August 14, 2010,
A.D. asks from Indianapolis, IN on August 05, 2010
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.
E.C. answers from Chicago on August 06, 2010
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.
M.M. answers from Hickory on August 05, 2010
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
L.M. answers from Philadelphia on August 05, 2010
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
M.C. answers from Nashville on August 05, 2010
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
M.B. answers from Colorado Springs on August 13, 2010
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
A.C. answers from Cincinnati on August 05, 2010
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
A.S. answers from Davenport on August 05, 2010
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
J.R. answers from Miami on August 05, 2010
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
J.M. answers from Boston on August 05, 2010
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
P.M. answers from Portland on August 05, 2010
I've known so many guys in their mid-to-late 40's who suddenly find themselves dealing with depression, probably exacerbated by the famous "mid-life crisis." You're on the younger edge of this trend, but the stresses of bringing a new life into the world and your family could certainly make you more vulnerable.
Please don't have a child for the purpose of quelling your anxieties. It could just make them worse until you know what the basis is and how to treat them. And it's not a good plan to have a child for a child – there are no guarantees that two kids close in age will be close emotionally, or good playmates. And your 3rd son will be, in some ways, an "only" baby, and may very well suffer the same pangs of frustration and rivalry that first children often do.
It's good that you're getting yourself into counseling – that along with an antidepressant will probably have you feeling much more in control within a few weeks. From all reports from friends who have gone that route, you will be amazed at how different the world, and your problems, look from that new perspective. I hope you'll wait until then to make any other life-changing decisions – particularly about bringing another baby into your family. You'lll want to be in good shape emotionally to think that through rationally. Take things a little at a time. You'll probably be glad you did.
All the best to you and your family.
1 mom found this helpful
L.S. answers from Chicago on August 06, 2010
I can't respond directly to this question as I just have one child right now but I think that definitely your own feelings as a third child come into play just like many of our own childhood experiences and memories affect how we relate to and raise our children. I think finding some guidance around this from a therapist would definitely help you work through this!
Separately I mostly replied to this post because I wanted to point out how great is it that you reached out for help through this medium even though you are a father. It made me think of how much fathers need to be supported to and how compared to mothers who often get together with other women to discuss everything and also have websites and other resources like this, fathers are less likely to discuss these things amongst other men.
Maybe men like you could encourage Mamapedia or another we resource to start a Papapedia?? Or maybe start your own?? I think it is very much needed!!
I honor your great honesty and willingness to share with us. Best of luck!
1 mom found this helpful
J.T. answers from New York on August 05, 2010
FOr what it is worth my husband is the youngest or 3 brothers one 5 or 6 years older and the other 10 or so years. They have a great relationship.
How your children interact with each other will change many times as they grow older... maybe your oldest will teach your youngest to throw a football and your middle guy will help him practice baseball... as a parent you can help foster these relationships.
It is good that you are addrressing your health issues - just hang in there it will all work out.
I will say a prayer for you and your family.
1 mom found this helpful
A.B. answers from Atlanta on August 13, 2010
I am 11 years older than my brother and 7 years older than my sister. We are all very close. It's about how you're raised. Your family is going to be fine and you have a great baby! Take that Lexapro and feel better soon.
1 mom found this helpful
E.L. answers from Los Angeles on August 05, 2010
I am so sorry you are going through this. I remember your earlier post. I almost shared but saw so many similar stories. My husband is friendly but not close to his brother that is two years older. He is extremely close with his brother that is ten years younger. They talk, text, and email every day. When we watch home movies we see my husband at ten carrying this newborn brother around. In Christmas movies we see my husband setting up younger brother's toys and playing with him. Bonding doesn't have to be about age. My husband wanted a playmate and sought out a relationship with his younger sibling. That said I think you need to give yourself time to respond to the therapy you are in. Because I don't think this is about the new baby. I think the baby triggers these feelings within you.Based on what you shared this may be about your feelings over not being bonded to your brothers. The best thing you can do is be as honest as possible with your therapist and put every effort into whatever they suggest. Maybe even print out your two posts and share them if you haven't already. It is wonderfully encouraging that you are so open with your thoughts and feelings and have sought help. Continue to work on recovery, that is the best advice I have to offer. And again, I think the baby is the trigger, not the real problem. I know it is one thing to say this, an entirely different matter for you to stop fixating. But again something your therapist will hopefully be able to help with. Good luck!
1 mom found this helpful
J.B. answers from Kansas City on August 05, 2010
I agree with the other posters - I think it's great that you are getting counseling. I have concerns about our children in the sense that we have 2 right now and are considering having a 3rd. My fear is that having an odd number will result in one feeling left out all the time. But I am not sure I really want 4 kids either. I had been thinking we should wait a few years so the 3rd is five or six years younger so the older two have their own bond and the youngest is sort or more like an only child. Sounds like you're feeling like that was not a good choice. So do we just not have a 3rd to keep it even? Basically I say that to let you know that I think lots of people are concerned with these types of things because they just want their kids to be happy. But there are way more factors to that than birth order. I think no matter how many kids you have, or how their ages are spaced, as long as you make sure they know they're loved, that's all anyone can ask.
