The happy news that you are going to have a baby, may be exciting for you and your partner. Yet the truth is, this same news doesn’t always go over as well as expected when it comes to the children you already have. And really, why should it? When they hear you say, ‘I am going to have a baby,’ what they hear is, ‘I am no longer going to be mom and dads favorite (or only – or any other adjective you could insert). Expanding your family, while your life long dream isn’t always part of the preferred plan when it comes to your children. They may really like things just the way they are, and wonder why in the world you would want more children when you already have them. It can probably be traced back to the fact that children don’t understand the expanse of parental love and see the new baby as something that deducts from them, rather than provides benefits.
So how, when, and where do you tell your children that you are having a baby? Experts, of course have differing opinions. Some say honesty is the best policy and that you should allow your child to partake in these gleeful moments right off the bat. When you are ready to share with close family members, they advise you to also share with your children. First. The thinking behind being open about it from the beginning stems from the fact that children tend to get antsy when they feel mom and dad are hiding something from them. Their small minds won’t be able to understand why you didn’t just tell them, and why you left them out of the loop for so long. Plus, by telling them in the beginning, you allow them more time to adjust to the idea of having a sibling.
Another benefit to spilling the beans about your little spout is that it may help them understand why you haven’t been feeling up to snuff lately, why you have had to go to the doctor, or even why you are sleeping a little more lately.
Other experts advise waiting. This too isn’t a bad idea, especially if your children are under the age of 3. Truth is before three, they don’t really ‘get’ that you are carrying a baby in your belly. Despite showing them pictures of the time when you were pregnant with them, the whole ‘baby inside mommy’s tummy’ is a pretty far-fetched concept that may make you seem more alien like than real.
As for how you tell them, this differs from parent to parent. If you have older children who understand pregnancy, then it’s probably best to just say, ‘hey by the way I am pregnant,’ while you serve dinner and wait for the responses to unfold. You could also plan a big dinner out at a family favorite spot and turn the secret unveiling into a family celebration. There is no one choice of words that is better equipped to handle the situation. You just need to know your kids and try to understand how they might be feeling.
Keep in mind as well, that adding kids to the family especially if you have older children, may be an embarrassment to your children. Some kids will get extremely angry about the fact that another baby is on the way, especially if they feel the family is crowded enough. don’t be too terribly hurt if they spout off some painful words that seem to say you are crazy for having more kids. Some children get extremely angry, and show not one hint of excitement or desire to be included in the pregnancy talk, and do not take well to having their mother pregnant at all. And while the baby will come anyways, the adjustments afterwards still will be difficult. You have to realize that the decision to have more children is yours, not your child’s and that they don’t have to love the idea (or even like it). Chances are they will come around after the birth, but even this may be slow.
Last but certainly not least is the fact that your children will have fears and anxieties that revolve around having a brother or sister. They will wonder if you will love them the same, if they will still spend time with you, if you will still be around for them. Imagine if you can for a moment, how the thought of a parent having more children can make your child feel like they are being replaced. Even though you know that’s not true, your child doesn’t. This is one reason why talking about it early, and giving your child time to adjust to the idea may be so important. Just think, experts say that the family dog can get jealous of a new baby and hurt it’ so be compassionate about what a human being can feel.
You may also have to tell your child over and over again just how much you love them. (Not that you don’t already) It is also normal to see children sort of revert to behaviors that are more childlike once the news is released. They often start acting out at home, and in school as a method to get your attention. All of this is normal. Just be sure to keep reassuring your child, and to try to keep them included in the pregnancy as much as possible. Additionally, respect the fact that there will be times when they don’t want to talk about the baby at all, and instead want you to focus entirely on them. Since this may be one of your last opportunities to do so, it is best indulged.
When it’s all said and done, there is no perfect guarantee that you will have the ‘perfect’ family. Mostly because it doesn’t exist. But you will find that your child/children will eventually adjust to life with baby. One day, they too will wonder how they lived so long without their little brother or sister, and all this worrying will be for naught.