The 20 week update – half way there!

by DaniGirl on September 14, 2007 · 20 comments

in Mothering without a licence, Postcards from my uterus

How ’bout that? As of today, I’m officially half-way through this pregnancy. (Although I do tend to agree with a friend of mine who observes that the last month is the longest half of a pregnancy.)

My belly is quite unsubtle now, enough so that neighbours and casual acquaintances at work are bold enough to ask if I’m expecting. Seriously, people – unless a woman is actively delivering a child, you should never, ever assume enough to ask her directly to her face if she’s pregnant!

It’s kind of cute how the boys have noticed my expanding belly, even though they don’t know the reason for it. They both like to sidle up in a hug and rest their cheeks against my belly while giving it loving pats. I guess they’re just happy that mom is growing an extra pillow for them to cuddle!

Initially, I was going to hold off until much later to tell them about the player to be named later – maybe around Christmas or something like that. After all, we’re talking about boys who can’t wait until lunchtime on a given day, and Tuesday often seems a lifetime away… how can I ask them to conceptualize and anticipate something that will arrive in February? (Then again, they do a fine job making Christmas lists in March, so maybe I’m underestimating them!)

And we certainly haven’t been shy about talking up babies with them, nor in talking about the baby in front of them. Tristan is reasonably perceptive, and I wouldn’t be surprised if he hasn’t figured this out on some level already.

What do you think? Is it better to tell them early and share the experience for a few months, or save them the anticipation (and, let’s be honest – anxiety) of several months of build-up? When did you tell older siblings about a pending new arrival?


{ 20 comments… read them below or add one }

1 jo(e) September 14, 2007 at 7:13 am

When I found out that I was pregnant with my youngest, my other kids were 7, 5, and 2.

I told them right away, within hours of taking the pregnancy test. The older two were excited and happy, and asked all kinds of questions. I’m not sure how much the youngest understand what was going on.

I liked sharing the experience with them. And I knew they’d figure it out anyhow so I was always in the same room with them when talking on the telephone to my mother, sisters, and friends.

2 Barbara September 14, 2007 at 7:40 am

I would tell them. Their sense of time is such that knowing for a month may *feel* like a year to them anyway. I think that they might feel slighted if they realize that others know before them. Plus, they probably know what the expecting mother signs mean and may call you out of using them in the middle of a parking lot – maybe not the place you were planning to tell them. (It happened to a friend of mine who had a son with a social conscience.) It’s exciting that your family is growing. Tell them and they’ll be excited a bit and then go back to their regular lives – when it gets closer to your due date, they’ll get excited again. But then, I’m glad that you’re sharing the excitement with us humble readers.

3 b*babbler September 14, 2007 at 7:47 am

Aww… the thought of them snuggling up to your tummy is too cute.

While I have no experience in this particular arena, I would agree with Barbara. The last thing you want is to tell them eventually only to have them go “Duh Mom, we already knew”. Also, they might start to feel resentful of something that you didn’t let them in on all along. Just a guess?

Good luck whatever you decide.

4 hw September 14, 2007 at 7:52 am

Hrrrrmmm, I think you know your kids best and you should tell them when you’re ready. I think that if I were having the baby and I my kids were the ones that would always ask the question, “are we there yet?” I’d hold off for the sake of my own sanity.

But I think it might be quite wonderful to have them share in your experience.

When did you tell Tristan about Simon?

5 snackmommy September 14, 2007 at 7:57 am

I think you are right about the perception aspect. When I was about 3 mos along, I volunteered at Tristan’s preschool, and the teacher asked if anyone had any news. Tristan puts up his hand and announces to his class that we were having a baby. The teacher looked questioningly at me and I confirmed it, but said I hadn’t told him yet, and she said it happens all the time. So I think you may be right in that at least Tristan likely knows on some level.

That being said…he also said it would be a girl named Harriet.

6 snackmommy September 14, 2007 at 8:01 am

Oh, and as for the boys hounding you for too long, after the initial excitement, they probably won’t be too concerned about it. I also found it helps when you give them a date to relate it to (eg The baby will be here after Christmas and Valentine’s day. Or the baby will be here when you turn 6 Tristan).

Besides, what’s the worst that can happen if you tell them early? Just a few extra months of them talking to your belly introducing themselves :~)

7 DaniGirl September 14, 2007 at 8:04 am

HW, yes, exactly – it’s the “are we there yet” phenomenon that I’m trying to minimize!! Tristan was only 22 months old when Simon arrived, so he didn’t get the concept at all until Simon actually arrived – and even then, I think Tristan spent much of the first month wondering when Simon was going to leave. But the boys will be just turning 4 and 6 when their brother arrives, plenty old enough to understand.

Snackmommy, I officially absolved the boys of their naming rights when Simon said he wanted to name a baby sister “Darth Luke”!

I forgot to mention, at my last visit, the midwife suggested I could bring in the boys any time to have them listen to the baby’s heartbeat – I thought that was way cool, and will definitely do that soon after I tell them. (If that doesn’t freak them out I don’t know what will!!)