1 mom found this helpful
L.S. answers from Los Angeles on August 05, 2010
It sounds like you have some post partum depression going on right now.
However, you are on the right track in that you realize there is something going on, you've obviously sought medical attention and you've set yourself up for counseling. Excellent.
My brother and sister-in-law have three children: a boy of 13 years, a girl of 3 years, and another girl of 4 months. After 10 years of infertility, they finally conceived again -- twice. My nephew, their eldest, is a wonderful, wonderful helper and lover of his two young siblings. They are a close family and I imagine they will forever be, despite the age gaps.
My husband and I, on the other hand, only have one child -- mostly by circumstance. Our daughter will never have a sibling. BUT ... we focus on the positives of our family size and don't dwell on what could have been or what isn't. Why do that to ourselves? We can only work with what has been given to us.
Very best of luck to you; I know this will all be put into perspective for you soon because you have reached out for help.
E.R. answers from Chicago on August 07, 2010
What you have going on there sounds to me like a reactive depression, characterized by negative and highly subjective and sometimes obsessive thinking and an inability to have any objectivity and thus balance in your moods and outlook. Since you are having such a impact on your family and functioning is hard for you I suggest you get started with the Lexapro rather than wait. Please find a good therapist to diagnose and treat this even if you have to try more than one. Save decisions about more kids til you feel better - and back to yourself. Which you will ... don't loose hope. As an experienced therapist I've seen many folks with a depression like this improve with good treatment. And spend some time sorting through your own family of origin experience with a therapist, I know doing that really improved my parenting to say the least.
A.U. answers from Los Angeles on August 05, 2010
You've had alot of responses so I'm sure they covered alot more than I can. I just wanted to offer one piece of advice based on experience...
My Husband is exactly 10 years older than his little brother. The little brother was a surprise in his family. His parents were working so much they didn't have loads of time for the new baby so my husband took his little baby brother under his wing and made him his protoge of sorts. He taught him everything.... from sports to drawing, and changed his diapers and let him sleep with him when he had nightmares. Now that they are grown (34 and 24) they have been best friends and the closest brothers I know since I met them 8 years ago. It's really remarkable. My husbands brother calls him all the time to ask for advice, to joke around... they hang out together, go traveling together... The younger brother keeps my husband feeling young and my husband keeps his younger brother in check. My husband also has a brother 2 years older than him--- and you know what? They aren't even close and never have been--- too competitive.
You never know how your childrens' relationships with each other will turn out. Maybe to help foster this kind of closeness you could ask one of your boys to take the new baby under his wing. Ask him to "show him the world" when he's old enough to see it. Ask him to be in charge of teaching him how to kick a ball and talk to a girl. I think having brothers this much older will be a complete blessing for your son--- he will have someone to look up to and emulate. And you can know that he always has his older brothers watching his back.
Good luck! It will all work out :)
M.G. answers from Chicago on August 05, 2010
As long as you love your new baby, everything will be okay. You can't control the age difference, and he may even appreciate being younger. He'll eventually get more quality time with you after his big brothers get older and are out of the house. The age gap will only be a big deal if you make it one. I don't think your son will regret being born or be angry with you for the circumstances. You shouldn't be upset with yourself for making the decision to have one more baby.
J.S. answers from Dallas on August 05, 2010
I commend you for know you need to get help. I think what you are feeling is pretty normal for a "new" daddy again. Just take a step back and reevaluate everything. Spend some one on one time with your new little guy so you can give your wife a break. This will help you connect with him. As for the age difference between your boys, as long as you love them all equally and show them the same attention and they know they are loved then they will grow up how they will grow up. You can't make then be nice to each other in adulthood or even make then be close. My husband and his brother are 13 months apart and dont talk regularly, and my brother and I are 15 years apart and we see each other regularly but dont talk much. That is something that they will figure out when that time comes. I hope everything works out for you and I hope you find your happiness again.
A.N. answers from Los Angeles on August 05, 2010
Let me give you something to think about although it's a little different. My best friend and I have 2 boys similiar in age, hers are 3 and 1 year. Mine are 4 and 18 months. She also has an older son who is 16. I totally hear where you're coming from, as I thought about this when she had her two youngest, they will have no relationship with their older brother. I am totally wrong. Although your youngest won't have a sibling playmate due to the age difference, he can still have a relationship with his brothers as my friends sons do. Her oldest son babysits, and has a great relationship with both little ones. Once he leaves the house, we have no idea what will happen, but making sure that they have plenty of opportunity to form lasting relationships is the most important. Again, I see where you're coming from, but I think since your aware of the situation, you and your wife will make it a priority to make sure the relationship between all the kids is a strong one. Good luck and remember that there are only children out there who have no siblings like myself, and I would have been grateful for any age/gender sibling. You learn to make lots of friends that are just like your brother and sisters, like my best friend!
