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first time mom, need advice

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

I think I just have a lot of feelings and emotions to process and want to come to a place like this and let them out and get support from this group. I have a lot going on and am feeling very overwhelmed, advice is appreciated here. A little background:

• My husband and I have been married for 2 years, together a total of 4
• He has a daughter from a previous marriage, who is 7. I did not have any children coming into the marriage
• I am pregnant and just found out I am having a girl, my first—his second
• We both have good jobs—he has been in his field for about 10 years now and I have been in my industry about the same—however; both going through divorces and having a lot pulling on our expenses has left us in a financial situation neither of us want to be in. We’re struggling right now, and making a lot of budget cuts to stay afloat.

Here's where all of the emotions bubble up:
• DH and his ex had no issues getting pregnant with their daughter. In fact, it was an easy road for them. We had a totally different experience, starting with frustration at our attempts in trying, to seeking a fertility specialists and undergoing some testing and procedures, to a miscarriage right before getting pregnant with our daughter. We were just about to start IUI when I got pregnant with appears to be a healthy baby thus far. This caused a lot of stress on both of our parts and unfortunately, a lot of resentment for me. I am, by nature, a happy and content person… but infertility coupled with a miscarriage was very, very difficult for me. Especially as a stepmom to a healthy, easy to come by child. It felt very lonely and like my fertility journey was one done in solitude since I was the only childless party involved, with no guarantee of the outcome I wanted. As much as DH was there to reassure me and go through all of the tests and measures, we both knew that if it didn’t work out, he still had a child and I wouldn’t. The nagging feeling of his ex being a fertility goddess in the back of my mind just replayed over and over again, and it became a competition of sorts—me vs her. I’d see pictures of them bringing the baby home or of her pregnant and intense jealousy and insecurities would creep in. If I’m being anonymous and honest—which I am here, it took a toll on our marriage and quite frankly, I think how DH perceives me. Prior to any infertility struggles, we had no other real issues crop up, and I handled it all so poorly. There were a lot of tears and breakdowns (by me) and a lot of hysteria because I felt like it would never happen.

• Now that I AM pregnant, finally—there’s all these other floods of emotions. Since it’ll be his second daughter, his family is already treating her as if she’ll be just like her older sister—and referring to her as “mini (stepdaughter)”. That irks me, a lot. I happen to like my SD quite a bit, but that doesn’t mean I want to raise my daughter to be a carbon copy of her sister and it is a constant reminder from outsiders that she was here first, and that me/my children will always play second fiddle to child and family #1. DH doesn’t subscribe to this kind of talk and quite frankly, thinks it is bogus since she’ll have a different parent, home life, stability, etc… but it still bothers me. My SD has a lot of the qualities of her mom, so it doesn’t feel like her and I are really all that connected at times, and I know that my daughter and I will have that connection, if that makes sense. DH is an absolute gem at navigating this—but really, what is he supposed to say to his family making remarks like that? It doesn’t come from a mean or malicious place, and if they knew it hurt my feelings, I know they’d stop… so it’s just an annoyance I kind of take as part of step parent life and try not to look too much into it. I am secretly a little disappointed that we aren’t having a boy, because I feel like it would be a new journey for BOTH DH and I, and not like an old hat. But, can’t change that. It also upsets me at times to know he did this already, because it seems so new and exciting for me—but there’s reminders its been done before. Like when we went to register and their old baby registry was still in the system, and when I went to sign up for coupons at the maternity store and his exes old physical address and mine matched up so it caused some confusion and I had to explain why we both had the same last night and address but she moved out and I moved in, etc. Any advice on how to navigate this particular set of emotions would be great—because I feel like I need to somehow make up for how unstable I acted during the year + of trying to conceive, I don’t want for every major life event to be a comparison of his ex and for me to automatically go there in my mind. But I also don’t want to ignore feelings and know that I can’t be the only one in a blended family who brought in no children, but then decided to have an “ours” baby

