Anyone experiencing an unplanned pregnancy knows how many thoughts and questions you are having right now – but if you are facing an unexpected second or third pregnancy, you will also have to think about your other children. Should you tell them about your pregnancy? What will you say?
Your children can benefit greatly from open and honest conversation about your pregnancy. This page will provide you with advice for talking about your unplanned pregnancy and options when you already have kids.
Talking Over Time
The conversation about your pregnancy is one that will likely continue over your children’s lives. As you begin talking to your children about an unplanned second or third pregnancy that you are facing, consider the following:
- Keep it age-appropriate – Be careful not to give your children more information than they can comprehend at their age. As they grow, they will come to understand more and more about your pregnancy.
- Let your child come to you – Some children will have a lot of questions for you about your pregnancy, while others may not be as interested in talking. Be open to conversation without forcing it.
- Be accurate – While you don’t want to give your child too much information, it is important to talk to them in the correct terms. By using the proper language from the beginning, you and your children will not have to feel embarrassed when talking about sex and pregnancy.
- Wait until you are ready – You need time to process your pregnancy and understand your feelings before you can have a conversation with your children about it.
Your conversation with your children will also depend on what option you are planning to pursue.
If You Are Considering Abortion
It is up to you to decide if you should talk to your children about abortion. How you address this issue will depend on your personal values, your child’s age, and how much you feel comfortable sharing.
If you do decide to talk to your children about an abortion, make sure you first take the time to cope with any feelings of grief you may have. When you give the news to your children, you want to be ready and available to help them with whatever feelings they have. Answer their questions openly and honestly, but don’t give them more information than they can handle.
More and more women are talking with their children about abortion starting at a young age, which can help to decrease the stigma surrounding it. Additionally, beginning the conversation at a young age can help children understand complex issues such as abortion.
If You Are Considering Adoption
When thinking about adoption, it’s easy to imagine the stereotype of the teenage mother – but the truth is that many birth mothers are married and have other children. Here are some of the things you might want to consider when talking about adoption:
- Explain how adoption works – Adoption can be a very confusing concept for younger children. It won’t all make sense right away, but you can give them more information over time.
- Address your child’s insecurities – Sometimes, the adoption of a birth sibling can make a young child unsure of his or her place in the family. Assure your children you love them as well as the baby you are placing for adoption.
- Be open to talking about the child you are placing – Even though your adopted child will not live with you, he or she will play a role in your family. By talking freely about adoption, your children will grow to be comfortable talking about it early on.
If You Are Considering Parenting
Once you find out that your children are going to have a brother or sister, it is time to start preparing for the new addition to the family. Here are some of the ways you can help your kids adjust and know what to expect:
- Let them know how things will change – A new baby will add a completely different dynamic to the family, and even before the baby arrives, your pregnancy will bring some changes with it. Explain that while you are pregnant, you may feel sick sometimes, and you might not be able to do all of the things you could do when you weren’t pregnant.
- Involve them in the pregnancy – Whether you bring your kids to an ultrasound or let them feel the baby kick, you can help them bond with the new baby before he or she is even born.
- Explain what newborns need – Newborns require a tremendous amount of care and attention. Your children will need to know that you may not have as much time to spend with just them, but that you are always there if they need you.
As you prepare for the new baby to arrive, it is equally important that you help your children prepare for the changes to come.
Resources for Children
There are many books and other materials for younger children who are learning about pregnancy. Below, you will find some suggestions for resources to share with your children: