Big Issues – Having a baby after separating
Nowadays, many couples who have a baby already have a child from a previous relationship.
Parenting always brings new issues, but bringing a new life into a step family can bring about its own set of difficulties and affect people in different ways.
Children from previous relationships
Children will have very mixed feelings about having a baby brother or sister.
If they are still young, they will probably be excited about having a younger sibling and will no doubt be looking forward to holding the baby and helping with feeding.
On the other hand, the child from a previous relationship may start to feel left out if the new parent starts to give the baby all of his or her attention.
They may also feel confused about what family they belong to, especially when they go to visit their other biological parent while the new baby stays at home. This may make the child feel like they are being disloyal to one parent and to their new sibling.
Some children are better at hiding their feelings than others, and when you’re pre-occupied changing nappies, cleaning up baby food and feeling exhausted from a lack of sleep, you may miss the small signals that your other child is unhappy.
Talk honestly with your other child, ask how they feel about the change to the family and above all, reassure them that you love them just as much as you did before the birth of your new child.
First time parent
In some cases, just one parent has a child from a previous relationship. When this happens, the new parent and the experienced parent will have very different perspectives on childcare.
The new parent may feel overwhelmed and find caring for a baby difficult. At times he or she may feel not as good as the more experienced parent, who may be taking the situation in their stride.
The lack of sleep and intimacy that tends to come after the birth of a child can also take its toll on the new parent. Therefore, it’s important that the experienced parent is sensitive and aware of the feelings of the new parent. They should acknowledge that this is a new situation for their partner. The best approach is to find ways to share the experiences, both good and bad and build a team approach to parenting.
For more help, why not download Sleep, Sex and Sacrifice? This free resource is packed with examples of how other new parents deal with the changes that come with having a baby and offers lots of useful tips.
If you have concerns about how a new baby will affect the time you spend with your children from a previous relationship, why not visit our free Forum where memebers of the community and our team of moderators can give you help and support.