• Financially, we’re in a bad place. I wasn’t quite aware of just how bad until recently but—it’s bad. I feel terrible, because it’s not really something I can even control to a certain extent. DH had some debts coming into marriage that I was aware of, but we had a plan and he had a promotion in the pipeline and for the first year or so, we were doing OK. I got a raise and that seemed to offset it a little, but then I needed a new car and he didn’t get the promotion… plus a series of other obligations that came up financially in terms of home repairs, school costs, etc that have put us in a bind. We’ve obviously got child support payments, which aren’t going anywhere, but we also have the regular expenses like a mortgage, car payment, previous debt, utilities, food, gas, etc. The plan WAS for me to be a stay at home mom with our daughter, but it is looking like I will have to continue working and not be able to stay home with her. Again—this is where comparison comes in and I am feeling resentful that his ex was able to be a stay at home for the first few years and had that experience while financially, we cannot do that now and I will be working full time while my daughter goes to either daycare or a nanny. I feel very saddled in this particular area to his old life—particularly in the area(s) of child support and ongoing expenses because all of these were put into place before I came along and had to do with what he was earning prior to me, and his schedule of seeing his daughter prior to me, etc. I know, I know--- I knew what I was getting into when I dated a man with a child, so I really have no one to blame here but myself and feeling a financial pinch can happen in ANY family, I am just seeing our money, my money, go flying out the window to support her lifestyle mostly and to cover debts incurred when they got divorced. I think the things that bothers me the most is that I’m seeing our daughter might grow up in a home where we’re pinched in the budget area, but his daughter from his previous marriage won’t feel that same pinch—because SO MUCH goes out in support payments and medical coverage for her that their lifestyles might start looking very lopsided if we don’t find a solution to some of our money problems. We’re making A LOT of cuts to our budget and looking at selling our home to possible downgrade for a less expensive note, which also saddens me that we’ll need to do that in order to get by when his previous life with his ex was relatively cushy, from the financial side.

All of this to say—I’m pregnant, hormonal and trying not to let these resentments build up into something that ruin our marriage because we overall have a great one. He listens to me and supports me, WANTS my input in parenting and really takes my suggestions to heart, but I am really having a hard time letting his past go and looking at OUR future with optimism.

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

Where are you that you're seeing preggo pictures of BM? Or that you're seeing pictures of THEM bringing the kids home... Those shouldn't be left out in the home... And frankly if your DH is so absorbed in that, I'd be concerned.

Ignore what everyone is saying. Yes she will be your daughter's older sister, BUT you have to remember, you're the one raising her, she's not gonna be a carbon copy of her sister, even kids that are raised the same still develop completley differently from each other.

It's not necesarily you feeling jealous, I think it's the fear of the memories that your DH already has, and I totally get that. I have those moments. Or those times where I want a house and someone goes off about when they did, and it gets frustrating as heck! But your daughter is going to be a completley different being, she is something unique and special, and if your husband has any sense he's going to be super excited about everything, and in the moment he'll make sure it doesn't feel anything like being second fiddle!

I understand the resentment to debt... The "lovely" BM in our lives has left us with a mortgage payment of her debt, lost all our tax returns, and as a result we're stuck living with his parents... Which is fine temporarily, but we were blindsided and most of these got defaulted on, or the car repossesed (that she got in his name naturally) after we werre married. It sucks! The finances are a struggle, and it peeves me that most of their marriage BM got to sit around on her a$$, while I'm stuck living with my in-laws even though I'm working full time. I'd never sit around, but I do want us to have our own place and it's been a struggle to not be able to accomplish that. They were fine financially, except the fact she was spending him into oblivion while he was deployed.

I think you should sell the home, having a different address, a different home, and a different adventure would be good for you both I think. Plus getting yourselves a little more financially secure would help set a lot of those worries at ease as well. A new home, a new baby, some better off finances, that's going to be a totally new adventure you two have together!

If all else fails, remember YOU are the WIFE. She's an ex, and means nothing beyond having to co-parent. What they may or may not have had doesn't matter, focus on building your own home and on your daughter coming into your lives. I also suggest talking to your DH about how you're feeling, it may help make him more sensitive to what you need!

I know I haven't been pregnant, but your DH shouldn't be letting you feel like second fiddle. You're an amazing person he chose to marry, and your daughter is going to be just as unique and special and you and even your relationship with your DH!

