The excitement of a pregnancy and the life impact of having another child is not only between you and your partner if you have another child or children. The arrival of a new baby will be a life changing effect for parents and siblings of the newborn. Naturally not every member of the family will be as excited as you are. By handling the situation appropriately, you can prepare your child for the birth of the baby, ensure that he or she does not feel neglected and keep sibling rivalry at bay. But is it better to start sooner rather than later?
There is no textbook to say when you should or should not tell your child. Some ‘experts’ will say that you should tell your child about your pregnancy immediately once you find out while others say wait at least until you are showing. There is no right or wrong answer and the decision should be up to you and the father of your child. There pros and cons of telling your child too early or too late but here are some points to consider if you are deciding to break the news to your child earlier in your pregnancy rather than later.
Telling Your Child Early
Telling your child too early may lead to mixed emotions in the event that you miscarry. Remember that children do not always know how to handle or feel about certain life events. However, telling your child early, at least when you move out of the phase that is the highest risk for miscarriage will allow you child to be accustomed to the idea of a sibling on the horizon. It will also allow you to discuss your pregnancy more openly with others rather than having your child feel that there is secrets being kept from him/her.
Another advantage of informing your child sooner rather than later is so that he/she understands the changes that the you are going through as a pregnant mother. It is not just about the size of your abdomen. Remember that you may feel unwell or some days or just very tired and it will most likely be often. A child that is older than 3 or 4 years may be able to understand that you are not well and cannot play with him/her rather than wondering if they have done something wrong or that they are no longer loved. However, this can also work against you as a younger child may blame the unborn baby for losing time with you.
Telling Your Child Later
Sometimes the situation is such that you will only want to tell you child later in your pregnancy that they will soon have a new brother or sister. Remember that if you child is under 2 years of age, chances are that he/she will not understand the concept of a pregnancy or sibling even if they seem to know what is happening. It is only upon the birth of the baby that a very young child will be able to understand that there is another person in the house.
Telling your child later is therefore necessary if he/she is too young to understand early in pregnancy. Even if you are close to delivery, it may be still difficult for the child to fathom what is going on. However, there is never a reason not to tell your child that you are pregnant as your growing tummy and the fact that you will be away for a few days can be quite concerning even to a very young child. It is always best to speak to a professional in the field like your pediatrician or a child psychologist about how to handle the situation and jointly decide on when to tell your child that you are pregnant.