Adding an ‘Ours Baby’ to our blended family
With four children between us already, having an ‘ours baby’ was a big step for everyone. We didn't want anyone to feel pushed out or threatened and really wanted the new baby to have a good relationship with her siblings. Here’s how we made sure everyone fell in love with Baby V even before she arrived!
We decided that each of us would tell our own children so they would feel able to ask any questions and be honest with how they felt. We waited until 12 weeks for the younger ones but I wanted to tell Seb earlier as he was much older and I thought he should be the first to know. I was most nervous about telling him. I knew it would be very unexpected and I worried about how he would take it. We found out a few weeks before I went on a weekend away with the girls but I didn't want to tell him before I went incase he didn't take it well. I decided to tell him when I got back and spent the whole break worrying about it. The day after I arrived home I sat him down and said I had some news before asking how he would feel about having a baby brother or sister. As expected, he was shocked and after a brief chat he disappeared to his room for a while - I’m guessing to process the news. He resurfaced a few hours later and seemed really pleased. From then on he was super excited and has always been brilliant with Baby V. I think he appreciated us telling him early on and giving him the time to get his head around things before we announced the news to anyone else.
Telling my niece, Tilly, was fun! She loves babies and I knew she would be ecstatic. I told her during a game of ‘3 marker challenge’ (google it if you’re unfamiliar) where I wrote down the announcement. I’ve still got a video of Tilly reading it and running round the room with excitement! She’s been proud as punch since and tells everyone who will listen about Baby V.
Mr S told his children after 12 weeks too. He showed them the scan photo and explained that they were going to be a big brother and sister. I don't think Teddy really took it on board at first but Mia was really excited. We had been worried about how she would feel so it was a relief but whilst she was happy about the baby, one thing we didn't anticipate was her understanding of the situation. It became clear soon after she heard the news that Mia didn't realise that the baby was Daddy’s too - she thought it was just mine. I think she found the idea of Daddy having a baby with someone other than her Mummy confusing. We talked about our new family and explained how Baby V would be related to her and gradually, over time, it made more sense to her.
The gender reveal
Tilly and Mia were desperate for a girl from the start. Seb was less bothered and Teddy was oblivious to what was going on but we decided to take them all to a scan to find out the baby’s gender.
We went private as we thought we wouldn’t be able to take them all to a hospital scan but we’ve since found out that’s not the case. My local NHS trust allows you to take children in to your antenatal scans but it might be different for other trusts so it’s worth asking the question.
We also agreed it would be better to have the 20 week scan without the children there incase any concerns were raised. This way, we had the assurance that everything was ok beforehand.
The week after my 20 week scan, we went to a local baby scanning studio and paid £50 for a 3D scan and gender reveal, including photos. The one we went to displayed the scan on a big screen on the wall, which was nice for the children although it was still pretty difficult for them to make anything out so we had Seb pointing features out!
We explained the children wanted to know if we were having a boy or girl and when the lady announced the news the girls were delighted! It was such a nice experience finding out when everyone was there; I would definitely recommend it.
Once we knew we were having a girl, the next hot topic was her name. We naively decided we would choose the name as a family. We asked for suggestions and said we would agree the final one between us. When the girls suggested Twinkle and Unicorn we had to rethink things!
Mr S and I came up with a list of names we liked instead and we did a family vote…that didn't work either. We couldn't agree so we gave up trying and just chose the first name with help from my son, letting the girls choose a middle name instead.
We also agreed it would be our family secret until the baby was born so they felt part of something important. Incredibly the girls didn't tell a soul until she arrived!
Baby V’s arrival
By the time my due date arrived, everyone was very excited to meet the new baby and we were pretty sure that we had dealt with any worries but now wasn't the time to let things slip. We wanted everyone to meet Baby V as soon a possible. As I was induced, my son came to the hospital and ended up being there for a large part of my early labour. When things really got going, he left but was straight back after the baby arrived. Him being there and seeing him hold his little sister was one of the proudest moments of my life.
Shortly after the birth, when we were on the ward, we were making plans for the rest of the children to visit but were told that the policy was only to allow maternal (my) children to visit. We explained that we are a blended family and that is was very important that all of our children were part of this special occasion but the nurse said it was out of her hands. Mr S isn’t one to cause a fuss but he was tired, emotional and this meant a lot to him so he asked the nurse to speak with someone who could overrule this as his children were on their way to meet their little sister and he wasn’t about to turn them away. In my opinion he was absolutely right to challenge the policy, which doesn't reflect modern family life. The nurse in charge was very sympathetic and apologetic in the end and we were allowed to spend some lovely time together as a family. I would suggest anyone with a similar family set up checks the policy at their health trust and speak to the staff about visits.
As Mr S co-parents his children, there was the option for the children to stay with their mum when Baby V first came home but we thought that would be the wrong message to send to them. We didn’t want them to ever think they had been pushed out or that we didn’t want to spend time with them so we did the opposite. It was the Christmas holidays when we had Baby V and we invited the children to stay with us for the majority of the holidays. They fussed over Baby V and we tried our best to fuss over them too.
We never want the children to feel like they aren't getting enough attention but, honestly, it’s not easy when there are 5 of them. Even now we’re always conscious of this and try our best to give them lots of reassurance but we're really lucky that everyone has fallen in love with Baby V. Rather than being a threat to the family, I think she has brought us all closer together.