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Babies in Belly Superfamily! - Babies in Belly
Superfamily!

1.  Parenting Moments with your “Current” Child(ren)

Before we delve into the topic of multiples and singleton siblings, please take a moment to think about some of the Familythings you currently enjoy doing with your already existing child(ren). 

Jot these down somewhere… we will come back to them later.

Next, consider some of the parenting challenges you face with your current child(ren).  Make note of these also.

 

2.  Adding Multiples to an Already-Existing Family

Below is an excerpt from an article written by POM Hillary Beasley (used with permission).  It lends a nice perspective on what it must be like for older children to experience the arrival of multiple siblings…

Singled Out:
Helping an Older Singleton Child Adjust to the Arrival of Twins

Let’s assume for a moment that you are in a committed, mutually rewarding relationship with a loving partner. You go for walks and bike rides together, you know each other’s favourite songs, you curl up on the couch and watch the occasional DVD together. You are happy. Now let’s pretend this loving, committed partner of yours comes home one day and says to you, “You know, honey, you are so great, and life with you is so much fun, I am going to bring home two more partners just like you! We’ll be one big happy family. Won’t that just be the best?!”

Imagine your reaction. If you’re like me, it might include flinging some choice words and possibly some dinnerware at this loving partner’s head. Now, take on the role of a child in this scenario, replace the word partner with parent and we have the basic situation in which a singleton child is told that he or she is going to be a sibling to twins. While some children react favourably to such news, many don’t, and almost all have a limited understanding of the impact two new family members will have on his or her happy little life until it actually happens. This is where preparation comes in.

My son Keaton, now three and a half years old, welcomed his baby brother Tanner and baby sister Harper into the world nine months ago. A good-natured, spirited little guy, Keaton had his world turned upside down when the babies arrived home from the hospital and his sleep-deprived, exhausted parents tried to simultaneously care for two tiny infants and continue to meet his ongoing needs and demands. Suddenly the complete attention from two parents which he had basked in for his entire life so far was cut down to a third. After months of hearing from everyone around him how lucky he was to be getting two babies, reality set in. He saw a baby in mummy’s arms, and a baby in daddy’s arms, and no place for him. The adjustment period for all of us was long and slow and I’m not going to lie; it was difficult, it was overwhelming and it was not always pretty. With some advance preparation and forethought however, I believe we helped Keaton cope with the changes before him and accept the new version of normal with fewer tears (his and mine) than you might think.

(Hilary Beasley, 2009)

 

Once you’ve finished reading the text above, take a moment—individually– to consider the benefits (“Plusses”), challenges (“Minuses”) and any other Interesting points about your impending change in family structure.  Then print out two copies of the below chart, and complete it before sharing your ideas with your partner.PMI

Notice any themes or similarities that arise out of your two charts, and address any concerns you may have.  Share your family expertise!


3.  Family Relationships

Katherine-1-croppedAs you have probably already noticed, the dynamics in your family are about to get a lot more complex.  Adding two or more babies magnifies the number of relationships (check out the diagram below to see how hadding three people – triplets, or twins plus a nanny – adds complexity to a famil previously consisting of two parents and an only child.

 What are the implications of this impending change in family structure?

Time (apart from money) is the biggest factor—how will you have time to do the things you like to do with your older child(ren) and address already existing parenting challenges (from Topic 1)?

 

4.  Summary

Expecting two or more babies when you’re already parenting an older child can sometimes seem overwhelming.  Fear not!  Many have survived this added challenge!  🙂

Below are some tips from other parents of multiples who already had one or more children when they found out that more were on the way…

Christa (Mother of 2-year-old Quads and 5-year-old Singleton)Eating-Out-Of-The-Palm-Of-His-Hands

“Matthew has Autism so preparing him was basically impossible. He had to learn along as he went. We made him part from the first day they all came home. Matthew has grown into a sweet beautiful BIG brother. They certainly have their moments but most of them are truly sweet.”

(more quotes coming soon…)

boys-scuba

Multiple Births Canada offers offers a fact sheet on singleton siblings

Please write a love letter to each of your already-existing children—each parent should write his/her own letter(s)—and seal them in an envelope addressed to your child.You may wish to include things you notice about your child—his/her endearing habits, likes/dislikes, and so on, as well as things you enjoy doing together with your child at this point.  You may also wish to recount a short story, memory or anecdote that illustrates how you feel towards your child.Save this letter for an opportune time, and then give it to your singleton.  


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