Can you remember back to the time when you and your husband were just dating? As Kim and I were dating long-distance from the US to Europe late 2018, I remember having endless conversations over FaceTime. Thank GOD for modern day technology, which made sure we were talking face-2-face, even though we were thousands of miles away.
It must’ve been on one of our very first convos that the topic of babies was brought up. Yep, we WENT there very early. It was important to me because I’ve always wanted a large family of my own. Luckily, Kim felt the same way. Well, maybe not exactly the same. He knew he wanted more kids after first becoming a dad, where I always knew I wanted to be a mom. We even agreed right away on the number of kids: FOUR. Yep, that’s no typo.“Four more children”, Kim always says. And especially after welcoming Mason into our lives, he still does.
While diving into research as we were building our program for stepfamilies, Doubly Blended, Doubly Blessed, we came across the idea that adding an ‘ours baby’ makes everyone blood related. They are the link that ties everyone together. Kim’s daughter Billie, for instance, has a brother, which is my son, so now Billie and I have a mutual genetic connection. The ‘ours baby’ makes the difference between being literally being a family, or just ‘people living together’.
So, even though both of us were enthusiastic to become parents (once again), in looking back, we would give you 3 tips if you are planning for your own ‘ours baby’.
Tip 1: Heads up for your (step)children
When you choose to have an “ours baby,” one of the lives that will be affected the most are your stepchildren. Just like with your marriage, they also had no choice when it comes to have a sibling. We’d encourage you to let them know in advance about your desire to have a baby, so that they can process it all with you both. You can be firm and share that this is “not a democracy,” as in “this is what we want, this will happen, period…” – but also while affirming they’re not being replaced.
Take time to explain your why: the joy of life, the importance of family, and etc. You can share with them things they may not understand fully now, such as them having each other “later when we’re gone” or this will help them learn to share & care.
Be patient and have low expectations of full acceptance of an “ours baby” coming into your family. Kids don’t often understand the reason behind why adults want to have children. However, over time, especially when a new sibling is added to the family, you can encourage a bond that will last a lifetime. (More on THAT in a future post)
Tip 2: Joint parenting plan for ALL children & role division
It may seem premature to discuss parenting roles and house rules before you’re even pregnant, however, in our experience, it’s never too early to discuss and plan for these things. It’s better to have at least talked these things through before a new baby comes. In this way, you and your spouse have a plan of action/attack for how to move forward when you’re tired, and groggy from a new baby. For example, after new baby: how can you honor the older children?
For instance with us, when my stepdaughter is with us, I handle all the nighttime responsibilities (bed, bath & etc.), so that Kim & Billie can have quality time.
Tip 3: Share concerns (children & parents)
Have the conversations NOW. Don’t wait. Begin to have them now. A new baby brought into a stepfamily is a huge dynamic and a different experience for everyone. Whatever you are feeling, speak it out loud; talk about what you’re going through; don’t hold it in. No matter whatever it is, let it go – they’re only thoughts anyway.
Some thoughts you may have, that are totally normal, are:
Will I love this kid as much as my other?
Will my other kids be jealous?
Will I be taking away love from my other kids?
What will my ex think?
Will my spouse love this baby as much as their others?
This won’t be my spouses first baby…will they still be special?
My stepchildren don’t want siblings. Will they ever warm up to a baby?
Ah, take a deep breath. We know there is so much to think about and prep for, but hopefully, with these three simple tips, you can start off on the right foot with your ours baby. Babies are, after all, always a blessing. Now that you have your Foundation right; build off the fundamentals, and the essence of your unified family will come.
**We know, sometimes, these convos are easier said than done. If you need help or guidance on how to have them in your family, reach out to us and book a Co-Creation Clarity call here:
We’d LOVE to help you.