K.B. answers from Los Angeles on August 09, 2010
I applaud you for reaching out for help. I have read the replies that have been submitted so far, I cannot add any thing different. Love your family you have got, Take the meds now, make sure you get an excellent counsellor. Dont worry about the age differences. Try and talk with your wife..she will be an important part in your recovery..it helps if she understands you. As the best for your blossoming future
M.V. answers from Houston on August 05, 2010
I just want to say that it is so hard to be a parent and there is so much to worry about and the "what ifs". I have two boys ages 5 and 3 and a girl 14 months. My husband doesn't want any more children and I worry my daughter will forever wish for a sister. There is no guarantee we would have another girl, but some hope. I have several friends who are the only girl in their family and they tell me they have always wished for a sister. It makes me so sad sometimes. (I have one sister and no brothers) I love my little girl so much and her brotherts adore her. She has brought so much joy to our family.
God planned for your third baby. He gave you this gift without fertility treatments. Your son will be so special as the baby of the family. But, maybe when he is one years old talk with your wife about trying for another. Include God in your conversation, pray about it, and he will lead the way. For now just enjoy your precious baby. I bet his older brothers already adore him! He is so lucky to be so loved! They grow up so fast!
B.C. answers from Joplin on August 05, 2010
My children are spaced very far apart and they are all very close ( just turned 3, will be 10 in October and will be 15 in December)
That being said, you are by no means a bad person for feeling as you do. A lot of times we have very little control over how we feel. If you are clinically depressed, depression is an illness, you can't control whether you get a cold simply by saying I don't want to have a cold right now or it isn't conveniant for me to have this flu this weekend...depression is like that. I am so proud of you for acknowledging you feel the way you do and that you are seeking help. I have no doubt that the feelings you want to have or think you should be having instead will come with time. Do you know that not all moms bond with their baby right away? Women can go through something called post partum depression as well. I think you are on the right track. I can't imagine anyone not being supportive of the actions you have already begun. I wouldn't suggest having another baby as an answer to "this problem" as you put it. I have to say our third was unplanned and I was really unhappy through out the pregnancy, but we are 3 years into this little guys life and it has been amazing and we cannot imagine our lives without him. I wish you all the best. Depression is a real illness, it is not within your control but through therapy and medication you can help to control it...please don't be so hard on yourself.
T.C. answers from Colorado Springs on August 05, 2010
I'm sorry you are having such a hard time with this situation. It shows how much you care and love your children, which is such a wonderful thing. Remember that you, as the father and head of your house, that you have great influence in how the relationships are forged, even now at their young ages. We have children ranging in age from 18 down to 4. Our olders adore the youngers. When my baby was born 4 years ago, I had the older boys spend a great amount of time holding the baby. In particular my 12 year old son held his baby sister for a couple of hours nearly everyday as she napped. They are so incredibly close now. Whenever I ask her who loves her, she nearly always says this brother's name first before she goes through the line of everyone else in our family. We do so much together as a family. We have given the olders responsibility to shepherd the youngers. They are all so close. We do not have each one in their own activities, but we do things as a family. We have a ton of fun. It is not a punishment. But, we have chosen to make family relationships a huge priority in our lives, not individual pursuits. Yes, we've done individual music lessons, but that's about it. We socialize with others as a family. We have entire families over at a time for fun. When we have just a child or two over, they ALL play together. The kids are not allowed to exclude a sibling. Their first loyalty is to one another. Never would a non-family member come between siblings in this way. So, you can make it a point to start teaching your older boys now that they are to think higher of each other than themselves. They are to care for each other, share with each other, spend a lot of time together. When they are peer dependent, then the family structure dissolves. You have a choice here. And, you are in a unique position as the father and leader of your family to set a tone of respect and love for each other. It's an exciting and wonderful place for you to be. Many blessings to you as you sort through these issues. Love your kids. Teach them to love each other. And, praise the Lord that you have a wife who loves her children, too. Encourage her and you will be fine.
A.F. answers from St. Cloud on August 05, 2010
Hi there! I think you have gotten wonderful advice from these moms here, and I think it's wonderful that you are able to express what you are feeling!
I don't really have any advice, just some encouragement. My sister is 11 years older than I am, and we are best friends. I talk to her every day and we visit each other a couple times per week.
Your newborn can absolutely have a wonderful relationship with your other kids, despite the age difference. Get your older kids involved with the baby, just with everyday things, and you will be helping their relationship grow.
My dad is one of 14 kids, and he is close with his oldest brother, who was out of the house by the time my dad was born. Take heart! This could be the start of a beautiful sibling relationship!
Keep up the good work with the counselor and the meds. I know it feels hopeless now, but give it some time.
You are a good dad to care so much!!!
P.W. answers from San Francisco on August 05, 2010
Start taking that Lexapro, it sounds like you need it.
Don't overthink this -- your boy will be fine. Don't have another child to give your son a companion -- that's not a good reason to have a kid and there are no guarantees that siblings will be good friends anyway.
A.F. answers from Chicago on August 06, 2010
I don't think you're awful, I think you're honest. Please start the meds - even if it is just to "get over the hump". I am very glad you're seeking help with this situation. I am sure as your youngest gets older your anxiety will resolve. He is not "condemned" to a lonely life because his brothers are older. He has you and his mom, and there's no reason to think your older boys won't be interested in him. As the parents, you and your wife will dictate how involved the big brothers will be. If you make everything a family affair, then there's a good chance the boys will be close. My older sister is 8 years older than my younger brother and that gap is not too big.
