I have had a few people ask me – is it a hard transition to add another kid?
My answer, whether you are birthing a new child, or adopting – it’s a transition. But from my own experience, and from a poll from some other ladies, I have some great tips.
To start off, let me be real with you.
You will be tired.
You will be short.
There will be some hard moments.
Great. Now that we have gotten those out of the way, here are 11 ways to ease you through this transition:
Prepare your expectations:
You will have to split your time more between your children and your husband. And that is hard. But as I always say, KNOWLEDGE IS POWER. So, pull out your What To Expect book and start reading. Don’t have time? Make time. There is no better way to prepare yourself, and your husband, than to educate yourself.
Start training yourself to look things up and call friends for help. Babies and children are not meant to be alone. Neither are you. How else will you learn that in order for the baby to sleep longer, it needs a full session of feeding? Which means you have to be AWAKE to feed them (not easy). You’re pregnant for 9 months for a reason. Don’t just twiddle your thumbs. Use those months to mentally prepare for the new child that awaits you.
Get your kids involved:
You don’t want them to be shell shocked when the baby comes either. Bring them to the appointments (maybe with a helper) – my child still thinks that you check a heartbeat on your belly and not your chest. Teach them what you learn about the baby from your books. Start surrounding them with babies or other kids. Let them learn to recognize that babies take a little bit of extra time.
Have intentional time (before and after) the new child comes:
Schedule some fun, one-on-one time with your kid before the new baby comes. (If this is your first child, make sure and spend that time with your husband.) Make cookies with them. Go for long walks. Take them to their favorite places and savor every moment. After the new child comes into the picture, get family or friends to help and spend more time together. Just so they know they are special in your eyes.
Give your children jobs:
I gave my son jobs at the early age of 2. He still is the best diaper retriever. He’ll pick up a binky and hand it to the baby. I would give him a book to read next to the baby. Kids love to help you. They love to feel involved in your life. And this intentional task will set them up for the future. And I can honestly say that he transitioned better than I did.
There will be some nights in your pregnancy, and afterwards, that you don’t have extra energy to cook. So, plan ahead for that. Get some frozen meals, pizza, soup, anything that is easy to make. Grab some paper plates to make clean up easier. Start an online meal-train for yourself. If you don’t feel comfortable doing that, ask a friend.
Prep for your Husband:
One of my biggest concerns was that my child, who spent 24 hours a day with me, would not do well with my time being split between him and another child. So, I bought my husband some gift cards towards our favorite pizza place, a jumping zone and a nearby ice cream shop – just fun places/things to do for Daddy-son time. That way, my son could get used to spending more time with Daddy, and it would be fun. It worked so well, and it also gave me times to be alone and rest whenever I was too tired to give my son the attention he needed.
Get your Husband on Board:
Have conversations beforehand. Help align his expectations. Read things to him that you learn about childbirth or adopting. Share your fears. Maybe talk about what it will look like when you aren’t getting any sleep.
I told my husband that I felt so alone and that I was going slightly crazy from lack of sleep. Because I shared that with him, he would grab a blanket and just sleep in the baby room on the floor while I fed the baby. It sounds silly, but I felt so supported. He also would let me sleep an extra hour in the mornings and get my son his breakfast, after I found that I didn’t have the energy or emotional capacity to handle it after a long night.
You can either try to burden it by yourself, hurting your husband and children in the process, or you can talk with him, be vulnerable, and give him a chance. I know we moms can be control freaks, but give him a chance, he may surprise you, and you may grow to love him so much more than you thought possible.
I realize that not all my readers believe in God, but having to hold onto all your fears by yourself is such a large burden to bear. Say them out loud, write them down, but don’t bear all of your fears by yourself. Are you worried that you won’t love your new child as much as your firstborn or other children? Pray. Are you worried that your child/children won’t love their new sibling? Pray. What about your husband? Are you worried he won’t love you anymore? That he won’t be able to handle the change? That you won’t get enough help? Pray. Pray. Pray. Pray with your kids for the new child. Pray for your child’s future. Anything that goes on in your mind that you just can’t control, PRAY.
A Practice Baby:
I have a friend who bought a baby for their child, and gave it to them to care for. And every time the baby needed a change, her child would have to change the diaper. They can feed it, change it, wash it, etc. What a great way for your child to get involved and learn so much!
Take Care of Yourself:
Eat healthy. Exercise. It makes it harder on yourself later and beforehand when you aren’t healthy. For yourself and your baby. Labor isn’t easy. Taking care of children isn’t easy. Don’t make it harder on yourself, be healthy. Research now some easy steps to get healthier. It’s good for you and your children. Because they’ll do everything you do.
Give lots of grace. And then give some more. Give it to your kids and to your husband. I’m not talking about letting things slide, giving your husband an out for never helping or neglecting to discipline when its necessary.
I mean this – understand that this transition is hard for everyone. Sometimes your children will just have a bad day. Give them grace. After all, moms have bad days too. Sometimes your husband just won’t decipher the obvious signs you are giving. Give him grace. Some days, everything that could possibly go wrong has already gone wrong by 9:27 a.m. Kids are screaming, your husband is at work and you don’t feel like you are in control of anything. Choosing to give grace is the one thing you always have the power to do. So, when you give it, a little light will to shine on your day.
How can you help someone through this transition? Is there someone adopting near you? Is your daughter having a child? Can you share these things with them? Can you start a meal train for a friend? Pay it forward. Most of what I do and say is because someone else encouraged me and helped me.