When my husband and I added the twins to our blended family of four boys, the timing wasn’t the best. My husband and I hadn’t been public about our relationship for too long. His three children didn’t have much time to grasp the idea of a new person in their father’s life because his ex-wife ‘wasn’t comfortable’ with the children meeting someone new. By the time the kids met me, the conversation was followed up with, “…and by the way, you guys will have twin baby brothers soon.” I can’t imagine how hard it was for the children to process the divorce of their biological parents, their father dating someone new, and on top of that, he’s having two more children. They also had to come to terms with the fact that he would be the full-time father to my biological son. What a host of changes so quickly! With all the elements of our blending and adding new babies, I actually had a conversation with my husband and he and I together compiled a list of tips when adding to an already blending family.
- Involve your children as soon as safely possible in the pregnancy excitement.
- Invite and initiate conversations with your children regarding their fear of losing their place in your life once the new baby is born, especially after experiencing a divorce.
- Bring the children along to prenatal appointments, especially your stepchildren.
- Be diligent about treating the children
tosmall pleasures as you are purchasing new items for the baby.
- Allow the kids to each write a letter to their coming sibling.
- Write letters for them to read once step-mom goes into labor. These individual letters should tell them all how important they are and will remain to the family.
- If you’re going to breastfeed, speak to your spouse about the norms you’ll want to set and possibly explain to all the children.
- Be prepared to have a lot of reassuring conversations. They may feel redundant, frustrating, or even annoying while preparing for a new baby (or in our case, babies). But they’re so great for the emotional health in the long run.
- Rely on your external family to pour extra attention into your children as you and your partner may be focused on the new baby (or two). When family members ask you what you need for baby shower gifts, if you’re comfortable, ask them to instead commit a Saturday to take your already older children to Sky Zone or another fun place in your area for older children. Allowing your village to compensate for some of the missed time the children will experience can make the transition a lot easier for the older children.
- Finally, tell your ex that you’re expecting a new addition before you tell the children. If you think your ex will ruin a planned surprise announcement or they will cause conflict, wait until you have the child in your custody, then relay the message to an ex.
Adding a new baby to an already blending or blended family can not only be trying,