If you haven’t already heard, I’m having another baby! I’m at 17 weeks now and just gotten over serious early pregnancy symptoms. You haven’t been receiving my email because I’ve been so, so sick.
I had morning sickness with my other two pregnancies but none of that came close to what I had to go through with this one.
Bottom line is, it was so bad that I couldn’t work and I’ve only gained 500g since I got pregnant. Imagine that.
Now that it’s all over and done with, I’m getting my energy back and I’m more and more inspired to get back to work and share more valuable tips and stories with you!
I’d like to share what it was like for me and my little family when we found out I was pregnant again. Mind you, I thought I was done having babies. My youngest is already 6 years old!
It was unexpected, this pregnancy and truth be told, only my husband and my 9yo daughter were the happiest with the news in the beginning!
I was in shock, denial and disbelief. LOL.
My 6yo couldn’t take it! She cried and said no baby! Please return it! I’m the baby!
We would think that at this age she would be happy to get a new sibling. But it affected her so badly, we were caught by surprise.
Luckily, with the tools I learn from Aware Parenting and Hand in Hand Parenting, I could sense that she felt threatened when her dad and older sister were so excited and gushing about a new baby. I stayed with her feelings as she cried. “You’re the baby. You don’t want another baby. You are not a big sister. You’re so sad about the news.”
And she cried and cried. She felt powerless knowing that we couldn’t “send the baby back to where it came from”.
We left it as that.. and for almost two weeks later, she came to accept that there will be a new baby in the family. Only then she started to get excited about how great she would be at being a big sister. By the way, she has a big soft spot for babies in general. She finds them cute and adorable.
I felt relieved. I know that with her, being the sensitive or high needs (whatever you call it) child, she had always been slow to warm up in new settings, new environment, new people in her life.
I just had to trust and be patient that she will come around things at her own time. And she did! Hooray!
I wanted to share this story because I think it’s important for us to understand that some children just don’t receive their new sibling arrival very well. Especially when they’re toddlers who don’t have the capacity to understand where they stand in the family when all attention is placed on the new baby.
All they feel is threat and insecurities whether or not mom and dad still love them the same.
Play and laughter through silly games and regression-type games have really powerful healing effect on children while they’re going through this stressful time.
For example, you could play “He’s mine” game where you and your partner would gently grab him and announce that he’s yours and then your partner would try to grab him gently while you hesitantly let him go, while he says “No he’s mine!” back and forth. Through this game, your child can laugh and feel like he’s wanted. At the same time, it instills self-confidence that mom and dad still love him the same. The laughter that comes up gives your child the opportunity to release fears around being rejected and unloved.
Another way is to play regression-type of games especially when your child suddenly asks to wear a diaper (when he’s already toilet trained), sleep in the baby cot, or be carried around like a baby. It may feel irritating and nonsensical to us when our older child starts to behave this way.
Again, let’s not look at the surface or just the behaviour. The underlying cause of this is probably due to feelings of fear and insecurity. And that being a “baby” again, helps them feel less scared and that they would be taken care of.
“The being-a-baby game” – your child pretends to be a baby or a younger child than they are now, and you treat them in that way, in a very loving and attentive way. So, if they are being the baby, hold them like a baby, and do all the things that you would do to them if they were a baby.
These games are therapeutic and help them heal and release any big feelings and stress around the arrival of a new sibling.
Even though my daughter is much older and can make sense of how it would like when the baby comes by watching videos of other families bringing back new sibling etc, she still has some insecurities which are still coming up in a form of regression.
I’ll share more of that in my next post. We are still working on those insecurities right now. 😉
If your older child had gone through this with a new baby, how did you help him or her to deal with the stress? I’d love to hear your stories by sharing it in the comment below.