Pregnant belly with hands

Congratulations you’ve waited months (or even years) and now you’re pregnant! You’re just as excited, anxious and confused as any first time expectant mom, but one thing adds to your anxiety: you have a stepchild.

You are a member of the growing population of stepmothers who are pregnant with their first baby. You are faced with the unique challenge of having your first child with a husband who has a child or children from a previous relationship.

Here are a few tips to help you enjoy your first pregnancy while being a stepmom:

  1. Don’t expect your stepchild to be as happy as you are
    While little Mary may not run through the house with her head spinning like she’s in a bad horror movie, she may not act as elated as you are about your pregnancy.  Keep in mind that regardless of your relationship with your stepchildren, they may experience jealousy or insecurity that daddy is having another baby. They may fear that he will love the new baby more.
  2. Let your husband (the dad) speak for himself
    Take the pressure off yourself and let dad speak for himself. He should assure the children that his heart is big enough to love all of his children.
  3. Never offer assurance to your stepchild by saying things won’t change after the baby
    The truth is the arrival of a baby brings changes in life. You probably won’t feel like hosting your stepchild’s soccer team after staying up the previous night attending to the needs of your newborn.
  4. Do provide realistic expectations
    Tell your stepchild that you may have to eliminate some of your activities during pregnancy and after the baby arrives. Remind your stepchild that the new baby will be a part of him or her. Tell your stepchild that he/she will always have a special place in your heart.
  5. Never offer assurance by saying you will love your newborn the same as your stepchild
    Even if you believe this is true at the time you announce your pregnancy, don’t say it. Why? As the months progress, you will be taken by surprise at the intensity of love you feel for the growing baby inside of you. Seeing the first ultrasound and feeling the first movements creates a bond that develops long before your baby is born. A stepmom usually does not have the opportunity to develop a bond with her stepchild before birth. The bond of a first time expectant mom can be so great with her developing baby that if she is a stepmom, she often wishes her husband was sharing the experience as a first time dad as well.
  6. Take time for you
    Take time to relax, pamper yourself and talk about your feelings with someone you trust. Cherish each day you grow closer to meeting the little one you’re carrying. Before you know it one day when you hold your baby, you’ll know why mothers refer to their little ones as “the hearts outside of their bodies.”
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