the feedback has been encouraging. However, I can't seem to get myself to feel ok about it.

What can I do next?

Featured Answers

There could be a lot of reasons. I respect the fact that you acknowledge the problem & I think that's a great first step. I would suggest talking to a counselor.

More Answers

It seems to me that your worries are showing how much of a caring father you are. You want your new son to have everything and the best life growing up. I can tell you, you are not the only dad filling this way that has a child later in life. I have a lot of friends that have children in the late teens and early 20's starting over with new little ones. My children are 10 and 6 now and we have been trying for number 3 for over 2 years now. We talked with them about their views on if God blesses us with a little one. They hope it will happen soon,lol. If your two older boys play with the baby and talk about him then you should be just fine. My mother is the oldest in her family, next came a boy 3 years later, then another boy 10 years later, and then their last was a boy 3 years after him. The older ones did just fine with the younger ones. I think it had a lot to do with the fact they had family days and worked at knowing each other. Hang in there daddy things will be fine. Included the older children when you can into what is going on with the little one. Maybe let them help with taking pics, and other things so it helps bound the family together.

2 moms found this helpful

First of all... it sounds to me that you have some clinical depression going on... perhaps even post partum (yes, it can happen to Dads!) I think you are doing the right thing with getting counseling. Why have you not started taking your medication? My guess is that if you can stabalize your mood, some of your concerns will probably evaporate.

You sound like a concerned father... I'm sure your family is blessed to have you and love you very much. Try not to be too hard on yourself.

I am the oldest and have a brother 3 years younger, a sister 9 years younger and a brother 11 years younger. Its true that growing up we weren't terribly close. On the other hand, my parents had plenty of time to devote to the younger sibs since we needed less minute to minute attention. Your youngest may end up feeling like an only, or even another first child... which I think could be an advantage! Now that we are all adults, I am extremely close to my sister... not so much with my brothers. But it doesn't have to do with age gap... its just our personalities. Your sons may be close... or they might hate each other... as far as I can tell there's very little parents can do about it.

I'm not sure about having another baby so the little one can have a playmate... only you and your wife can answer that question. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

I'm happy to hear that you are seeking counseling and recognize that for the sake of your wife and 3 boys.....you have to deal with this now instead of bury it for later. I do agree with your wife........you are blowing this out of proportion. You sound like you have a terrific family. How are your boys acting with this new baby brother? Are they proud and involved in his care? I'm sure they are to some extent. And if they play together on their own right now.......that's totally cool too! After all......what can a 6wk old infant do with them anyway? LOL Not too much. As he grows, your older boys will be much involved in his life. I'm the youngest of 3 myself. My brother is 12yrs older than me and my sister is 10 yrs older than me. My brother is one of my very best friends. In fact, my sister-in-law was my maid of honor in my wedding. We are all extremely close. In a way, I shaped my own life by watching my older brother. They are wonderful parents and they have kind of always been my window into my future. =0) Your boys will have a great life together that will continue long after you and your wife are gone. They will become eachother's family and all their kids will be super close cousins to one another. Think of how rich and full all your future christmases will be with your boys and their future wives and all your future grandchildren..........................you have MUCH to look forward to with this precious new addition. Snap out of it and realize how blessed you are. =0) Start looking at all the positives and leave your own childhood out of the mix.

2 moms found this helpful

I think the issue lies with you and your relationship with your brothers. Maybe take some steps to tighten your bond with them?? It sounds to me like all the stress of the health issues, etc with this baby has caused you to start overanalyzing the situation and you have developed some anxiety issues. I am betting therapy will help. Good luck!

2 moms found this helpful

First of all, good for you for reaching out. There have been several recent studies on Postpartum depression in men, and how it affects many but few seek help. Don't let your wife dismiss your concerns any more than you would dismiss hers if she was PPD, but recognize that your fears and anxieties may be a little bit irrational, and hopefully the counseling and medication will help. Begin taking the medication soon, as mood-medications often take several weeks to kick in, so the longer you delay, the longer you will have to feel this way. As your son grows and his brothers begin to show an interest (he is pretty young and helpless to attract their attention right now), I think you will also start to feel better.

I also highly recommend that you get your sons involved in the care of this newborn baby. Many people make the mistake of thinking it isn't a boy's natural instinct or place, but brothers can have as many paternal feelings as sisters can have maternal. Make sure each boy has a job to do with the baby (something special, maybe - a specific playtime or feeding or something), and as this child grows, encourage your sons to watch out for him, to teach him the skills they excel at, and to create a bond with him.

My husband is 11 and 9 years younger than his two older brothers, and while they aren't best friends, they have good relationships and he visits and speaks to them on the phone pretty regularly. Your youngest son is not doomed to be lonely! In fact, he will probably get more of your undivided attention than either of his brothers did. I think a bigger risk is actually that you and your wife will be too tired to do a lot of the fun things with this child that you did with your older two. Make a point, when he is older, of taking him on fun childhood vacations and being involved with his sports or boy-scouts so that he will also get those experiences. When your son is old enough, get him a dog (or at least a hamster) if you worry that he will lack companionship, but personally, I think you'll soon see that everything is going to be all right. Take care, and hopefully the counselor will teach you how to start a more positive monologue in your head to help you adjust to this change in your life. Good luck.

2 moms found this helpful

To me it does not sound like you regret having a third child but rather that you are projecting your fears onto that child. Yes, your third child is probably not going to have a built in playmate in his brothers but he will be fine and he will have other friends. My mother has two sisters. One is 15 years older, one is 10 years older. As an adult, my mom is close with one sister and it has nothing to do with age. It is all about personality. She is not close with the oldest sister because their personalities are completely incompatible. I have a sister who is 19 months older than I. We were very close growing up. Now that we are adults, not so much. We just lead very different lives and she is not very good at keeping in contact. To me it sounds as though you have postpartum depression so hopefully the Lexapro and counselor can help you feel better and enjoy your boys. Good luck!

1 mom found this helpful

Dear A., I just wanted to write to say that you sound like an amazing father for caring so much about the welfare of your children.

I only have one child (for now) so cannot advise on the age gap issue from this perspective. I do have two older 1/2 brothers that I am thrilled they are in my life.

From my experience and reading between the lines of your letter, it sounds like you have fears stemming from your own childhood -- regarding the age gap. Because you are so aware, it sounds like you would do your best to encourage closeness despite the gaps.

as for a fourth child, that is a personal decision. I might first come to terms comfortably with the present situation before making that decision.

Your children are lucky to have you.

HTH. GL. Jilly

1 mom found this helpful

I hope you see this as helpful, because that's how I'm intending it.

Your fears and concerns are not logical. Not as in bad, as in not really directly related to what's going on in real life. It clearly seems that you have some underlying depression/anxiety issues and they happen to be manifesting in worrying about your son's relationships with your other children. But if it wasn't this, it would be something else. So there isn't really something that anyone here can say that would make you not worry. There's no magic bullet.

BUT I think you are very much on the right track with the medication and the counseling. That should help you work out both your feelings about your son and the feelings from your childhood that the birth of your third has roused.

So don't try to solve this problem now in any way other than focusing on yourself. Another baby won't help. You'll hopefully come to see that there isn't a problem to solve, it's simply the situation that exists.

I wish you all the best.

1 mom found this helpful

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