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

Thank you for this! The way I know about the pictures are from a few placrs (social media and also in an album buried under a bed in a guest room that I uncovered when I moved in). DH didn't know about the actual album, and I never mentioned it because I felt like it wasn't mine to demand he do something with...but the pictures on social media are ones hesh tagged in from various people, so again--- they're there. Not like, hanging up in our home but, out there in the universe and I unfortunately torment myself occasionally and look at them. I'm not sure why, nothing good cones from it and now that I'm pregnant it doesn't bother me as much... But still, I am stupid for going back to them occasionally, especially dealing with infertility!


Thank you for understanding about the finances and not making me feel worse! It's so embarrassing to talk about to anyone in real life, because it's such a touchy subject

ProbablyAlreadyInsane's picture

I'd avoid the pictures. Remember you're his wife. Any pictures form before really just represent a failed marriage. Yours represent happiness. Also see if DH will let you toss the album or keep it in Skid's room if he thinks she should keep it. Then it's out of sight for yoU!

I understand completely. Finances are tough already, then throw in messy finances from your DH's past and it gets frustrating... Especially when you aren't able to live the way you'd like because of choices made not only before you, be either with or by someone who's not your spouse... So I understand!

If you need to vent we're all here and I'm more than willing to listen Smile

fairyo's picture

I'm so sorry you are having to put up with all this. Families often react in inconsiderate ways to pregnancy and because you are in a vulnerable place for the reasons you have outlined, then you may make more of these remarks that you may otherwise have done. Pregnancy makes us both vulnerable and powerful- welcome to that crazy hormone world! I think you should always, and everytime, put yourself and your baby first. defend your daughter in ways that they will realise that your baby will be a unique individual, separate from her half-sister.

Then try to put the finanacial concerns aside- your baby needs you to be relaxed and calm and babies don't care about bills or taxes- they only care about being loved by mummy and daddy.

His past will always be there, of course, but it needn't harm your future unless you let it. 

I hope you find some peace in all this, and start to enjoy the pregnancy you longed for. Don't let them spoil it!

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

All good points and you're totally right, babies don't know anything about bills and I just need to relax and focus on me and her right now, thank you!

pixielady's picture

I felt the exact way you did. DH has a 9 year old son with his ex and we have an 18-month-old together and one on the way. I have some tips and reassurances for you.

Re: pictures/social media. Please unfriend/block anyone who is friends with BM. This includes in-laws. Block BM too.

Re: comparing your skid with your own child. I too was afraid that DH had been there, done that, but when DS came along, it was very clear that he was a unique combo of me and DH. Not like skid at all. DH adores our toddler and our little family makes him happier than BM ever did. Keep in mind that he married YOU after having a bad experience with someone else. That takes guts and that shows how much he loves you. You say that your DH is wonderful, so most of these insecurities come from the unknown and fear. Rest easy that your child will be just as important to your DH>

Re: finances. Yes, things would be easier if there were no child support, but keep in mind that it's temporary. You may be in a tough spot now, but things will ease up over time. As far as working, honestly, I'm happy to be able to work. You go crazy with a baby or toddler at home all day! It's really tough! Plus, keep in mind that your baby will have the benefit of two married parents who live together and with her. That's absolutely priceless. So while your skid may have more material things, that doesn't mean a thing. My skid has a lot of material items, but he's not a happy kid. My child won't have as much, but he sees his parents together everyday. 

Re: your DH's family. Your skid and your child have two different mothers. The mini skid comments are garbage. Your DH should tell them to be a bit more sensitive, OR you can make comments back to them like "well, they DO have different mothers."

I know you're pregnant and hormonal, but take it from someone who was in your shoes not to long ago. These things will fade into the background. 

Oh, and I agree with Probaby above about moving into a new house for a fresh start for both of you.

Best of luck and enjoy that new baby! You have a supportive husband- that's 99% of the battle won.

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

Thank you so so much for this response! So happy to know that I'm not alone and that you've got a success story .

And you're right, a happy home is MUCH better than material things .

I think with the house I was worried it'd seem like we had somehow failed as a couple and as providers if we downgraded and that it'd be fodder for anything regarding the ex, from petty remarks to keeping SD from seeing her dad nore if we tried to rearrange custody...but, I just can't worry about that right now .


