By Jeana Lee Tahnk
The minute I found out I was pregnant with baby No. 3, I started
thinking about how I'd tell my two kids. Because they were older (ages 8
and 5 at the time), I knew they would "get it" much more so than if
they were younger, but I was still a little anxious about their initial
reactions. We were a happy family of four for so long, how would a new
sibling change the dynamic?
My husband and I decided to wait until we knew the pregnancy was
routine and normal before telling the kids. Unfortunately, that meant
holding off for a few months and getting beyond the first trimester.
I did my best to downplay the morning (in my case afternoon)
sickness that hit during weeks seven through 14, and reassure the kids
that I was fine, but they thought something was odd. At one point, my
daughter said, "Mommy, you've had this stomach bug for a looooong time."
I wanted to break the news at that moment, but I needed to make sure
everything was fine with the baby first.
I trudged through the weeks and finally hit wonderful week 13, which
put me safely into the second trimester. At long last, it was time to
tell! We were SO excited and I wanted to plan a little party for the
family. The morning of the big reveal, I had a doctor's appointment at
the hospital and on my way out, stocked up on "It's a Boy!" and "It's a
Girl!" balloons, chocolate cigars, knick-knacks and other small gifts. I
also stopped at the grocery store and picked out mini cakes for my kids
and had them write, "Big Brother" and "Big Sister" on each.
We took the kids out to dinner that night - a rarity during the
school week - and then excitedly brought them home to share the news. I
called a family meeting and asked the kids to sit down and my husband
started subtly videotaping our "meeting" on his phone.
I started out the conversation with, "So, you know how mommy wasn't
feeling well for a while ... any idea why?" Guesses included a stomach
bug, I ate something bad and I eat too much salad (clearly, they're not
fans of my kale salad).
After a little more beating around the bush, I finally blurted out,
"I have a baby in my belly! You're going to be a big brother and big
sister!!" The news was met by a split second of silence and then whoops
of excitement, jumping up and down and more jumping up and down. The
kids were genuinely excited and I think a bit relieved that there was a
reason for my two months-long "stomach bug."
We gave them their little gifts and as I would have predicted, my
son declared it was a boy and my daughter declared it was a girl. Our
little baby party proceeded with us calling other family members with
the news, eating cake and imagining what life would be like with a baby
in the house. It was a wonderful night that I won't soon forget, and I
felt so happy that my kids were so excited.
It seems like just yesterday that we broke the news of the new
addition, and here we are today, a family of five. The kids have been
nothing short of amazing, welcoming their baby sister into the world,
and I often call them "little mommy and daddy" because they love her and
care for her as much as my husband and I do.
Telling the kids that they were getting a baby sibling was exciting,
but seeing them be the best big brother and big sister I could ever
have hoped for is beyond anything I could have dreamed.
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