Storks no longer drop off babies the way they used to; and kids today are not likely to accept some cock and bull story about where babies come from. So if mommy is pregnant and another little bundle of joy is on the way, how do you explain this to your child? How do you explain the concept of pregnancy to a child?
How early you tell a child about another on the way, and what exactly you tell them depends upon the age of the child and his or her level of maturity. It makes sense to tell an older child fairly early on in the pregnancy – he or she may find mommy’s nausea, her mood swings or tiredness difficult to understand and may cause worry or anxiety.
You can leave telling a younger child till later or when the baby bump is visible or if the child expresses curiosity about it.
Explain to the child that the baby is very little and needs a place to grow before he comes out to say hello; and that mommy’s tummy has a special bag that protects the child and makes it grow.
Let the child get involved in the process of pregnancy – let the child accompany you to shopping expeditions as you stock up supplies for baby’s arrival or as you make adjustments to the nursery, set up the crib and so on.
If possible take the child along for prenatal appointments – the child may not be able to make out much during the ultrasound but can hear the heartbeat and see some movement, which can be very exciting for them.
Discuss baby names with your child and give due consideration to their suggestions as long as they don’t include ‘Goofy’, ‘Pooh’ ‘Piglet’ or ‘Tigger’.
You can allay a child’s possible apprehensions by giving him of her lots of reaffirming love and spending quality time with them. Also explain in advance that mommy will have to go away for a few days since she needs to be in a hospital so that they can help get the new baby out of mommy’s stomach. However reassure the child that you will soon be back.
The BBC children’s website, CBeebies has a great little animation that helps explain a pregnancy to a child in simple and child friendly terms. There is a separate chapter devoted to all the months of the pregnancy, to explain to the child what is going on with the baby in mommy’s stomach.