I’d never really thought about how to announce my pregnancy to the kids. It wasn’t until I was spending more time on the bathroom floor than playing with them that it occurred to me we really needed to tell them why mummy was so sick.
With my second pregnancy my son was still so young that I never had to decide on when or how I would tell him about the baby. It wasn’t until I was into my third trimester that I started discussing with him that there was a baby in mummy’s tummy and we started to read books like There’s a House Inside My Mummy. I still don’t think he really got it and it wasn’t until baby arrived that he showed any interest.
This time around it has been different. My eldest is now five and he’s much more clued in about what’s going on. He noticed that mummy was vomiting regularly very early on, and my “baby bump” which appeared at about 9 weeks was also a bit of a giveaway. In the end we decided to share the news with him at around 10 weeks, after my first obstetrician appointment and a quick scan to check bub was doing okay.
He was absolutely over the moon and has been beyond excited ever since. He asks every day how big the baby is and cuddles and kisses my belly whenever he gets the chance. As we had anticipated, after we told him, our news became public pretty quickly.Everyone from his teacher and school friends’ mums to the corner shop keeper heard about the baby in mummy’s tummy. In a way it made things easy for me, I was incredibly sick so having others know and cut me some slack took some pressure off me.
Looking back now, here’s some of my thoughts on when and how to announce your pregnancy to your kids.
Choosing the right time
While I would have loved to tell my five year old about the baby as soon as we saw those two lines on the stick, I decided this was probably not a wise move. Nine (ten) months is a REALLY long time for a young child so it’s generally a good idea to hold off for a bit before sharing the exciting news. If you are planning to have prenatal testing done you may also want to wait until after the results for this are back before telling the kids.
Depending on your child’s age, it may be worth waiting until there are physical signs of a baby in mummy’s tummy. Until they notice mummy’s tummy growing, very young children will find it difficult to understand the concept of pregnancy. If your children are older, then telling them a bit earlier may be appropriate. Obviously you don’t want them finding out from someone else so it’s generally best to share before the whole world is in on it.
Remember that it’s often impossible for a young child to keep something so exciting a secret. Don’t tell until you are ready for the world to know!
Don’t make it all about the baby
Just as introducing a new baby sibling is a delicate balance between excitement over the new baby and continuing to give attention to your older child or children, the same is true when you are pregnant. Think about what the baby will mean for them, how will they be involved, what special roles will they have? How can you involve them in the pregnancy in a way that is meaningful and fun for them?
Try not to make the next six or so months all about the baby coming. Don’t forget to give some focus to the child who’s already here!
Be prepared for unexpected reactions
Just as every pregnancy isn’t always met with unbridled enthusiasm from the parents, not every pregnancy announcement will fill the new brother or sister-to-be with joy. Be prepared for unexpected reactions and try to understand where they are coming from.
My eldest son started to panic fairly soon after he found out about the new baby over where he would go to sleep at night when the baby came. He currently falls asleep in our bed and we move him to his bed when we come to bed. He was worried that a new baby would mean the end of his night time routine. All he needed was some reassurance, but it is important that siblings get a chance to express any fears or hesitations.
Questions, questions, questions
“How did the baby get into your tummy mummy?”
It might be time to brush up on your birds and bees talk before your announce your pregnancy. Chances are there will be some tricky questions!
My son was mostly interested in how the baby would get out of my tummy, and whilst my husband was initially horrified that I let our five year old watch birth videos on YouTube (nice, peaceful, non-gory ones) it’s actually turned out to be fabulous for him. He knows exactly how it will all happen and he’s not fazed in the slightest.
So far for me the announcement of a new bub has gone pretty smoothly. Here’s hoping the arrival will be just as good!
How did you tell your kids you were pregnant? Did they take it how you’d expected?
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More for pregnant mums:
- 6 Tips For Introducing Siblings Without Tears
- 7 Sure-Fire Ways to Bring on Labour
- Healthy Alternatives When Pregnancy Cravings Strike