New baby and divorced -- should I have waited to tell my kids from previous marraige about the new pregnancy?
I have a 4 year old and 10 year old that lives with with my ex husband.We have been divorced about 2 and a half years, he has full custody of the kids, and i only see them on weekends which is un fair but i am unable to do anything about it due to money. I am 5 months pregnant now and in another relationship. My ex said I should not have told my kids i was pregnant, that i should have just brought a new baby around one day.Is he right? or am i right in wanting them to be a part of their new brothers life.he is trying to keep them away from me now and thinks this is best for the kids. IS this the best way to deal with this with them?
Thanks for your question. We have been receiving a number of questions from divorced parents recently, and I know that many other individuals in your same situation will benefit from seeing your post.
First, congratulations on your pregnancy. This is a very intense and exciting time for you, and I hope that you have the time to rest and take care of yourself.
Second, regarding communicating with your children, I tend to advocate for honesty in communication between family members. Of course, communication must be balanced with the developmental age of the children, but generally, I think that parents should talk with their children directly. In my experience, I have found that "secrets" have a tendency to cause significant problems within a family. Children are much smarter and more observant than parents often give them credit for, and they often "know" that something is going on (in your case, I would imagine they would have noticed your growing tummy!), and they begin to form theories based upon their observations. However, although they may be observant, they don't have the life experience to always come up with the best hypotheses. Thus, they tend to assume the worst - that whatever is afoot has to do with them - most often, that their parents don't like them anymore, that they did something wrong, etc.
Thus, in your case, if you had not told your children, they may know that you are pregnant, but believe that you don't think they are worth telling; they may worry that you are sick and will die (remember, these are children). So, you had an opportunity to tell them the truth (also modeling honest behavior), and explain to them what is happening without forcing them having to come up with their own fantasies.
Regardless, you have already told them. What is done, is done. Everyone can now move forward openly and honestly to embrace the arrival of your child.
L. Compian, Ph.D.