How to Talk to 4 Year Old about new baby after late loss - Mothering Forums

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#1 of 7 Old 02-29-2012, 10:53 AM - Thread Starter
 
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Hi there. I've searched and searched and I haven't been able to figure this one out fully, so thought I'd ask here.

 

Last year we lost our second son during labor, full term. Our DS1 was about to turn 3 at the time. We of course, talked to him about what happened since he knew we were "expecting" his little brother. Now, I'm pregnant again and pretty far along (scheduled c-section for April 4th).

 

We have of course told him about this pregnancy, and talked to him about the baby coming (a girl this time, so he knows it's a "little sister"). However, lately he has had numerous potty regression problems, aggression toward me (especially at bedtime, he can be downright mean), and issues with listening, etc. Now, I know it's typical for the age (he just turned 4 last week), but any advice I find online regarding this sort of behavior (particularly the potty issues) mention that a new baby coming can cause this - the stress of coming changes.

 

My question is - any advice I've seen online ALSO talk about how to make him more comfortable with the new baby, by doing things like: helping set up the nursery, talk about names, buy the baby a gift, etc. The problem is, because of my loss, I CANNOT do any of those things! We are buying nothing, we are not setting up anything, we are not discussing names, etc. I am scared to death of losing this baby at the end like last time, and so it's even hard for me to talk to him about "his little sister" or have him feel my belly (both of which I have gritted my teeth and did, because I feel like we should be doing something and not be all doom and gloom in front of him). My DH is more optimistic than I am, and does talk to him more about the baby. However, I feel like I need to do something more, too - especially since he's showing more hostility toward me lately and it possibly seems to be affecting his behavior - he's even having potty accidents at school, which was rare before.

 

Anyone had to go through this before? Thanks.


Living in a very large midwestern city with a wonderful guy, an AMAZING boy wonder, and 1 ancient cat. Missing our 2nd boy wonder, lost Feb 2011 during labor on his due date. Now possibly going back down the rabbit hole, with a BFP on 8/11/11, and a due date of April 10, 2012.

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#2 of 7 Old 02-29-2012, 01:02 PM
 
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EK- Hugs to you. I also have a 4 year old...I think 4 is much hard than the "terrible 2s".... As far as preparing him for the new baby that will be arriving soon, I guess it's tough with the late of your last son...I wonder if he is afraid of the same thing happening again too. Since you aren't going to prepare anything before your baby girl arrives, maybe you could have him make her a card, a picture or something like that. All my losses were first trimester so we have been buying things and preparing...DD has picked out some "big sister" "little sister" outifits...Do you feel comfortable talking up the "big brother" role at all? If so, maybe you could make or purchase a big brother book. Maybe he would have fun making a book??? I don't know if my advice is of any help, as I have not had full term loss. I'm so sorry you are having a rough time right now. You are going to schedule you c-sec this week, right? I think it will be a little better once you have a date set for that so you can start a countdown....maybe you and DS could make a countdown chart of some sort after your c-sec date is set? You could make a paper chain and have him take off a link each day? Or make a calendar where he can cross off each day then count the days left.


Stacey, wife to DH shine.gif, mom of DD (01/08) energy.gif and DD2 (05/12) dust.gif  1 furbaby dog2.gif and 7 angel babies angel1.gif. We goorganic.jpg familybed1.gif and drink lots of decaf green and herbal teapot2.GIF.

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#3 of 7 Old 02-29-2012, 05:51 PM
 
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I'm in the same boat here. We had a full term **** birth in august and now sure again in september. we have told the kids and they are worried that this new baby won't make it either. I keep reassuring them that it rarely ever happens. I usually tell them that what happened with Alice was an sad accident. And its ok it be a kittie scared but its also ok to be happy and excited, she would have wantedus to be excited and happy about a new baby. Sometimes I feel like a hypocrite because I'm scared it will happen again and I have a really hard time with them wanting to rub my belly or talking to him or her.

I'll be watching this thread for more suggestions

Israel, mom to  DD, Ivy, 4-27-06 :and DS, Kai, 12-29-07 and DD, Lilith 2-1-10 and always remembering Alice fullterm stillborn 08/31/11 (unexplained placental abruption) 

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#4 of 7 Old 02-29-2012, 06:43 PM - Thread Starter
 
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Stacey - thanks for the suggestions with the card/drawing. i especially like the idea of marking off days on the calendar. Since I'm getting a scheduled c-section (and yes, it's set for April 4!), that should be easy to do, assuming the baby doesn't come early, that is. It might be enough of an activity to keep him involved.  And I think I agree with you - "terrible twos" should really be for threes or fours, I think.

 

Also, we had some books about being a big brother before we lost DS2, and although DH brought them back out, I have had a hard time reading them - maybe we should buy a new one (to avoid my own feelings about it).

 

Israel/Cativari - so sorry to hear about your loss, too. I think you and I are on the same page re: the fear. I find myself having to hide it, too, from DS1. I hope your pregnancy is incredibly uneventful all the way through to the end.

