J.E. asks from Whitinsville, MA on May 06, 2009
When to Tell 4 Year Old About Pregnancy
Hello Ladies, I am 10 weeks pregnant with my 3rd child. I have a 4 year old and a 2 1/2 half year old. I recently experienced 2 miscarraiges, one in October at 6 weeks and the other in February at apx 4 weeks. Also almost a year ago I lost my mother in law, whom we were all very close with especially my 4 year old daughter. Since then she continues to ask a lot of detailed questions in regards to death. She seems okay with everything, no major problems with her since then, but just very curious. Due to this and the fact that I have had 2 miscarraiges I am not sure when I should tell her about the baby. Im so nervous that if I tell her and then something goes wrong I wont know how to tell her and that it will effect her even more now that she has already had to experience the death of a close family member. I originally thought 12 weeks and had asked my OB her opinion and she agreed at first but then suggested waiting until the ultrasound at apx 18 weeks. This way if everything looks good then the chances of anything going wrong are drastically decreased. Im thinking of sticking with what she says but this brings me to the very end of June (almost half way through the pregnancy) and I have put off telling most other people to avoid my daughter from finding out the wrong way and since this will be my 3rd I think I will be showing by then and other people may get curious especailly with the warm weather coming and not being able to wear baggy clothes. I just wanted to know if anyone else has been through the same situation and has any advice on this! thank you!
B.M. answers from Boston on May 07, 2009
I too am pregnant with my third. I have a 4 1/2 year old and a 3 year old. I had had one previous miscarriage and was nervous about sharing the news with the kids. I was diagnosed early in the pregnancy with hyperemesis which complicated matters. I was extremely sick and my oldest was concerned that I was going to die. After much discussion with my ob, pediatrician, and preschool teachers we chose to tell the kids at 8 weeks. (I had a 7 week ultrasound that showed a heart beat.) What we told them was that the doctors were not sure, but they thought there was a baby in mommy's uterus. Sounded weird to me, but the kids bought it hook line and sinker! We further said that in awhile (12 weeks for us) the doctors would take some pictures to make sure if it was indeed a baby. These statements to the kids calmed thier fears, explained my illness and growing belly and still left us an out if there were complications. My son repeatedly said, Well there may be a baby in there but we need to wait and see. I also need to add that I am 20 weeks now and my belly is huge! I too was concerned that the kids would hear the news from someone else asking me about my condition. I think your concerns about waiting until 18 weeks are justified.
Good luck, and go with your instincts.
M.D. answers from Burlington on May 20, 2009
Personally, I'd tell her. She has the experience with the death of her grandmother. If anything were to go wrong with the pregnancy, she would be able to understand a bit what happened to her sibling. Death can happen at any point during life. Personally, I don't know why people keep miscarriages so "hush-hush." (Foolish superstitions probably. Lack of reasoning skills.) Sharing the news allows others to comfort you. I'm so sorry for your two miscarriages. I hope you don't experience any more. Should the worst happen, your family will be able to comfort one another.
But let's hope for the best. Hooray! Congratulations on your pregnancy! I'd let your children know so that they can kiss your belly.
: ) M.
B.O. answers from Burlington on May 16, 2009
Congrats on your pregnancy. I just told my children and I am 12 weeks but I had an ultrasound and know all is well. I would wait till after the ultrasound to be sure, plus it will not be so long for her to wait for this exciting bundle.
A.K. answers from Burlington on May 07, 2009
I was due Nov 12. I actually found out on my 2 year old daughter's birthday that I was expecting. My 4 year old guessed ~ we didn't have to tell her. She was so excited to have another baby on the way. I tried not to tell her or others given my high number of previous miscarriages but I was showing so quickly that people guessed as soon as they saw me (I was in maternity clothing by my 5th week). At 10 weeks I lost the baby. It was miscarriage #6 for me. We had seen a heartbeat and been told everything looked great shortly before. I actually told people the day before it happened that I was pregnant as our Easter surprise.
My daughter is having a difficult time dealing with the loss (we have experienced many deaths in our family, so she understands the concepts of death). Even though it is difficult for her, I am somewhat glad she understands. She isn't scared when she sees me cry. She and I have been able to keep an open dialogue and share our feelings.
In a situation like this I can understand the difficult choice of to tell or not to tell. My husband and I debated it frequently prior to conceiving but didn't need to debate long after our + result because she guessed so quickly! Sometimes kids do take the guesswork out of the situation.
Each child is so very different. Your daughter may benefit from celebrating with you early on or she may benefit from you waiting to tell her the news. I would just watch her and see how it goes. If she is very observant and patient telling her sooner may not be a problem. If she is more oblivious to the changes happening inside of you and is sensitive about death, I'd wait until the 18 week u/s.
I would suggest though if she asks you why your belly is getting bigger that you do tell her. Kids sense when you lie to them or withhold information from them.
I hope that all goes well for you and that you do not go through the pain that I have recently gone through.
C.H. answers from Providence on May 07, 2009
Congratulations! I have gone through a similiar situation. I now have a almost 7 yr old, a 3.5 year old and 17 month old. When I was pregnant with my third I told my oldest the night before my 12 week ultra sound. Really the first one you have. She was also with me during an ultra sound where on a previous preg there was no heart beat. I was 9 weeks. She was a huge support for me believe it or not! So, we were casual about this one and said we had to look for the heart beat and make sure the baby is growing in my tummy. We went into more detail ( she can handle it) and she was very aware of what was going on. She seemed fine and very excited for the baby. I had a miscarriage between each preg. One at 6 weeks and one at 9.
I would aim for what your ob said but feel the 4 year old out. YOu may change your mind as you begin to show. You know your child best. Good luck and all the best.
mother of 3 girls
M.B. answers from Hartford on May 07, 2009
I think waiting until the ultra sound is fine. As far as telling other people I think if you just explain to them we aren't telling our children until we're sure everything is going to be okay they'll respect that. Although, a child doesn't take losing a baby in utero like we do. In December I lost my daughter at 20 weeks. I have three other children. My oldest was 9 and my middle was six at the time. The baby was just a year so he knew nothing. Anyways, my six year old really surprised me that she wanted to see her baby sister. She wasn't sad about it really. She thought she was cute. Every now and then she'll ask where her little sister is. But I think since she never saw her kicking and moving and crying and stuff it was just different. Good luck with your pregnancy and figuring out the right time to tell your daughter. But really I think waiting shouldn't be too much of a problem. It might even be better because you'll have a picture of the baby that you can show her is in mommy's belly.
D.T. answers from Boston on May 07, 2009
First of all congratulations and good luck on this pregnancy.
I've had several miscarriages (before I had my daughter) and I can't imagine having to explain it to a child while coping with the loss yourself. Are you having an ultrasound at 12 weeks? If so, and everything looks good I think I might do it then. If you don't have one scheduled (I know every doctor's office is different) Could you ask them to schedule one? I think it would be very difficult to hide a third pregnancy for 12 weeks, let alone 18.
I like the previous poster's comments about the Dr's thinking there might be a baby in there. If anyone asks (because people do that sort of thing) You could try to come up with some vague answer that would make it clear that you aren't announcing yet.
M.W. answers from Boston on May 08, 2009
Mixing the liquid meds with Hershey's chocolate syrup did the trick for us. Good luck.