Naturally you can't help the way you feel, so please do continue to seek help. I took Zoloft for post partum issues and have no regrets - it took the edge off and I was able to discontinue after a few months. Best wishes for a happy healthy family and congratulations on your newest bundle of joy.
S.H. answers from Chicago on August 06, 2010
Although your son may never have a really close relationship with his siblings, it does not mean that he will not feel loved. They are many happy only children out there because they got to spend a lot of quality time with their loving parents and close friends. There are also a lot of close age siblings that hate each other and fight all the time making family gatherings unbearable especially when they get older; I belong to one of those families. So yes having close siblings is nice to have, but not a guarantee. What you can control is the amount and quality of time you spend with your new son and hope that your other sons will be as happy to spend time with their new brother as you are.
M.M. answers from Chicago on August 06, 2010
I think you are just focusing on this particular issue because it is an issue for YOU. May be it will not be an issue for your son. You never know... The 4th child may not solve the "problem" because you cannot guarantee that he/she will get along with your #3.
I have two boys, the age difference is 9 years, they along well, there are ups and downs, but that is life. My DH and I are focusing on our relationship with each child more than on their inter-relationship, we think that if the children will connect to us they will connect to each other. We realise that when the older one will be in HS the little guy will be a first grader, and when the younger will be in HS the older may be already married :) So what? I am sure we all will be happy to be together, talk and share. The kids will find their points of connection....And if not - we will be there to help, to steer, that is what parents do...
Just enjoy the baby, let his personality emerge. The other thing, you cannot make kids love/relate to each other, they will do what they will do, you can only foster connections and hope.
I have 2 siblings, one close in age and one 10 y/apart. With the older one we just have more experience that the little sis, so we give advise, insight. As for really being close, I think we really close to our mom (all 3 of us) and with each other we just get along. That does not bother me at all. We all come to this world alone, we each have a path to get through, sometimes we have a company and sometimes not.
C.E. answers from Provo on August 05, 2010
please don't take offense, just think about this statement's truth. your sons are not you or your brothers. there are really many possibilities of relationships your sons can develop between eachother. and their level of enjoyment with eachother, or annoyance with eachother, will differ throughout the years. if at any time over the years your youngest seems left out or lonely, you can introduce him to a neighbor, cousin, friend from church, etc who can play with him often. but don't worry about it until it happens. for now, be proud of yourself for the good things you are doing to take care of the current needs of your family and be happy with their joys. think of some ways that you can connect with your own brothers, or at least write down the experiences you remember of being with your brothers. it may shed some light on what it is you are really trying to correct. i think you are also on the right track with seeing a counselor and taking meds. make sure you read the possible side effects before taking the meds so that you and your wife can recognize them IF they happen. congratulations on your new addition to your family and have fun with him!
S.D. answers from Phoenix on August 05, 2010
My heart goes out too you for your sadness. I think Counsoling will help a lot and help you deal with the issues.......having a 4th baby will not fix the problem.....it will create new anxiety and new worries if you and your family are not WANTING it more then just to have a closer sibling. I think you have a lot to deal with from past childhood yourself that you may be carrying over to the new baby. I think as he grows and becomes part of the family , you will see that these issues are not going to be so much at the surface.
I think as women, we all go through these same fears and anxiety with children being far apart in age, having too many then we can afford, having jealousy issues with the baby and older kids......it is HARD. So give it time to adjust to this new member and it will get better......we all surrvive.
K.E. answers from Buffalo on August 05, 2010
OH this is tough when you have lived it yourself. I think if you talk to your older 2 and make sure they NEVER leave him out. As far as making a playmate for him, that is up to you, My situation hopefully will shed some light for you. I am the only girl of 3 kids and I have 3 kids myself and only 1 girl too I get the judgment from others that I should have a 4th child so she has someone to play with there is no guarentee you will have another boy or I will have another girl so they have a playmate. Kids will make do with what they have. Playdates with his own age, and brothers that pay attention to him he will be fine.
Your feeling are what they are and now you just need to see that we all are afraid that our children will not get along(I hated my older brother and mothered my younger) we also worry that they will be healthy or not. These are commen worries of a parent; however, we need to find a balence so the worries do not make us regret the child themselves.
Love your child and take each day 1 at a time. Please do not worry about 5 years from now that will come in due time. Love that little boy hug him and kiss him everyday.
Heck give him one for me.
:0) Smile you have a wonderful family and as long as love is in the home everyone will be great!!!
C.W. answers from Detroit on August 13, 2010
I have an eight year old son from a previous marraige and a soon to be one year old little girl. They absolutely adore eachother. I could not have asked for anything more for my son. I really think that things will get better and you will see how much your children will love and appreciate eachother. I wish you luck and hope that soon you will see what a wonderful addition your new son will be to your family. Get the help you need and enjoy your family. Good Luck!
P.K. answers from Chicago on August 09, 2010
It's only natural to worry. I am the middle child in a family with 5 siblings. I am thirteen years older than my younger sister and we couldn't be closer. I am 9 years older than my younger brother and again we couldn't be closer, etc. From my experience, your children may not share the same friends in their youth but as they get older, age will not matter. Your older two just may turn out to be good babysitters for your youngest in the future too!
