first time mom, need advice
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.