You can be the best parent in the world and keep a close bond with your kids after separation. They might even love your new partner, and thoroughly enjoy spending time with you and her. But if the time comes that you and your new partner are expecting a baby of your own, they can see that bond as threatened.
That’s perfectly understandable on their part. They worry that another child, especially a baby, will mean that you’ll love them less and have less time for them. What you have to do, and keep on doing, is prove to them that’s not true.
Telling Them about the Pregnancy
Don’t put off telling your children that your partner is pregnant. The earlier you tell them, the better, since it gives them more time to become used to the idea. However, you should probably wait until the first trimester, with its danger of miscarriage, is complete – having to explain pregnancy then miscarriage can be one step too many for some.
Sit your kids down and explain the situation matter-of-factly. Reinforce the idea that you love them and they’re always going to be very important in your life. If possible, both you and your new partner should sit down with the kids. It might involve a brief explanation of the facts of life, depending on the ages of your children.
Tell them you want them involved with the baby (if you have girls, they’ll probably welcome this), that it will be a brother or sister to them – this keeps them as part of your family.
As The Pregnancy Develops
There’s no reason for you to change what you do when you have your children with you. Continue your activities, but keep involving them in the pregnancy – touching the bump when the baby’s kicking, for instance. Your partner might no longer be able to take part in all your activities with your kids, but that’s fine. Enjoy the time you have alone with your children, keep them secure in your affections and as part of the family. Treat the pregnancy as just another part of life; don’t dwell on it too much with them, so it will seem a perfectly normal event.
After The Baby’s Born
Once the baby’s home, bring your kids over to see it. Make sure, though, that they know how fragile the little one is. This can be the hardest time, for you, juggling the demands of a baby with the need to see and enjoy your other children. But it’s also the most crucial time. Taking time away from your kids for the baby can make them believe the baby is more important than they are. So no matter how tired you are, be certain to give them their full share of your time. Keep them involved with the baby; give them small tasks to help, so they feel an attachment, rather than a resentment of this new addition. At the same time, make sure you do things with your kids on their own. Most vitally, never treat the baby as more important than your kids. Equality is the key.
It might take several months until your kids fully accept the baby and stop seeing it as a threat. If you’ve given your kids as much attention as you did before, and continue to do so, you’ll successfully build a strong extended family.