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Baby on the way - how did it work for you with ex and DSCs?

(12 Posts)
temporarynoname Wed 31-Aug-11 12:49:33

I have changed my name for this one post, just in case DH's ex were to come on MN and recognise my other posts!

I have lived with my DH and his two DSs - age 9 and 12 - for the last four or five years. Relations with his ex are generally civil, but can be tense and occasionally pretty difficult. My DH and I are now expecting our first child together - very excited, but early stages.

Come late September we should have had the first scans, and miscarriage risk fallen, so we would then - all being well - want to start telling people. First off of course would be DH's (ex and) two sons.

I'm quite nervous about this - any big event in the past (moving in, buying a home, getting married) has been marred by tension and nasty comments from his ex to us and constant questioning of the kids, who then can become awkward too, when they were fine at first. How has anyone else who has been through this stage dealt with telling the ex and DSKs, and how have they (namely the kids) tended to react, on the news and on the actual arrival of the baby? Would you do anything differently in retrospect?!

Thanks in advance for any of your stories.

nenevomito Wed 31-Aug-11 13:09:02

I was lucky that my DSD was lovely when she found out I was pg. I think it depends a lot on how secure the children are in their relationships with their dad and you.

The main thing to do though is to be 100% positive about it with the boys so there is no 'ammunition' to pass back at all.

Be up front with them is the best advice I can give.

brdgrl Thu 01-Sep-11 10:13:16

I can't speak to the 'ex' issue (my DH was a single parent when we met), but DH's kids were 12 and 14 when we told them I was pregnant. They were excited about the baby; sure, there was some apprehension about how things would change, but mostly they were pretty thrilled about the idea of a new sibling. They were less thrilled about me! - but actually, the baby ended up bringing us all closer and making us more like a "real" family. DH's kids adore her, and I think we all feel that she is the best thing that could have happened to us all.
Good luck, I agree with babyheave that the most important thing is just to present it as a 100% positive event!!

stabiliser15 Thu 01-Sep-11 11:32:42

Congratulations temporarynoname!

My DH's ex took the news of my pregnancy very badly (cried) and professed to be very shocked about it! Which was ridiculous because she ended their relationship, manifestly does not still care for him in any way by then DH and I had been together and married for some time and she and I had previously discussed my desire to have children one day! Eventually she calmed down and was fine about it (she had "banned" DH from telling DSD but did realise this was silly and "allowed" him to tell her), but I guess the news was just a bit unsettling and of course she would have been concerned about how DSD would take the news.

My DSD was absolutely thrilled. She was 4 when we told her, after waiting until we were well past the 12 week scan. DH told her on his own. He sort of practised telling her so he could make sure she heard everything he wanted her too (lots of positive things and how it doesnt change how he felt about DSD but was a very lovely thing, and of course massively overdoing the VERY IMPORTANT role of a big sister).

DSD took it all in her stride, didnt need any of the rehearsed speech, just asked whether if the baby was a boy, could it be called George, and could she please watch some Peppa Pig?

We kept DSD involved in the pregnancy and she even came to a scan. We learned to give consideration to her name suggestions (after DH once laughed at one and upset her) and made sure that she was one of the first to meet DD, and DD bought her a present.

DD is 7 months old and bar the odd adjustment tantrum, has accepted DD really well, and clearly adores her little sister. DD for her part equally adores her big sister.

Sorry for the length, but hopefully your SDCs will take it in their stride and it will make you all closer as a family.

harassedandherbug Thu 01-Sep-11 14:19:49

I have to say that me being preg is about the only we haven't had any problems with his ex, my ex and dsd!!!

We have a 5yr old dd together and are expecting a ds on December 22nd (please god not Christmas Eve/ Day grin). Everyone has been happy for us, excited and generally nice <faints>.

I have two older ds's who adore their sister, and dsd is thrilled to have a sister and soon a brother as she is a single child with her mum. Hope that makes sense!

I agree with everything babyheave said. Be upfront and inclusive. When I was preg with dd I arranged mw appointments so that dsd could come too and hear the heartbeat, copied scan pics - stuff like that.


