Pregnancy in a Blended FamilyKatlyn Joy |19, November 2013
Bringing together two families is a challenge to say the least. Now that you are pregnant, you will be adding a new family member that will be the only child with biological ties to both parents in the household. If your blended family is strong, bringing a new baby into your home should go quite smoothly. However conflict, hurt feelings, and resentment in the children may occur if not handled correctly. Here's how to avoid step family problems when you're expecting.
When do you tell your children that you're pregnant?
Many couples will wait until the first trimester has passed and the big risk of miscarriage has diminished. It might be hard if you have older and more intuitive kids, especially if you have morning sickness or other tell tale pregnancy signs!
Limit the circle of those who know about your pregnancy and make sure your kids are the first to know. Be sure not to let them find out from anyone else. If one grandparent or extended family member knows you're pregnant, you run the risk of the cat being let out of the bag, creating confusion and hurt feelings.
How do you tell your children you are pregnant?
You will probably be nervous when you annunce to them that they will soon have a little brother or sister. This is normal in all types of families! When telling your children that you are pregnant, reassure them that they will not be demoted, and that they will be loved as they always have been. This is important for them to know, no matter how old they are. People are not born with a limited amount of love and your love will not run out! However, this will be your children's biggest concern, so be sure to address the topic first thing.
Answer any questions your children may have about your pregnancy, the new baby, and any impact on their lives that a new baby may have on them. As long as you listen to your children's concerns and answer them honestly, everything will be okay! If your children are older, your number one goal will be to assure them that their lives will be not be impacted negatively. Make sure your also follow through on your promises.
Preparing Your Children for the New Baby
If your kids are older, and it's been awhile since they've been around a baby, give them some insight into what to expect when your baby comes home. Let them know it will be a tiring time for you in the early weeks of pregnancy. If your kids are younger, get books and talk to them about becoming a big brother or sister.
Don't let kids feel pushed out to make room for the baby. Should you live in a smaller home, make sure your kids do not feel like they are losing their space. This will lead to resentment. You may need to reorganize your home to make room for your baby, but your children's space should be left untouched — if possible! Make decisions together as a family, compromise and everything will work out just fine.
If your kids visit their other parent during the week, make sure they don't feel put in storage. Have a space that is theirs — if only on weekends. Keep their personal items at your place so they don't have to cart in everything each week. Make sure you have pictures displayed of all family members, and don't put any one child's picture in larger frame than the others'!
Your children also have a big role to play as well! If you kids are younger, take them to a sibling class to teach them about baby care. This will help build excitement about the new baby and show your child that they are a part of this new venture too! Show your kids how they can help with the baby if they show an interest.
Don't impose on the older kids to be babysitter, housecleaner or anything of the sort. Yes, all kids should be doing chores and pitching in. It's important for character development and for running the household. However, if you make big changes to their responsibilities when your baby arrives, your kids may feel more like the help, than family members.
Both parents should make a point of spending quality time individually with each child, and developing that relationship. This will enforce to them that they are just as important as everyone else in the household. If the new baby is getting gifts and attention-galore, be sure to have a stash of little special things to pass out to the other kids as well.
When putting together the baby album, pull out the other kids' baby albums and go through them together. Sharing memories is a family building activity.
Adding a new member to your step family will be an adjustment for everyone, so be sure to give all family members time to adjust. If any of your children begin to show resentment, hatred, depression, or anxiety, this may be a sign that it is time to have your child speak with a counselor. Be sure you are there for your child during this difficult time. Older children may have a hard time speaking to their parents about their concerns out of fear of rejection. Suggest to the counselor that she mediate a conversation between you and your child to support open and honest communication.
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