How to break the pregnancy news to your firstborn?
7 minute read, Written By: Momly
Pregnancy is a time of joy. After you notice the early signs of pregnancy and have them confirmed with your health provider, you want to scream at the top of your voice about it. You share the pregnancy news with your family and friends because shared happiness multiplies happiness. But what about your firstborn? Are you well-prepared to break the news to him/her.
Momly moms poured their emotional outpourings over this issue and wanted to know how to broach the subject of a new baby with their kids.
The arrival of a new baby is not taken lightly by the firstborns. Jealousy, fear, the feeling of restlessness and anxiety get on their tender nerves. While some squeal with delight, many kids feel threatened by the new arrival, thinking they not only will claim their space but also will take up the lion size of their parents’ hearts, which until now belonged to them. Sibling rivalry comes first before sibling revel-ry, isn’t it?
Firstborns express their displeasure at the pregnancy news in a variety of ways. Some of the behavioural issues that bubble up underneath are moodiness and temper tantrums.
In addition, they also feel resentment. Retreating into a shell, locking themselves in their room and not participating in any family activities are some of the signs of showing resentment towards the news. Here kids will not verbally express what they are going through but they will give out these subtle signs to let you know their displeasure.
Let us hear what Momly mom Amrita Saluja has to say about it:
“Firstborns often feel dethroned after the arrival of the second child. Hence, they act unnaturally to get attention from their loved ones. “ Yes, we agree with what she says. Throwing tantrums or back-answering is one of the ways to seek attention. When they know that there is a new kid which is taking all the attention, they will leave no stone unturned to grab eyeballs.
Momly mom Ananya Gupta was worried about her kid. She says, “My kid has always been a gentle, obedient and good-humoured kid who behaves well and conducts himself with good manners. Lately, he has started hitting others, feels dissatisfied with everything and says “I am not happy”. He is 4 and a half years old. I am in my last trimester and I would want a solution to this as he will be a big brother soon.”
Let’s listen to some of the solutions from Momly moms
“Talk to him and make him feel secure about the bond you share with him. Build a healthy perspective about the baby. Say I love you as often as you can and hug him tight. He will get reassurance about how you feel about him. Make him part of the baby’s trimester milestones so that he doesn’t feel left out. Tell him you need his support and how it will give you strength to bring the baby into this world. Also, you can take him shopping to buy a gift for the new baby and secretly buy a gift for him. You can surprise with this gift when the baby is born.”, says Momly mom Amrita Saluja who is also a psychologist.
Richa Shukla, Momly mom, went through the same thing when she was carrying her second kid.
She says, “Assuring him repeatedly that new baby doesn’t mean mom loves him any less soothed him. I also planned activities with my firstborn so that he doesn’t feel left out. One-on-one time helped strengthen our bond”
“Since he is expressing himself, try talking to him and keep the flow of conversation on. Acknowledge and validate his feelings. Ask him to suggest ways to feel better”, adds Megha, Momly mom.
How to broach the subject with your firstborns?
Broaching the subject of a new baby to your firstborns is never easy but these are some of the incredible techniques you could try.
1.Choose the best moment- Even if you have rehearsed in your head what to say and how to say it, the outcome might not be what you expect. You can expect nervous breakdowns, resentment and umpteen questions. But if you choose the time when they are comfortable and happy, the battle is half won. For instance, it could be when your kids are having their favourite foods or fun foods. Thinking a lot, running through scenarios and acting wisely is the name of the game when breaking the pregnancy news to your firstborns.
2. Get a book related to the theme – Kids are always dreaming and are in the realm of imagination and adventure. Reading enhances their imagination and is best for parents who want to teach their kids about difficult subjects. Get a storybook/picture book that has to do with the topic of siblings. Tell them how great it is to be a brother or sister or that real-life superheroes and sheroes are nothing more than older sisters and brothers. Make them believe that they are on an adventure ride to protect their little sisters/brothers.
3.Involve them in every single step – Right from sonography sessions to designing the crib for newborns, you need to arouse their interest and involve them in the process of welcoming the new baby. Ask for their opinions and choices in decorating a room for their siblings. Kids love taking decisions and this would give them agency to choose and act like an adult. You can also shop for baby clothes and other baby care essentials together with your firstborns.
4.Plan a bond-building activity – Even though pregnancy can be exhausting, you should take some time for your firstborns. You can plan a movie time or an art activity with them. Line up different activities each week so that you don’t feel pressured and your kids are happy and content at the same time.
5.Give them some time – It is okay if they are not welcoming the new baby right off the bat. Do not push them too hard. Let them feel all their emotions. Not every kid will find the newcomer’s news rosy. Hold them close and make them feel loved even if they are not able to express much. They will come around when they realize that your love for them is unbroken and the arrival of a new baby will not change your precious bond.
Announcing pregnancy news to firstborns can be both challenging and exciting. Parents should be patient and understanding when dealing with them.