 

And, if anyone has more advice, would be great. Thanks.


Living in a very large midwestern city with a wonderful guy, an AMAZING boy wonder, and 1 ancient cat. Missing our 2nd boy wonder, lost Feb 2011 during labor on his due date. Now possibly going back down the rabbit hole, with a BFP on 8/11/11, and a due date of April 10, 2012.

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#5 of 7 Old 02-29-2012, 09:15 PM
 
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EK - I was in your shoes with a 6 and a 4 year old expecting a 4th after the 3rd died when they were 3 and 5 at 40 weeks. They participated in the funeral and we always talked about Norah, the girl we lost. There lots of doll babies that died in the year after Norah died. I attended lots of doll funerals. I let them act out and play everything through. When it was obvious I was pregnant again. I did not reassure them. I couldn't - how could I be sure. I just said that I wanted this one to stay and sure hoped that we would have another little one that made it here alive. We did not do anything to get ready either. I didn't even have a car seat (DH bought one while I was in the hospital). The kids seemed fine with the ambiguity, whether or not we would have a sibling. I'm sure they acted out but I don't remember. I was really wrapped up in just making it through each and every day. I wish you a peaceful and safe delivery of this new little one.


D. proud Mom of H. E. M. and T. always remembering Norah (11/07 at 40 wks) and (10/06) see profile
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#6 of 7 Old 03-03-2012, 06:31 AM - Thread Starter
 
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namaste_mom  - thanks. Since DS1 was barely 3, we did not include him in the funeral at the time, but we have talked about his little brother and now that he's older, we definitely want to share our feelings about losing DS2 and such...he knows he had a little brother, and now potentially may get a little sister. I'm glad your kiddos were okay with the ambiguity. I think I have to maintain that ambiguity for my own sanity right now, kwim? As for the play, he does that a little bit too - as time has gone on, it's been a little less - but I think that's normal for him...

 

He's also been a little calmer. Potty accidents still flaring up a bit but his daycare is working with us with rewards and extra attention to the issue, which I think is helping. The listening is still hard, and the aggression can be there when he's tired, but it seems to be letting up a bit. I've started letting him draw an "X" in the calendar in his room for every day, and circled the date of my c-section, so he seems to be having fun counting down that way; and he wanted to go to an appointment I had Friday - so I think including him in those things might help without too much talk about "when the baby is here", which still makes me nervous.

 

Thanks. I hate that there are people who have BTDT (wouldn't wish this on anyone!), but it's nice to get advice/support.


Living in a very large midwestern city with a wonderful guy, an AMAZING boy wonder, and 1 ancient cat. Missing our 2nd boy wonder, lost Feb 2011 during labor on his due date. Now possibly going back down the rabbit hole, with a BFP on 8/11/11, and a due date of April 10, 2012.

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#7 of 7 Old 03-28-2012, 01:09 PM
 
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Probably won't help that much, but here's my experience.

My daughter was almost 4 when our son Ezekiel died (31 wks)  in August.  It was her first night away from us, when we delivered him.  Now I'm pregnant again (7 wks) and at 6 weeks I started spotting and went into the ER, turned out everything was fine.  But anyway, after that we decided to tell her,( though we were going to wait until about 20 weeks, because 9 mo is so long for a young child to wait).  She knew something was weird because mama and dada went to the doctor instead of church, and we thought it would be less stressful for her to know why rather than wonder why.

Anyway, after that she started throwing tantrums twice a day (not at all normal).  I was sure that she either was freaking out about baby dying or freaking out about Mama and Dada being so sad again since babies bring very sad dark times.  But first we went to the doctor, and it turned out she had a double ear infection, probably from a cold she had two weeks ago.  She denied her ears hurting, even when the doctor asked.  After 4 days of the antibiotics, she is back to normal.

But, before we knew that, I started asking around for a counselor/psychiatrist person who could meet with us.  I'm planning on going to a support group, my anxiety this pregnancy is insane and won't end until I hold a living child.  (I guess worry for your child never ends, but it doesn't typically have such a grip on me.)  So, why not some support for her?  I think, for us, the trick would be finding someone appropriate and useful.

 

When we were preparing for Ezekiel, we made my daughter a book with baby pictures of her, and then recent pictures.  It went something like "When M was a baby, she cried alot"  (pic of crying) She cried when she was hungry (pic) she cried when she was sleepy (pic) She couldn't talk, so she cried to let Mama and Dada know something was wrong, and they had to puzzle it out ....  She liked to listen to mama sing (pic)  She liked to chew on her fingers ..... She thought everything was food, so we had to keep everything off the floor or she would try to eat it (and other such baby safety info) ... Now M is a big girl and she is going to be such a great help with teaching the new baby and keeping him safe....

She loved reading this book, we were trying to teach her that babies are kind of boring for a while, but she can still be a great big sister.  Now we can't read this book, and have put it away.  But maybe it's another idea for you.  We actually got it printed for free with some photo book coupon code.

 

 

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