D.P. answers from Raleigh on August 05, 2010
I am 35 and have two much older brothers- my next closest is 49 and my eldest brother is 60 next month. My mother had me at 41. I kid my mother all the time that I am a semi- only child, due to the fact that both my brothers were grown my whole life.
While my eldest brother has lived in another state my entire life (he was 25 at my birth), my middle brother has been a constant in my life. My parents divorced when I was 5 and my father has been pretty much out of the picture. It was rough for my single, working mother, and I was so lucky to have such a doting big brother. My brother came by every day after school when he could, watched cartoons with me, played with me, took me to movies, taught me how to ride a bike, how to play sports, how to drive a manual transmission, etc. I have so many wonderful memories with him and even my eldest brother- just not in the conventional "we played together" way. Since I never knew better, I don't miss having that brother or sister close to my own age. I always had lots of friends and was the center of attention to my mother and my two wonderful brothers. Don't get me wrong- there were times when I would get lonely. But even a kid in a house full of siblings can feel that way. Just think of all the things your older boys will share and teach your youngest! He is a very fortunate little boy.
I hope once you address your anxiety and depression, you will see things differently. If you want to have another child, then by all means, go for it! Just makes sure you are doing it for the right reasons, not just your own feelings of anxiety or insecurity.
Hope this helps.
T.T. answers from Dallas on August 05, 2010
I understand EXACTLY how you feel although our situations are different. I got pregnant at 37 and I'd only known his father for 9 weeks. My older children were 18 and 14 at the time. I thought I would be ok with having another child. I thought that since I loved and adored my older two that I would in turn love and adore this one but that wasn't the case when he was born.
I had a hard pregnancy. I was older. I was tired and when our little man finally can't into this world it was via c section and not "naturally" the way my older two came. I didn't bond with Milo and he didn't feel like he was MY child until he was almost a year old and even then he felt almost foreign to me. (I compared it to having a grandchild. Loving him from a distance.)
Don't get me wrong, I loved him and breast fed him and held him but there was no "mother bond" there at all with him in the beginning. I think that same feeling holds true for daddy's too.
For the record, I too have contemplated having another child so that my youngest won't be alone. My older children are out of the house and he is virtually an only child. But I am 40 as well and that's simply not an option for me.
I would recommend some antidepressants and counseling. I did my time with that so that I could come to grips with the fact that even tho this was unplanned, and he didn't come into the world as I would have liked, that he too is a blessing. Took me a LONG time to get over that.
I can say honestly that my relationship with my youngest is different than I have with my older children. But I can't imagine life without him and I imagine that you too will come to that conclusion as well in time. Contrary to popular belief, i think men can get post partum too and well it manifests different in men.
The age gap in not the issue here. I can guarantee that your children do not see older or younger, that will come when they hit their teens...lol They see little brother, a sibling, someone they can torture later (kidding). What the issue is is how YOU see the youngest addition to the family. Don't hold that against him because he is the youngest. He is going to be just fine.
Sending good thoughts your way.
S.E. answers from Chicago on August 06, 2010
Daddy you are having severe sympthoms of anxiety and depression. The Lexapro will definitely help. However, take it at night before you go to bed.
The counselor will help you with issues related to anxiety and problem solving. Family counseling may help your wife may help her understand what you are going through.
C.M. answers from Austin on August 05, 2010
Please go see your family doctor. They can give you a referral to a psychiatrist who can get you on a good anti depressant. Believe it or not, men can suffer from post partum depression, too. Get some help.
D.W. answers from Indianapolis on August 05, 2010
Well, I commend you for being so honest and candid in your post. Congratulations on your new baby, and congratulations on being big enough to indicate and recognize moments of personal weakness. I wish your wife were more supportive. Congratulations for taking the steps to address the issues.
Most of us have experienced some kind of anxiety/depression, and it's really hard to admit. I had it very badly after I finished 5 months of chemo. My daughter was not yet 9 months old when I had my last treatment. My son was 2.5. I did go through several months of therapy to help me adjust to a new normal. It helped tremendously. My only reason for opting not to take medication was because we didn't know what caused my cancer, and I needed to fix me.
I want another child, and I worry each day that it may not be fair to my husband or kids if I do have another child and a recurrence of my cancer. Indications currently are that I'm healthy, but there are no guarantees in a post chemo world. We both (husband and me) fear what could happen in the future, but at the same time, the opportunity to bank another child's cord blood could provide me life-saving stem cells should I have a recurrence and give me the opportunity to experience infancy again without being in a chemo stupor.
Our neighbors had a similar situation. They had 3 children, accidentally conceived a 4th child several years younger, and chose to have a 5th so they all had siblings in the same age range. Then, Dad got a vasectomy.
As the youngest, myself (5 year total separation in age from oldest to youngest), I often felt left out. I was treated more like a middle child than the typical spoiled youngest.
My only advice is to stick with the plan you have already drawn-up. Take the Lexapro (though it is one of the weaker SSRI's - Selective Serotonin Reuptake Inhibitor) and see how you feel 3 months from now. I hope your family is more encouraging in the mean time.
E.C. answers from Chicago on August 06, 2010
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.
