My fear was that D would be confused about my role in his life once the baby was born, or that the baby would imitate him and call me Rosa instead of “Mommy.”
Those concerns have recently become more pressing as this situation has started to play itself out.
Why? Well, I’m 10 weeks into my first pregnancy – and while I couldn’t be happier, I was nervous about telling D that he’d soon have a little brother or sister. I wasn’t sure how he would take it, especially since he’s four and has always been an only child.
How did the conversation go? Pretty much as we expected. We told D that he was going to be a big brother and while he acknowledged the news, he was off and running to play with his toys a second later. My husband and I looked at each other and wondered if he’d even understood what he’d just heard. But the next day, without us instigating the conversation, he started asking questions about the baby.
He wanted to know where the baby was going to sleep, if it was a boy or girl, and did we have it’s bottles yet? He knows the baby is in my belly and that it will be a while before it’s born and he is just starting to understand that he has to be more careful with me and can’t just jump on me when I’m laying on the couch. He has even started looking through his toys and deciding which ones he’s too old for but that will be good for the baby. It’s so very, very sweet.
One question that I was waiting for D to ask, but didn’t expect for some time, was the subject of parental roles. He understands that his daddy is the baby’s daddy, but he wanted to know if I was going to be the baby’s mommy. When I said yes, he didn’t seem upset by it – just curious. And it’s a topic that I know that we’ll have to address with him as my pregnancy progresses.
While I may be biased, I believe D is a truly thoughtful, insightful, emotional, smart-as-a-whip little boy and he will deal with this situation like he deals with anything else: assesses the situation, understands the dynamics, gets comfortable, and allows it to become part of his normal.
Over the next seven months, my husband and I will have to make sure that D acclimates to having a sibling. How will we do this? Using the same strategy that has so far allowed us to raise a child that doesn’t throw tantrums and deals with changes in a positive and low-key way.
Lots and lots of communication. As long as we tell D what he should expect in advance and explain to him why things change, he’s fine. He likes his routine and isn’t crazy about when it changes, but as long as he understands the “why” behind it and is able to ask all the questions he wants, he will be okay. His adaptive abilities are strong, as they are with most children.
My goal during my pregnancy (besides, of course to deliver a healthy baby), is to make D comfortable and to help him look forward to being a big brother. He should understand the importance of his role in the family, that our love for him will never diminish because we have a new member of the family, and that even if we all call each other different things, we are still a family and we are in it together always.
I’m excited for the road ahead and look forward to sharing this new stage in our blended family.