A Modern Day Fairy Tale: Preparing Big Brother: Part 1 {Sharing The News}

Tuesday, June 4, 2013

Preparing Big Brother: Part 1 {Sharing The News}


Adding a new baby to the family is a big transition for ANY family. As a family with a child with Autism, that transition can be especially difficult. Children (and adults) with Autism don't tend to like change. Even small changes such as taking a different route to the store can throw them off significantly. These changes can cause meltdowns, aggression, lost progress and more. And of course, a new sibling is a HUGE change. We knew that this transition could be extremely difficult for Shaun and was a decision we weighed heavily before deciding to try for baby number two. Once the decision was made, we also knew that we had to do absolutely everything we could to prepare him and make this transition as easy as possible for him. Over the next few weeks, I'll be sharing a few of the ways we've gone about doing that. Today, I will start from the beginning- sharing the big news.

As I said, the decision to try for another baby was not one that we took lightly. We considered how it would affect Shaun- not only the change but also the attention he requires and if I'd be able to provide him the care and attention he needs while still caring for baby...how would he handle the baby? how would he handle having to share Mommy? So from the very beginning, we included him in the decision- asking what he thought about having a sibling a few months before we actually started trying. Much to my surprise, he was ecstatic at the idea. Initially, of course, he thought we were talking about his new baby cousin. We explained that this new baby would live in Shaun's house and that Mommy and Daddy would take care of him/her just as we did him. Again, it took him some time to truly grasp the idea but he still was thrilled and couldn't wait!

Thankfully, it wasn't a long wait...just one month into actually trying, we had a positive pregnancy test. We did nothing super special to share the news with him, just simply explained as best as we could that Mommy had a baby in her tummy. Sadly, that pregnancy ended in an early miscarriage but we were given the go ahead to try again immediately and were lucky enough to once again, one month later get another positive. During this time we made the decision NOT to tell Shaun what was going on. At the time, he had not yet fully gotten what was going on to begin with and knowing that we wanted to try again immediately, we thought it would be less confusing on him not to. We didn't continue to talk about the pregnancy, but we didn't tell him anything otherwise either. Again, thankfully it wasn't a long wait. The second time around, we were able to get an ultrasound very early on and I think that really helped him to understand a bit better.

Throughout the pregnancy, he has continued to go with me to all of my appointments and ultrasounds and we have done our best to explain things to him in ways he can understand. We explain to him that baby is growing in Mommy's belly and that in August, we will go to hospital and she will come home with us. We explain that she will require Mommy's attention a little more and that we will need his help to take care of her. He has taken a tour of the hospital and knows (to an extent) what to expect there. We talk frequently about what all of this means. Our hope is that in talking with him so extensively and sharing everything with him, he will better be prepared when it actually DOES happen. Already he seems to have a pretty good grasp on everything and likes to tell me (and everyone else) that Mommy is pregnant and he's going to have a baby sister in August!

So, our first step in preparing Shaun to be a big brother- talk, talk, talk!!

Next time, I'll share how we are attempting to prevent (or at least reduce) new sibling jealousy!!

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"Pleasant words are as a honeycomb: sweet to the soul and health to the bones." Proverbs 16:24