J.P. answers from Boise on August 05, 2010
It sounds like you know that you need some help and are getting it. That should help you work through those feelings of guilt. I would focus on the joy of this new little baby boy. The fact that he will get extra attention being the baby since the brothers are a bit older and will be in school. I wouldn't worry about the age gap. My sister and I are 2.5 years, and she HATED me growing up. The relationship is more about the personalities of the kids, not the gaps that they have. I know many people that have large gaps between them and while it may not be the same type of relationship that those 1-2 years apart have, they have very loving relationships and are very close. You can also foster a good relationship by stressing the importance of being a good big brother to your older boys, and involve them as much as possible.
Things will get better for you, and you will continue to be a great and loving father.
N.J. answers from Houston on August 14, 2010
Allow them to help take care of the baby...they are old enough to love that sort of thing. Also, try to make sure that they spend some sort of time together daily. I think that worrying will not result in anything good. Be content and grateful for your life: your wife, kids, and simply everything "little" thing that you have been blessed with.
Keep doing a great job being a father! Worry about nothing, pray about everything!
C.R. answers from Dallas on August 14, 2010
I think you might be worrying to much. Sometimes that happens when you've gone through something that was difficult. You can sometimes began to try and foresee problems in hopes of being prepared the next time to solve them. You sound like you are not able to move past the negative feelings and worry that you've had to carry for the past months. Now that you are in a position to take a breath and things have slowed down you are starting to deal with the feelings that you have carried around for the past months instead of having to always be in "stress" mode. It is very wise that you find someone to talk to that is impartial to this situation. We all need guidance and validation to help us work through our time of fears, anger and sadness.
Don't think that you should make any big decisions like having another child until these feelings are resolved though. That wouldn't be fair for you or your family.
A.A. answers from Chicago on August 05, 2010
I think you need to take a deep breath and try and relax a little. Definitely see someone to talk with, such as a therapist that can be an unbiased third party to help you talk through this. I think your feelings are very normal and justified and that with some time and talking through them you will move past this. Give the medicine a try too, it can't hurt. Nothing wrong with taking some medicine to help you out of the slump, it doesn't mean you are failing or giving in. If you were diabetic and needed insulin, you would take it right? Your mental health is just as important and if you need some medicine to help you out until you get to the root of the problem and are able to work things out, there is no shame in that at all--in fact you are doing it for your family, because they need a happy healthy stable dad and husband.
Second, accept that your son will be some distance in age from his older brothers. No--he may not have that close sibling bond like the older two, but he will make friends and have plenty of fulfilling relationships over the years. Just as you have. It sounds like you are projecting your feelings about not having a brother close in age to you onto your child and that is dooming him from the get-go. Would you feel the same way if you had had a girl? I do understand where you are coming from, but only children turn out just fine all the time. With this child, just make it a point to get him more involved with playgroups, neighbors kids, cousins of the same age, etc... It will take a bit more work on your part but thats not a big deal. Just think-- this one will be able to have more of your attention and time (while the older ones are in school), he won't have to share his toys all the time, and he had two built in protectors in the older boys. There are lots of benefits to being the youngest with a big age gap--try and focus on the positive and that you have a wife and family that you love. I really think you are identifying too much with this new young son and you have some things to work on within yourself related to this.
As for having another child, definitely don't try and go for it with the reasons you have given. No child should be brought into the world simply as a playmate for a sibling. After you have dealt with what you are going through and if then you feel another child would be a joyous addition to your family then maybe, but not to try and correct a "problem". You would just be opening up a whole new cans of worms and trust me that whatever is really bothering you about this child will still be there when child #4 comes along. Hey they don't call it a mid-life "crisis" for nothing....Joke. But seriously, your son is very new and this is a huge upheaval in your life and it is normal to feel the way you are. Just get some help before it starts running your life and you miss out on this precious time with you new family. All the best!
T.F. answers from Los Angeles on August 05, 2010
Sounds like you are having a lot of anxiety and are obsessing over an age difference, which, isn't all that big. When the boys are in their 20's and 30's and older, it will be even less significant. Look at what you and your wife have, instead. Eachother and 3 healthy boys. I also have 3 boys and I was regretting not having a fourth but as they all got older the dynamics changed and they are fine. Don't have another child for that reason, alone. Mine are closer in age than yours but a loving environment is exactly that. Try some meditation to ease your anxiety. I have a brother who is 8 yrs younger and lives 3000 miles away. We love eachother in spite of not really spending a lot of time together when we were younger. We got closer as we both got older. No worries.
K.E. answers from Denver on August 05, 2010
Fist of all I want to say you are not an awful person. I am glad you are getting help because I think counseling will be able to help you through your problems. We all worry about our child having the same issues as we do, but try to remember that every family and its dynamic is different. Since you are worried, know that you can encourage your older boys to interact and do fun things with their brother, but don"t force the issue. Even if they aren't as close as kids as adults their relationship will change. I grew up as the baby my gap was 8, 14, 15, 16 years with my siblings. Growing up I I was really close with my sister that was 14 years older, and I adored my brother who was only 8 years older than me. Now as an adult my sister that is 16 years older than me is my best friend, in spite as when kids we annoyed each other greatly. Even though they may not call each other, but when they spend time I see a close bond with my husband and his baby brother ( 12 year gap) What my rambling point is, that your children may have different memories and different bonds with each other than you and your siblings.
