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Parents of lost babies and potential of all kinds: come here to share the technicolour, the vividness, the despair, the heart-broken-open, the compassion we learn for others, having been through this mess — and see it reflected back at you, acknowledged and understood.

Thanks to photographer Xin Li and to artist Stephanie Sicore for their respective illustrations and photos.

ttc | pregnancy | birth after loss > telling older children a new baby is on the way

When did you tell your children a rainbow baby is on the way?

My son was four when his little sister died at birth. He is six now. He was not visibly affected by her death in any dramatic way, although of course he suffers as well. He has often mentioned that he'd like to have siblings, and I see that he's a bit jealous of his friends who have younger siblings.

I'm now newly pregnant, and will need to have some genetic tests to determine if this baby has the same problem as my daughter. If yes, I would terminate the pregnancy (the condition can't be treated and is fatal). It is clear I won't tell my son anything before that, and before we cross that line into the second trimester. However, just the thought of telling him later on makes me feel afraid and vulnerable. I don't know if he'll react to the news in a happy way, or if he will worry. Will it re-ignite his grief?

How did your kids react? Do you think telling them earlier or later is the right thing to do? Any thoughts?
July 2, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAna
A gentle congrats on your pregnancy, Ana. My personal experience has been to avoid telling my older children about pregnancies until we have done the 20 week scan. I think there are benefits for and against whenever you decide to tell them and the best you can do is do what feels right. If it does reignite your son's grief cross that bridge when you come to it. You can't possibly predict what he will think and feel and what's important is you are there to support him through whatever he feels which of course you will be.

I definitely felt vulnerable once I told them about the pregnancies. I knew that if anything should happen I would need to deal with their grief as well as my own and that scared me. I wanted to protect them. But then I also wanted to allow them the experience of being excited about the pregnancy and preparing for their new sibling. It's tough when we have a background of loss! Do what feels right, all the best for a smooth pregnancy journey x
July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterShelby's Mum
Thanks, Shelby's Mum. I guess it's fair to say that I'm also excited and would like to share that with him, while not burdening him. I suppose the 20 week scan would be a good moment. In my case there will be additional scans both before and after, but it seems like a good amount of time, since several months can still feel like a lifetime to a six-year-old. It probably won't be any easier by that time, but I guess there's no way around this except to confront the uncertainty.
July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterAna
Hi there,

I am 21 weeks along. A little background - I have two LC ages 5 and 3. They were 2 and 3 (about to be 4...my son was stillborn two days before his oldest brother's birthday...horrible birthday) when their little brother passed away. We have always talked about death with our children. Sounds morbid, I know, but it comes up often due to family dynamics. I work part-time and my parents help watch the boys while I work. They know they are being watched by mommy's mommy and daddy so naturally they ask about daddy's mommy and daddy. My husband's mom passed away 15 years ago. We have always explained to them that daddy's mommy already died but that most people die when they are older (she was in her early 50s). So we already had a bit of a framework in place for talking to them about death when our baby died. My husband is quite religious but I'm more agnostic. We usually tell them their brother is in heaven with their grandma.

I've been pregnant twice since then. The first rainbow pregnancy ended in miscarriage at 6 weeks. We were relieved that we had not announced that pregnancy to our children yet. With my current pregnancy I had my first ultrasound at 5w4d which confirmed heartbeat and a repeat ultrasound at 7w2d which showed heartbeat and measurement on track. I also started having morning sickness at around 5 weeks. We ended up telling the kids around 11 weeks. A large part of that was we wanted to be able to better explain why I was so sick and tired all of the time, that I wasn't not playing with them on purpose. Also, I wanted them to know not to roughhouse with me, to avoid hitting or sitting on my belly. We had to balance that with knowing that they would likely blab to everyone, so we had to wait until we were fairly comfortable with the general public knowing.

My 5 year old has seemed a bit concerned about this baby possibly dying. He will ask us if this baby will die too or he will say he hopes this baby will live. We are having a girl this time and now he sometimes refers to his deceased brother as a she. As for my three year old, he sometimes talks like the baby I'm pregnant with now is our previous baby and that I'll give birth to him and they can finally meet and play with each other. It has been an interesting ride. I guess it was good we told them a little early so hopefully we can clear up some confusion for them before the baby is born and hopefully comes home.
July 3, 2017 | Unregistered CommenterMom2htb