Thank you Smile

notasm3's picture

First of all DO NOT WORRY that your daughter will be a mini-me of your SD.  I have a friend who had 3 daughters in an intact marriage.  OMG - those 3 could not be more different.  And that's with the same parents in one home.  Those girls are all now long grown.  Still as different as can be.

Second - your daughter may have less financial resources when she is small, but things will get better long-term.  They always do.  Plus your daughter will have a home with 2 parents together - that's worth more than money.

Thirty+ years ago (I am old) I was just almost destitute.  I'd lost my high paying job and was left with a house payment that was only $300 less than my take home income from the only job I could find. I couldn't sell my home as home values had crashed and the value of the home had halved. (Texas oil collapse in the 80s) My credit cards were maxed out.  I was dying.  My BFF and her DH were also living hand to mouth.   None of us had an extra dollar to spend - seriously.

Now many decades later.  I am retired (with a great DH) and have no real money issues.  While we are not wealthy we can do pretty much what we want.  I recently went to the wedding of my friend's daughter (I am her godmother).  They now live in a beautiful home and had a really lovely wedding for their daughter that must have cost a lot of money.  And they are not the type to go into debt.  So let me give you some hope that even if you are horrible in debt and living paycheck to paycheck it is possible to have a happy ending long-term.

None of us won the lottery or ended up working for a company with off the wall stock options.  I certainly didn't marry into money.  My DH had virtually nothing when we married.  We all just worked hard and kept plugging on.

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

Your story gives me a lot of hope. I've always been good with finances, or good enough to not make any big missteps. I always bought the cars or house I could afford, saved, put aside retirement funds, etc .We're not extremely young and just starting out, either. I'm in my 30's and DH is almost 40 so you'd think by this point we'd acquire *some* financial stability but we're just not there . It's not like we have an outlandish lifestyle, either! It's just that $1,000/ month in CS, hundreds more in insurance, hundreds more in school costs/uniforms/supplies/lunches and now we're out $1,500-$2,000 depending before any of OUR bills and additional expenses. So, its tough to feel like you always do the right thing and give to others (whether it be financial or otherwise) and just want karma to cut you a break Smile

marblefawn's picture

The good news is you already know a lot of this is in your head so you can chase it out! This stuff is just noise! That feeling that none of this is new for your husband -- noise! (It's his first baby with you!) That feeling that you need to make up for how you acted when trying to conceive -- noise! (It's history!) That feeling that of dread when the registries turn up with his old life -- noise! (Now you've set the record straight and it won't happen again!)

And really? A fertility goddess? How special do you think that fertility goddess feels now that her marriage erupted and her husband is married to someone else and her kid is being raised part-time by another woman? Divorce is not a success story. And honestly, any loser out there (well, most of 'em) can reproduce. Fertility is not a competition. It's a biological function, and the worst parents in the world managed it. The real race is how well you parent. Keeping your marriage together is part of parenting, so focus on that and stop looking at social media ancient history.

You control the noise in your head, so start pushing that noise down as soon as you hear it. It's your mind and only you can let that negative stuff in. But in fairness, remember how hormonal you are -- you're creating a life, for god's sake! That's hard work! But it's still your mind, so it's up to you to get busy or negate that noise when it enters your mind. You can do it -- as easily as those thoughts creep in, push them back because that stuff is not real. It's a twisting you're allowing of the facts, so stop it!

And besides, you're creating a human! Only give that girl good thoughts because she's counting on you to stay stress-free and positive so she has the best chance in life. Remember how desperately you wanted to conceive? You did it! Enjoy that and use it to push out the negative stuff. Everything's going to be alright.

