Super Single Mum's Blog

Life and all the shananigins!

1st Child Syndrome

I have just been reading the blog of fellow Mum Slummy Single Mummy, about how the age gap between our kids can effect the way we parent. It got me thinking…….

The age gap between my girls is 5 1/2 years and it was neither intentional or accidental. We had spent 3 years “trying” for B, I had ended up on the fertility drug Chlomid, and conceived on the 5th cycle. I had 95% convinced myself I would never be a mum by this point and that was something I couldn’t face. My pregnancy was not what I had expected. Don’t get me wrong, it wasn’t hard compared to others but I thought I would feel “glowing” for a whole 9 months, but morning sickness was constant through my waking hours till I was 6 months gone, when the indigestion and back ache kicked in. I hated the fact I was covered in stretch marks, I looked like some weird Zebra Woman hybrid!

She ain't heavy, she is my sister - The Hollies by martintoy.

I had a planned section at 40 weeks as the little tyke was breech. Having been convinced I was having a boy I was surprised to hear “It’s a girl” as she was briefly shown to me over the screen round my head! At the time I couldn’t admit to anyone – not even myself – but I felt like I was lost. I didn’t experience that 1st wave of emotion for B, in fact I didn’t even believe she was mine at first. It took me a while but eventually we built a bond. I grew to love motherhood but blocked my early experiences from memory.

With the hard experience of B, we didn’t really talk about having more kids until B was 3. I was back at work, B was completely dry day and night and as a couple we were getting some time back to us. Life was great and although we had said when we 1st married, that we both wanted a big family, we decided that we would only ever have B because we couldn’t risk her happiness on me having to go through fertility treatment again. We had tried a few times since she was born and never caught so said enough was enough. That all changed just after B turned 4. He had been away with work and came home and said he wanted to give it 1 more go, and see a specialist if need be. We set my 30th birthday as the time limit – if nothing by then we would stop and be thankfully for 1 beautiful girl. Nine months later I was staring at a positive pregnancy test and my gut instinct was pure dread and fear. In hindsight that was over my marriage which was about to crumble, but at the time I even contemplated not telling him and having a termination. (No-one knows that, not till now!) I had never felt so scared and unsure about what to do. I had a management position at work, a great group of no kids friends and a daughter who was at a stage where she was gaining independence by the day. It took me all of 1 minute to push that aside and realise I had conceived without intervention and was over the moon and so my future began.

So as you can see, neither planned or accidental, but the age gap exists. Now it’s not the gap I have an issue with. I had the same gap between me and my brother and my parents did a fantastic job at making sure we were both loved and supported in all we did, and family outings catered for us both where ever possible. What has got me thinking is the fact that B can see the difference in the way I treat them both. She is 7 now, so I do treat her completely different. Mentally she is probably older, she saw me go through a lot while I was pregnant and she had the upheaval of her Daddy moving in with her Mummy’s best friend, who she could no longer see. Oh and moving the length of the country and changing schools without any warning at all. It did mature her but that’s not always a good thing!

I do worry she will take the differences she see’s as meaning I love H more. I don’t! It is true that a mother loves all her children equally. I could never choose one over the other, but at the same time I see them as 2 very different people. H gets away with everything in B’s eyes, B copies H and doesn’t get away with it, H gets a cuddle when she wants one while B is expected to be old enough to understand she has to wait till I am free. I heard something that hit home last week – We spend the 1st years of our kids lives teaching them to walk and talk, and then when they can we tell them to shut up and sit down – that’s so true. H is always on her feet and jabbering away and that’s fine by me, but B gets told to stop it when she does the same! Hopefully in time B will see that things will change as H gets older too, but I do worry that because she is older I expect too much from her! Does anyone else worry about this?

Picture Credit: martintoy

February 23, 2010 - Posted by | Parenting | , , , ,


  1. Very interesting – I think when you try so hard for a child you put a lot of pressure on yourself to LOVE every minute of being pregnant and having a baby and it can be a shock when you don’t always feel like that. I imagine you must feel guilty that the baby you wanted so much isn’t instantly the love of your life.

    I worry too that I expect a lot of my older daughter, just because she is the oldest, and circumstances dictate that I feel very differently about them and treat them differently. It isn’t that I love one more, I just love them differently. I hope they will understand that, and realise that I am different with them because of who they are. Then again, maybe that’s just me having unrealistic expectations of just how grown up they really are!

    Comment by jomiddleton | February 23, 2010 | Reply

    • I am so glad I am not alone and yes you are right, I still feel guilt towards my relationship with my eldest even now and we ar very close now!

      Comment by supersinglemum | February 23, 2010 | Reply

  2. Thanks for using the photo of my daughters with the apropiate credits,
    Im glad of it, also Im using your link to post it in my facebook
    I believe my friends should read your blog.



    Comment by Martintoy | February 23, 2010 | Reply

    • If your friend enjoys the read then I also have a Facebook page – Super Single Mum, which I update with links to each new blog. Thanks for looking!

      Comment by supersinglemum | February 23, 2010 | Reply

  3. Interesting post, the age gap between myself and my sister is 4 1/2 years and I also thought my sister was more loved, got away with every thing etc, it was only as we went through our teenage years that I realised that wasn’t the case and if anything the tables turned and my sister was the difficult one! I’m sure that B will see in time that you love them both equally but they need different things from you at different times.

    Comment by Very Bored in Catalunya | February 23, 2010 | Reply

    • Thanks for you comment, that’s what I am hoping. I don’t really remember feeling like my brother was more loved or vice versa, he got away with different stuff and I do believe that in some cases parents can be more lenient when its not the eldest child – mainly because as a 2nd or 3rd time parent you know more and have earnt that some disciplines don’t always work! I think thats why I worry though, boys and girls ar naturally different so I do sometimes feel I wish I’d had a sister so I knew the feeling myself – if that makes sense!

      Comment by supersinglemum | February 23, 2010 | Reply

  4. I’m totally with you on this one – I have actually been accused of loving one child more than the other (by my husband!) but my circumstances are slightly different as Curly is my stepson, not biological. I was heartbroken/furious when Hubby said this. I have been Curly’s step-mum since he was 2yrs old and have always thought of him and treated him as my own. I tried to explain to him that I love them both equally but differently (a) because of their age and the relationship that I can have with them because of that and (b) because I carried Baby Bean for 9mths in my tummy! The reason I think he felt this way is because he sees the different ways they are treated, though I actually feel like I tell Baby Bean off more than Curly? With a 7yr age gap, its impossible to treat them the same but its a learning curve! x

    Comment by Sabina Green | February 23, 2010 | Reply

    • Hmm thats a hard one, maybe et him read my blog to see it’s not more or less it’s different. I worry the girls dad will judge me in the way I treat them, but he has never said. I also know I am more laid backnow we have seperated and that may affect my parenting. But the responses from this blog ave shown all parents feel like this at some point, I suppose acknowledging it is a good thing. I always view Curly as your son when he is out with us all, you come across as having a loving mother son relationship, like you say it’s just different. I have had to start telling H off this week, I don’t like it!!

      Comment by supersinglemum | February 23, 2010 | Reply

  5. Every day! The age gap is only three years but they’re so different that you have to treat each behaviour on its merit. I think the worry is more damaging than the behaviour though, they pick up more on your feelings than your actions so trying to find help with your feelings could be the key? I know it helped me x

    Comment by Millennium Housewife | February 24, 2010 | Reply

    • Yes I know what you mean, I do try and keep the worry to myself and I dont think they have pcked up on it – it’s just one of those niggles at the back of my mind!

      Comment by supersinglemum | February 25, 2010 | Reply

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