Having a favourite child is not something many mothers would admit to because of understandable fears it could hurt their other kids and cause tension between the siblings.
But one mum has now revealed one of her six children is closer to her heart due to a series of heartbreaking moments in her life – but she’ll never tell the others as it would leave them “heartbroken”.
Speaking in an exclusive chat with Starts at 60, the 77-year-old woman, who does not wish to be named, has opened up on the turbulent life moments she’s endured that have cemented her fifth child as her firm favourite.
“I have six children who assume the eldest, the only boy, is the favourite. So l must have disguised it well. It was only last week that I told my favourite daughter. She is sufficiently discreet to not tell the others,” she admitted.
While the loving mum knows all of her other children would be seriously hurt if they ever knew, she has found herself feeling closer to one of her daughters throughout her life all the same, “due to circumstantial reasons, rather than behavioural issues”.
“I married at 23. Our first child arrived 18 months later. The second was born 18 months afterwards,” she explained.
However, while the dedicated mum was in blissful happiness after starting her family, she admitted it was the start of a major downward spiral for her due to a series of health issues in the time that followed, and she began suffering from depression.
“As a result of using glyphosate to tame a new property, plus post-natal depression, plus a gall bladder operation followed by rheumatic fever, I visited my doctor,” she recalled. “There, I asked if my depression was caused by taking the pill and he told me, ‘You women blame everything on the pill’ and renewed my script for them.
“I stopped taking them in protest, and guess what happened! [I fell pregnant]. That news was too much to cope with. I spent a couple of months of that pregnancy in a psychiatric hospital because of being suicidal.”
Having received treatment for her depression, the mum revealed she finally welcomed a “beautiful baby” shortly after, but she was still battling her mental health issues at the time.
“I was still in denial when it was time to leave for the hospital, and told my husband he had better be there so there was somebody who wanted her,” she admitted. “As she emerged, the doctor told me it was another baby girl and she has a slight problem which could be easily fixed. He said it all in one breath. And although she was never treated any differently from the others, at the time of her birth, her need for extra protection ensured her place in my heart.”
The mum-of-four was then advised by doctors to stop having kids for a while to focus on her recovery, and she did just that – waiting three years before having her fifth child.
“When the time came to go into the small hospital to have her, I sat up in bed doing crossword puzzles all night, in between contractions, much to the amusement of the nurses,” she recalled, saying her fifth birth “went like clockwork”.
After that, the couple began to discuss measures they’d take to prevent having any more kids – happy with their five together – but as they began to consider her husband having a vasectomy, she fell pregnant for a final time.
“The birth was rushed because, as usual I was told there was plenty of time, so she was born in the bed! My tubes were tied next day. I bruised so badly I could barely hold the baby to feed her. But everything came right in due course,” she said.
Looking back now, the mum admitted she’s always favoured one child – her second to last daughter – simply because she came into the world after she had overcome all of her health issues and was finally feeling well again, ready this time to embrace motherhood once more.
“They were all good, happy babies. All were healthy and ‘good doers’,” she insisted. “But the second to last held a special place. She marked my achieving good health again. The actual birth was well-supported professionally, and maybe these things enable the special bond to develop very early. My children all assume they know which of them is my favourite, but they are wrong – and I’m not telling.”
While she never intends for any of her children to discover her feelings, nor would she ever want them to, the woman chose to open up on her decision in order to explain how life circumstances can often lead to mums creating particularly strong bonds with some children.
“I have come to believe that our experiences in life, in particular the negative ones, often do not ruin us, but can be to benefit others in the re-telling,” she said.