On that "mini ***" stuff, I think there are a lot of women out there (I'm one) who would not like being called a mini version of their mothers. Your poor SD is being referred to as someone who her father divorced! And I do think it's disrespectful to you for them to constantly bring up the ex's name, even in reference to SD. If you like SD, you're ahead of most of us, so maybe defend her -- gently -- to send a slight message. When they call her "mini-***," what if you said, "I don't know! This girl has an independent mind and she's going to blaze her own great trail!" or something positive like that -- assert that SD isn't just her mother's daughter...she's going to be her own independent spirit. It doesn't matter if it's true or not, but it might make them see SD in a new light -- and since they aren't calling her that in a malicious way, they might drop it. If that doesn't work, pick the family member you most like and just ask them if they could reduce the references to BM because you want SD to really feel like part of your family when she's with you -- not an extension of a divorce. If you don't feel comfortable saying it, ask your husband to gently say it. After all, he probably doesn't love being reminded of his ex either, especially if his SD really does take after the woman he couldn't stand to be married to! It's important for the extended family to move on from that marriage too and bringing up her name all the time just stalls them in the past.

I feel like a lot of this stuff will melt away once your poor body can focus just on you again. You have no idea how much your body is doing right now! I mean...imagine it! Yea, finances are a concern for many people. You're in a hole, but you cut costs and enjoy the free stuff: a SD you actually like, a new daughter who will be your joy, a marriage that really is a first because it's the first with YOU. Cut out getting your nails done, trips to the hairdresser, cable if you can stand to, maybe trade-in a newer car for a reliable older model that isn't a gas guzzler. Consider using reusable diapers (huge cost cut here and better for baby's bottom) -- it's a big movement now. Do the math on the daycare/nanny option: how much will you really save if you work full time? Maybe part-time would be more profitable and you'd get more time with your baby. Do the math.

I think you're in a slump because your body is working overtime and you're overwhelmed at these negatives thoughts. If you aren't turning them into a bestselling book, they are wasting your energy and supplanting your joy. Try to fight them and if you can't, think about taking a bigger step to reducing them: a support group, talking with other pregnant ladies, a therapist, or talking to your doctor. But it still sounds manageable, so go make that baby in good spirits!

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

The "mini" comments are more geared towards my daughter turning into a mini version of my stepdaughter. Although my SD IS a mini version of her mom, so I guess it is one in the same Smile

You are right, though-- it's all noise and it's all getting to me because I am allowing it to get to me. Which isn't how I normally am and it's all just such new territory for me with all of these crazy, insecure tendencies and emotions!

SteppedOut's picture

My former in-laws used to try and say babyBS was "just like" formerSS. They did not look alike AT ALL. My babyBS was hitting milestones early, while when formerSS was a baby he was late - to the point former MIL was worried about it and wanted extra dr appointments. 

Yet....babyBS is JUST like formerSS! 

It's just one of those irritating things people do; I am unsure why. 

Sotired345's picture

How far along are you?? I’ve been where you are I had fertility issues as well but wound up having 2 children with no aids of medication. I went through tons of testing as well. I can only say I did exactly what you did and constantly worried. My in laws did the same thing but different. It was more about her being a big sister then me being a first time mom. After my first was born it was all about giving SD extra special attention. 4 years later she’s still getting it. Please try to stay calm and try not to think about them. Focus on you, the baby and start surrounding yourself with people that can help you celebrate your first experience. Going through infertility and a miscarriage is taxing for any woman but to experience that and be in blended family makes it 100 times worse. Take care of you and your baby. Don’t worry about stupid in laws. I want to share something with you. When I was pregnant with my second we went out to eat with my in laws. Me, H, my son and stepdaughter. They were going on and on about how SD was going to be big sister again and didn’t even acknowledge that my son was going to be a big brother. It was all about her. Less and less I respect these people. 

Pregnantwithquestions's picture

Hi there! I'm 21 weeks now-- so over halfway there! There's been a lot, a tremendous amounts of focus on my SD becoming a big sister-- that has been more of the focal point of the conversation with my in laws than anything else, really. And in truth, I like my SD a lot but she's not my biological child and I don't feel a parental attachment to her a lot of the time-- she has two involved parents, so I don't really give a lot of headspace to how she'll react, because it's not that I don't care it's more like-- what can I really do about it? I'm not her mother, her mother is very much in the picture-- as is her dad, and her grandparents and a line of people all fawning over her wellbeing. I'm more worried about MY daughter coming into this and feeling like it is a competition.

SteppedOut's picture

You are not "wrong", they are. 

Heaven forbid the child might feel like they are not 100% most important! It will be your job to make sure your child doesn't feel that.