I’ve got an eight year old daughter from my previous marriage and neither I or her Mum have had any other children. DD has always wanted a brother or sister. When we moved earlier in the year to a larger house, one of her first questions was ‘which one will be the room for the baby?’ She looked disappointed when we told her the spare room was going to be an office.
When we found out my wife (Loz) was pregnant just a few months later, one of my first thoughts was ‘when and how do I tell my daughter she won’t be an only child any more?’ We decided the ‘when’ should be after the 12 week scan because that way we’d have a better idea if everything was well and the baby was healthy. She’d be devastated if we told her too early and then found out something was wrong. It was difficult keeping the news a secret though, aside from the excitement of it all, Loz really didn’t have the easiest of first trimesters.
She really was hit by extreme waves of tiredness. Some nights she was in bed by 8pm and just looked so worn out the whole time. There wasn’t much sickness for her though, just really bad nausea that seemed to hit very randomly leaving her looking very queasy and needing to stop whatever she was doing until it passed. DD is very aware of people and their feelings and emotions, and she did seem to notice that something was amiss. She only lives with us at the weekend so whilst Loz tried to put a brave face on the symptoms it wasn’t easy to hide.
Loz was only actually sick a handful of times, one of those was one busy Sunday Morning. DD was fairly shocked at Loz being sick so ‘randomly’. She came to me and said ‘Dad, I think Lozzie is being sick. What’s wrong with her?’ I just mustered the excuse it must’ve been something she ate and thankfully she didn’t question it much further.
The 12 week scan arrived and all was well, so we were finally able to break the news to her, but how?
We did toy with the idea of giving her a card ‘from the baby’, but with her being eight, she would probably be more concerned about the ‘mechanics’ of how that might work rather than the sentiment behind it. So we thought we’d give her a card from us, with a copy of the scan of the baby inside for her to keep and look at when she wanted to. I was expecting we would have to ‘Moonpig-it’, as I thought a ‘You’re going to be a big sister’ card might be a bit too specialist for the High Street – I was wrong! We picked up this in Clintons.
It was perfect!
So the big day arrived. It was the day of Loz’s birthday which was the first time we’d seen DD since the scan. After giving Loz her present it was time to give DD the card. She looked very puzzled and said,
“It’s not my birthday.”
She opened it and read the front.
“What? Eh?” she mused.
Without missing a beat she opened the card and looked at the scan that was stuck inside.
“Uuuuuurrrrrggggh what’s THAT!?”
Not the reaction we hoped for, but to be fair to most children (and a lot of adults) a scan is a bit of a weird looking thing!
“That’s er..” *fighting back tears* “your baby brother or sister” I choked out.
DD looked even more confused, she looked at the scan, looked at Loz’s tummy, looked back at the scan, looked at Loz, looked at me.
“You’re going to be a big sister” – and with that I felt a tear sliding down my cheek.
She was visibly shocked, and taken aback by the news but she slowly came round to it all. She’s never really been one to whoop and scream with excitement, but the massive smile and hugs showed she was pleased. After we had our moment I went to make a cuppa, although DD warned me – ‘Don’t make Lozzie’s too hot, it’ll burn the baby’ with a very serious look on her face. I left Lozzie to explain that babies aren’t in ‘that’ tummy.
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