Again it is normal to worry about our kids, and anxiety and depression makes it hard for us to work through our issues, so try not to be too hard on yourself. Your little guy is loved and you are a concerned and caring father, or this wouldn't be eating you up so. Best of wishes to you and your family.
S.H. answers from Richmond on August 13, 2010
My husband has a son from his 1st marriage that we have custody of (he lives w/us and sees his mother every other weekend). He is 14. We had a son together that will be 2 next month! Those 2 boys adore each other. Yes, our older son gets annoyed when his brother goes in his room and pulls his stuff down or messes with things but that's going to happen regardless of the ages! We too worry about basically raising 2 "only" children but there are worse lots in life. I think we take some comfort b/c a close friend of mine is 12 years older than her brother and they are very close. Also, my husband has 2 cousins who are 10 years apart and they are close as well. Your youngest will have the benefit of 2 older brothers who have "been there" when he has tribulations in his life. The younger will look to the older and the older will lead them through life's ups and downs when you are no longer here. Take comfort in that and seek counseling for yourself. I wonder if you aren't having some "sympathy" postpartum depression (people might laugh but those things are real). Good luck.
E.S. answers from Chicago on August 06, 2010
Hello- I am so sorry that you are having such a difficult time. For as much as we love our children and want the best for them, it is really tough to be a parent. I also want to commend you on considering the thoughts and feelings of your newborn boy. He is lucky to have such a caring and thoughtful parent in his life.
As far as the depression/anxiety goes, you are absolutely doing the right thing by seeing a counselor and possibly taking medication. If you were prescribed the medication by your family doctor and your appointment with the counselor is coming up in the next week or so, you might wait to begin taking it until you talk to your counselor about the use of the antidepressant, especially if you are worried about taking it. If you aren't worried about it, you could begin taking it and talk about it with the counselor when you see them.
As far as the age gap goes, I have sisters that are 13 years, 8 years, and 5 years older than me. My parents worked to create and environment where we worked together and relied on each other a lot. As a result, I am very close with all of my sisters and their families. We all still get together with my parents for holidays and often for our birthdays. Parental encouragement can do a lot in this department. I do not feel that your son will suffer because of age differences. He is going to be fine and will benefit from the guidance from his older brothers. Also, even after his brothers are out of the house when they become adults, he will benefit from having more attention from you and your wife.
I would say try not to worry, but you are a parent, so you will, but in the meantime, know that you are doing great things by dealing with these feelings head on and seeking help from a mental health professional.
Take care and good luck!
T.B. answers from Chicago on August 06, 2010
I am sure you are not the first person to ask this question, nor will you be the last, don't worry.
About the age gaps, my husband and his younger brother were 6 years apart. They are the best of friends! Myself, I have a younger brother who is 22 years younger than I am. Talk about an age gap! I feel like an aunt more than a big sister, but family is family and I love him dearly. I think your kids will be just fine.
J.G. answers from Chicago on August 06, 2010
Hi New Dad,
I too became pregnant at age 40 and my youngest was 15...I understand exactly how you are feeling at this moment...the daughter that I had almost 23 years ago gave birth to her own daughter on July 20th...the baby my new granddaughter has been on a ECMO machine and has been fighting for her life since that day...she has had numerous operations because of complications...I'm there at the hospital everyday and stay all day long...I have not been able to hold her except to touch her tiny fingers or parts of her body that are not covered with wires and tubes...the one thing that I have found comforting is my faith...I do pray every waking moment and I believe that our dear Lord will watch over her, as I know, He is watching over you and your dear family...my prayers and thoughts go out to you, that you may find peace and understanding.
H.H. answers from Hartford on August 12, 2010
it is good that you are looking for help on this, congrats on that step. it is not abnormal to worry about your children, to think you made a wrong choice, afterall you want the best for them. Really though I know that a lot of people have kids close in age so they can be close to their siblings, but honestly that is not a guarantee. people are very different and just bc they live together and are about the same age does not mean that they will be BFF. my sis and i are night and day and yeah i love her but I was never close to her at all. you can be sure that your LO has lots of playmates his age, friends and people to turn to by helping him make friends his age joining a playgroup stuff like that. he will not be lonely he still has siblings to look after him and to turn to and they are older and wiser so that might be a very good thing. he can be BFF w/ the neighbors and still love and talk to/play w/ his sibilngs. I am sure he will be fine, you are doing a great job. xo
M.D. answers from Pittsburgh on August 05, 2010
I agree with Joanne T. the age gap is not an issue as long as you take steps to address it from the beginning. It seems as though you have already spent a lot of time worrying about it, maybe concentrate more on ways to help it. A friend of mine has one child 7 yrs old and just had a new baby and shared your same concerns. If you foster the relationship with the other children and the new baby it will grow as the children grow. It is just something that you have to continue to remember as they get older, including the youngest brother is not a hassle if it is something that is always routine. Plus older children love to be idolized by younger siblings and will always want that admiration as long as they help they give is not a requirement. It is good that you can recognize the signs are seeking outside resources for "depression". As long as you work on your feelings and can take steps to make things better, it will all work out. You are a good parent, give yourself some credit.