8 Ingrid September 14, 2007 at 9:03 am

I think telling them early will help with the excitement and reduce any resentment. They’ll feel like big boys to “help” get things ready. I think actually that you’ll have fewer “are we there yet” questions with it being so far away.And if you reference it to Simons birthday and Christmas, they will understand that it’s a long way away.
By telling them now, you’ll give them a chnace to start bonding, just as you are doing.

Wow – half way!

9 meanie September 14, 2007 at 9:17 am

hmmm, i would let them know now. a new baby will rock their world, as in change it, so it might be nice to give them some warning. we told grace right away (she was 2-ish) and i don’t think she had a clue what was going on (she certainly wasn’t sympathetic to me being exhausted all the time!) but she was prepared….

10 Renee September 14, 2007 at 9:52 am

I told mine the day I found out. But, number one, they were older (8 and 6). And number 2, I can’t keep anything a secret! Especially that news!

11 Sue September 14, 2007 at 9:59 am

We told ours really quickly. My eldest son had been on about having a baby sister and he guessed I was pregnant!

It was great to talk it through with them. Mine would have been 7 and 3 at the time.

Oh yes and he was right about it being a girl!

12 Trixie September 14, 2007 at 11:59 am

Tell, tell, tell! Sam and Carter were really cute in their 6-month wait for Anabel’s “after Halloween” arrival. No begging for an earlier birth, just a proud and matter-of-fact declaration to strangers that Tracey was ‘getting another baby’ that was still growing. You know your boys best, but I have to wonder if there won’t be as many sweet moments of anticipation to smile over (i.e. blog about) as there might be complaints of baby brother’s slow construction process.

13 colleen September 14, 2007 at 3:29 pm

Tell them and then let them sort through their toys and stuff to put aside for their baby brother. They will feel like part of the adventure.

14 Valerie September 14, 2007 at 6:18 pm

I told Sarah shortly after the first u/s. We’d been talking about babies and she asked if I was going to have one so I said yes. No problem with anticipation – we said it would be after Christmas and she enjoyed watching me grow – with somewhat less than polite comments! It was fun having her tell the grandparents the news. šŸ™‚

15 crazymumma September 14, 2007 at 8:54 pm

I love the image of your little boys patting your belly, cuddling it like they instinctively know that there is something going on that is quite important.

I say tell them. We told bigirl the second I finished my firtst trimester and she was so excited!

16 the end of motherhood September 14, 2007 at 10:29 pm

Of course you should tell them! You cannot keep secrets from kids. They will always know that something is up. But until you tell them the truth, they only have their own thoughts to rely on – they know something is up but they don’t know what. THAT is anxiety provoking. Let them share in your excitement and make room for their feelings and it will all work out.

17 Kerith September 15, 2007 at 7:05 am

We always told them right off the bat. Our oldest was about 3 when we had our second and he was so excited to finally have a playmate. Then we got pregnant with twins about 3 months after our second. Our oldest was fasinated with the fact that there would be two. He he became a bigger helper. I think you should tell them and share the experience. Kids are smart and kind and natural helpers. Remember, babies affect the whole family, so share it with the whole family!

18 ella September 16, 2007 at 7:37 am

I told mine (5 and 4) right away because I knew I would be so sick but I made it clear that the baby would be coming after Christmas. Now when they ask me when that is I say it’s my birthday, then grandpa’s birthday, then Christmas then the baby will arrive – they seem to understand it that way.

19 Loukia September 17, 2007 at 10:04 am

I know your boys are older then my son, but we told my son from the beginning. He always kisses my tummy now and rubs my belly and even though he has just turned 2 years old, he tells me things he will play with his brother… he’s bring things like his favourite digger up to my belly and stuff like that. Way too cute, it melts me. He helps me fold new clothes I buy for baby number 2, etc. And his new favourite book, currently, is I’m a Big Brother. Don’t know how much he actually understands, but I love seeing him interesting and lovey dovey with my belly, his little brother! I say tell your boys sooner then later… although, Christmas is a beautiful time to share the news, as well.

20 kate September 18, 2007 at 3:19 am

I’m 14 weeks now, and we told our boys (3 and 5) after the 12-week appointment when we could be (reasonably) sure that everything looked good. As in your case, there had been multiple conversations about the baby in front of them, and the oldest was sort of hovering around the issue, so he probably knew at least on some level. I too was worried about the “are we there yet” factor, but we told them (and remind them if it comes up) that the baby still needs to grow for a long time, and won’t be here until after Christmas and after Carnaval.

I also didn’t want to make a big deal about it yet, since these are the last few months we have of it being just them, and when the baby comes a lot of attention and time will be devoted to him/her, so I didn’t want to get that started too early. But most of the time they aren’t really thinking about it, and they seem to be fine with the idea of waiting. We also have a book about having a new baby and they like to look at it sometimes. There are pictures (drawings) of the developing baby inside the mother so they can see roughly how big it is now and how much it still needs to grow before it can be born.

We also put the boys together in one bedroom (which luckily, they prefer) to free up one of the rooms for the baby. We wanted to do it well in advance so they wouldn’t associate giving up their rooms with the arrival of the baby, but the oldest figured it out right away and actually kind of likes the idea that the baby will be sleeping in his old room.

Hmm, my first comment ever on your blog and it’s a book! Sorry!

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