We have our first guest post! baby-names.tv is a site that has some great free articles on pregnancy, child birth and parenting. The article below that was especially written for the worrybomb site, and it covers an area that is occurring more frequently as families split and start over. Worrybomb was her fathers first child but her mothers forth, juggling everyone’s needs and concerns was not easy. Much of the article rings true to our situation, but I will leave that discussion until after the piece.
Your new arrival and your other children…how to make this a smooth transition.
The 21st Century consists of fragmented family life where it is commonplace for couples to have been married before and also to have children to their previous partners. The dissolution of these partnerships can be at one end very amicable where childcare is shared equally between both parents to the other extreme where the parents do not speak and all access is agreed through a court order. Its not rocket science to see which end of the scale is the most child friendly however it is important that when partnerships dissolve the interests of the children are kept to the forefront and for both sides to remember this and not make it a case of one-up manship!
There is nothing more exciting than the thought of a new baby in you and your partners life but it is extremely important to remember that all the interested parties have a right to become involved from the earliest opportunity too if they are to feel they are part of this new family unit too. Children will feel left out and resentment may stem if they are kept in the dark and are told of the new arrival by hearing it from someone else or by finding something bought in a cupboard!
When is the right time to tell your other children?
You may not want to tell anyone straight away when you find out about your pregnancy due to associated risk factors and telling your children at this point will definitely ensure that this news will not remain a secret! However once the first trimester has passed and the scan date is approaching then perhaps this is as good a time as any to introduce the subject.
If you have any of your previous children’s scan pictures available then perhaps use this as a means of introducing the subject. Most health authorities will let your siblings attend with you and your partner and will let them participate in the viewing of the new arrival!
There are plenty of books out there geared towards younger children that will help them learn about your new arrival. They will be bound to ask plenty of questions and ensure you answer them as truthfully and possible. It is an exciting time for them too and it is important to convey your enthusiasm to them as well and involve them as much as possible.
Younger children may want to touch, feel and listen to the noises made in your tummy. When the baby starts kicking, just watch the delight on your other children’s faces as they see a foot poking through!
When it is time to purchase items for the baby, take the family with you if possible. Let them help and pick out items for your baby. If not possible, give them some money and let them pick something themselves for the baby. It may not be something you would necessarily have picked but ensure that you put it on the baby when they are around and take a picture for them to remember.
It is important you have a birthing plan prior to your new arrival. The hospital you give birth in will let in siblings during visiting times as it is an important part of the bonding process for all concerned.
You may be too tired for children immediately after the birth but it may surprise you how much delight and joy they will bring when the see their new brother and sister. It’s not only a learning curve for you it is for them too! They may seem a bit awkward at first so it is important for both you and your partner to speak to them and teach them how to hold and speak to the new arrival.
It is not uncommon for children to throw tantrums and want attention. Remember some children may see the new arrival as a threat and therefore it is important to speak to them beforehand and allay any fears they may have. It is also important to speak to your partners ex partner and get them on board with ensuring the other children do not feel left out. Sometimes this is not possible so you may need the assistance of other family members i.e. grandparents to help with this task.
If at all possible arrange for someone to look after the baby and spend time with the other children by themselves. It is not essential that you spend a lot of money or buy them anything. Just take them away to a place where they like to go and spend some quality time with them. Try and do this every few months and let them know how important this special time is for you and how much you look forward to it.
Bringing up a baby is not only a life changing experience for you but especially so when it involves other siblings. It is important to get relationships right from the start and this means from when your child is developing in your womb to when it is born and growing up. For other children involved in the family unit, this can be a traumatic time where they question their parents love for them which can affect them in later years. It is therefore essential that a lot of talking is carried out both prior to and after the baby is born and also throughout the rest of their lives. It is essential for you to confirm that your love for them has not changed and also that there will always be time for them in your life.
By doing all of the above and by showing how much you love all your children will ensure that this challenging time is as seamless as possible and ensure your children will remember this special time for years to come.