C.L. answers from Philadelphia on August 05, 2010
First of all you can't help the way you feel. But the child should not suffer it was not his descion to be born.
I would go for some therapy. You might be depressed. I am a mom so it might be different for a dad. But I was depressed after I had my boys but I was not depressed after I had my daughter.
Don't beat yourself up. I was also one of three kids. I was twelve when my brother was born. My sister was 8 1/2yr when our brother was born. We are a very close family. My kids are close they are spaced a bit. Our oldest is 10 1/2yrs,(boy) 6 1/2yr (boy) 4 yr (girl) they for the most part get along nicely.
If your interested in possibly having a 4th child here is an alternative. For the past two summers we hosted a child from NYC its a program called "The Fresh Air Fund" You would host a child for 1-2 weeks in the summer give that child experience they would not have in the city. Such as swimming, green grass, star watching. Good luck. I will say a pray for you.
M.H. answers from Atlanta on August 05, 2010
Well Dad, I hate to say this but you need to take it like a Mom, one day at a time. My sister is 13 years older and my brother is 11 years older. I was my parent's second family as described by my sister and sometimes I felt like an only child when I was little but I have a great relationship with my siblings. (It would be better with my brother if he wasn't married to a monster, lol) My sister and I have always been close and still to this day are....I'm 52 and my sister is 65 so I have some experience here.
I don't think this has anything to do with the baby. I think maybe he was the catalyst but 40 is a hard time for men. You're life is changing and here's this little guy to help you start over....It's like groundhog day all over again, lol. Women go through this at 30...men more at 40. Ask my husband.
Lexapro won't help long term and I don't think it ever helps short term either. One of the side effects is depression.....aaarrggh! and you have to wean yourself off it when you decide to stop it. Pull yourself up by your bootstraps, talk to the counselor and take care of your lovely family. This may take time but realize everything does. Don't lose hope. My mama always said, "this too shall pass."
M.O. answers from Denver on August 05, 2010
Remember you are not alone in what you are feeling. My youngest is 7 and she has two older brothers now 13 and 15. The age difference is not a problem for them. It seems to be helpful in more ways than I thought it would be. The oldest is now a great babysitter and the other brother is the "protector". Of course, they have their sibling moments but for the most part they love each other and don't seem to mind that she is so young. She is also mature for her age and wants to be just like her brothers. Also, in this mix is my step-daughter who is 26. Yes, 19 years separate my husbands girls. It seems crazy but it is great to see our girl (who is now an Aunt) playing with our granddaughters. Enjoy your new little one and don't worry any more. Life has a funny way of sovling these matters on its own. Everyone is so worried about age and how to look younger or older that we forget to look at each other and ourselves for what is on the inside. Hope this helps. Take care.
S.M. answers from Dallas on August 05, 2010
It sounds like you are depressed. Good job with taking the first step by making an appointment with a counselor. I would try talking to the counselor before you start any meds and see if that is enough. I used to take meds for depression and they are very difficult to stop taking (but if you feel you need the meds, then by all means, take them. only you know your own body). As far as the age difference, don't beat yourself up about this. Having kids closer in age doesn't necassarily mean they will have a close relationship. My brother, sister and I are close (my sister is 2 years older and my brother is 2 years younger than me). And we don't have that close of a relationship. Never have. My sister might as well be from another planet, and I have only recently started having a closer relationship with my brother. So age difference doesn't really mean much. Your son will make friends that he can play with. Just remember that you are not a bad person or a bad father for having these feelings. These are just issues that you will have to work through with a counselor, and I'm sure you will be able to work through them.
J.V. answers from Chicago on August 05, 2010
Sounds like you have postpartum depression. I would think that some therapy and medicine might help you start to think more clearly about this.
Whenever I feel "icky" about something, it is usually just the grumpy, tired me finding something to feel "icky" about.
You have a newborn! It's hard!!!!!! I am sure you will feel much better once you start getting some sleep.
S.M. answers from Kansas City on August 05, 2010
I think it sounds to me like your concerns are stemming from the deeper anxieties that you have been feeling over all. I recently went through my daughters pregnancy with her in the house. This was my first grandchild, obviously her first child, and the only time I have ever or will ever been close to someone pregnant (besides myself :)... I think I now understand what the poor husbands go through! The whole ride was not nearly as fun as a close outsider as I thought it would be. My grandson was born in a hospital that was stupidly unprepared, was overdosed on narcotic during the birth, almost died and spent a few days in the NICU. I worried constantly over the pregnancy and my little girl and watching her give birth was downright traumatizing for me!
Even though I understand much of what you felt, I am still a woman and I've always loved kids and I run a daycare. So that's where my personal understanding ends. My grandson is growing up in the daycare. So he has close playmates. My youngest daughter is 10. None of my adult children are ready to make him any cousins and his mother is only 20 and not intending on another ill-timed baby brother or sister. So I can understand what you are saying. And yet, I know that daycare is a nice substitute for siblings.
If your wife is not willing to start a daycare another close sibling could be awesome! I would be over the moon if my husband would consider another and I'm 43 with a 10, 19, 23, and 25 year old! Alas, he won't.
What does your wife think about the possibility of another little one?