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Gingersnap88 Fri 02-Sep-11 22:26:44

Congratulations grin

I'm currently pregnant with my first child, with DP. DSS (5) took it brilliantly and seems genuinely happy and excited. The ex on the other hand went completely mad and told DP he was going to have to choose! She has had a DD with another man since my DP but she seems really upset by this. She keeps telling DSS that he doesn't want another sibling, and that it won't be a real sibling seeing ad it's not from her etc etc.

However, I am trying to involve DSS as much as possible by letting him pick things for the baby, reading books, making things etc. I think all you can do is remain positive and be the better person as it were, even if the ex wants to create problems. I hope that helps in some way, you're not alone!

chelen Sat 03-Sep-11 17:48:43

Hi, congrats on your pregnancy!

My SS (he lives with us) was 5 when we said we were expecting. We always wait til SS has few days at home to tell big news. On courtesy grounds we tell mum before SS springs things on her. We told SS after first scan.

I also went heavy on the big bro role and made effort to involve SS in scans, shopping for baby bath etc.

Agree about being positive and also feel its been v positive for our family as a whole.

Our early days were tough but right from the start the connection between the siblings shone thru and on the days when I'm struggling with my SS, I can still see what a lovely boy he is by looking at how great he is as a brother.

We do get some jealousy (as with all siblings) and sometimes my SS gets a bit cross when I do things in a different way to how he knows his mum did it, but I've just explained there is no one fixed way to be a mum - and then ignored his parenting advice!!

All the best, I hope all goes well x

temporarynoname Mon 05-Sep-11 14:52:08

Many thanks for all the replies, and the kind wishes! smile

Will certainly make sure we're wholly positive about it with the boys, and will consider the suggestion about telling his ex after the kids while they're with us for a weekend - their having mobiles is a new thing since the last big event. (Plus I was a bit miffed that the first person DH called to tell we were engaged was his exW!)

Lovely to hear several people say it's brought them closer together as a family. DH has tried to tell me this would be the case, but I end up just worrying that he spends so much of his free time with the boys now that he won't have any time for our baby. Apparently his ex has always had worries, should we have kids, about the same thing in reverse... confused How does it work when there is such an age gap though - they always want to be off on football and rugby training, playing or watching matches, and going to the cinema etc, not v baby friendly?

Thanks again for all the responses - it's so helpful to hear others' stories.

bonnymiffy Tue 06-Sep-11 13:41:42

My DSS was 9 when my DD was born, he was the first to be told of my pregnancy as we knew that a new family member would have the most impact on him (apart from us that is!). I would recommend keeping DSKs included as far as possible, show them scan pictures, ask their ideas for names (we did not use DSS's suggestions of Harry for a boy and Hermione for a girl!) and generally keep them on board. Since DD arrived he said he wanted to help out, so he gave her a bath (with DH!) which was lovely.
Now, he's not that bothered as much, after all small babies don't do a great deal, and he's more interested in playing with friends, but it works well. Yes, I was miffed that Ex was one of the first to know of her arrival, but that's life, and, as DSS knew his Dad wasn't at work (2 weeks pat leave), he spent most of the 2nd week with us, I would have been livid if I'd have had the energy (caesarean) but I guess it doesn't matter so much in the long run. It is a balancing act, isn't it.
Congratulations as well!

pootlebug Fri 16-Sep-11 21:35:03

We told DSS first (told his mother before he could tell her so she could hear it from us, but made sure he knew first). That was because we didn't trust her to leave it to us to tell him, or to tell him in a positive way.

We watched his initial reaction very carefully....he leaped up and punched the air in joy, and then spent the rest of the weekend asking a million questions and being all excited.

He'd been back with his Mum 24 hours when DH received an email from him that went on and on about how upset he was, how he felt he was being replaced, etc. To be fair, I suspect she would defend herself saying she was making sure he was okay, making sure he had the chance to voice all his concerns etc. But let's face it she made sure he saw all the potential downsides, and significant amounts of the wording in the email weren't really the words of a 9 year old.

All got resolved, but then when DH phoned DSS to say that he had a little sister, he seemed fine on the phone. Then he phoned DH back later on in hysterical tears about how awful it all was.

When he met her he looked nervous coming in the door, then was absolutely fine within 30 seconds, and has adored her since, as she does him.

Similar story when we told him we were expecting DS - excited when we told him, but then he went back to his Mum's and the emails about how upset he was started again. Again, apart from that flurry of emails, there've been no issues at all.

He is great with them and they love it when he is with us.

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