In general, a first pregnancy tends to be the most exciting. It makes sense, right? It's novel! It's unpredictable! But subsequent pregnancies give you the opportunity to share the happy news with your older child or children. What could be more wonderful than sharing that you'll be having another beloved child with someone you love more than anyone in the world? I asked moms to share how their kid reacted when they found out they were going to have a sibling, because, well, let's just say different kids have different reactions.
My son was young when I became pregnant with my second — just 2 — so I was fully prepared for him to not really understand the big news. What I did not expect was for him to look at me, dead-eyed, and reply: "No." No follow-up to that. Just a very clear, very deadpan "no."
I tried to explain more clearly, telling him that a baby was in mommy's belly, but he wasn't interested. All he could say was "no." I even tried to convince him that this was an exciting development, and promised him that when it was warm and sunny again he would have a brother or sister to play with. And that's when his cold stare broke. He scowled in annoyance and gave me a frustrated wave of his hand. "No! No sister, no brother!"
And that was that. We were not allowed to discuss the baby. Like... ever. To this day I consider it a miracle that my son ended up liking his sister from day one.
But again, no two kids are alike and how a soon-to-be older sibling responds to the news will be as varied as kids themselves. So with that in mind, here's how other children responded to the news that they would be joined by a sibling:
"We had been trying for another baby for four years. When the test was positive I screamed! My husband and daughter ran into the bathroom and my daughter said, 'What's all the screaming about?' My husband said, 'There is a baby in mommy's tummy. You're going to have a little brother or sister.' My daughter hugged and kissed my belly. She was so excited."
"We asked my daughter at some point if she would be equally OK with a brother or a sister but she said she wanted a sister, and if she couldn't have a sister next would be a kitten, then a brother. I opted to wait until we confirmed the sex before telling her at all and when I found out, I found a private moment to share the news with her. 'Guess what? You're going to be a big sister and you're getting a little baby sister.'
'Whaaaat? Yayyyyyyyyyyyyyyy! I'm so happy, thank you, Mommy! But can we still get a kitten, too?'
'... ...We'll have to discuss with daddy.'
"My oldest was not happy about the news of any of her [three] siblings. She cried every time, because, "You won't love me anymore!" which was code for, "I won't be the center of attention anymore!"
"We told our kids that I was pregnant with number three when they were 6 and 4. My 6-year-old daughter was, and still is, thrilled. My 4-year-old basically said 'meh.' Now that the baby is due in a few weeks they're both very excited, but have both also made it clear that this should definitely be the last one."
"My daughter was 2-years-old when I got pregnant with my son. We waited until I was 15 weeks to tell her and did not find out the baby's sex. We got her one of those corny 'big sister' shirts and read it to her. She was super excited... for a baby chicken. She really wanted me to have a baby chicken and was adamant that she did not want a baby brother or sister."
"My son was 2 and he was very excited but insistent that he wanted a sister. It had to be a girl. He would say this daily until we found out the gender. Luckily, he got his wish!"
"My oldest always feels responsible for his younger siblings and he was not thrilled when we first told him about the new baby which is number five. We were driving and talking about the new baby one day and he said, So I'm almost thinking you are doing this on purpose.' I replied, 'What? What do you mean?' He said, 'Like you want more babies... I don’t know how that happens, but maybe you ate peanuts with the shell on or something?'"
"My husband asked our daughter, 'How would you feel if we had a baby at the end of March?' And she said, "What? No. Are you kidding? That's A HORRIBLE idea!!' And then we looked at each other and I said, 'Well, what if we told you it is actually happening?' We got a skeptical look from the kid and then I said, 'And right now the baby is only as big as a tiny kidney bean!' And she got all schmoopy and said, 'Awwww, that's so cute!' And then we immediately had her call my parents to break the news and she did so by yelling, 'WE'RE GETTING A BABY AND I'M SO ANGRY!' but she was grinning the whole time.
"We told our blended family with three kids (ages 18 months, 8, and 9) by having them unwrap a framed ultrasound image. The 9-year-old immediately understood, as you can see by her expression. It took the 8-year-old a moment to understand what she was looking at, but she was equally excited. The 18-month-old didn't understand and just ran around the room squawking like a chicken. (You can see him about to run in front of the camera off to the side of the image.)"
"Our sweet girl wanted a little sister so badly and when we told her we were having another baby she burst into happy tears. She's so sensitive and she was completely overwhelmed. When we told her we couldn't promise if it was going to be a sister she said, 'I don't care, I just want a baby to love!' We had a boy and she's lived up to her pledge."
"He scowled, howled, ran into his room, and slammed the door. We weren't allowed to talk to him for the rest of the evening. He got over it."
"He couldn't process that there was a baby in my belly. He believed us that he was getting a little brother, and we told him 'Baby Frankie is in mama's belly,' but he didn't believe us because he kept asking 'But where really?'"
"It was a complete and total shitshow. Full-blown pre-schooler meltdown. Then she told us in a super dramatic voice that she was going to move out so the baby could have her room and 'she wouldn't bother anyone.' I knew she wasn't serious but just wanted us to fawn over her, which we did and then she was fine."
"My kids, the older of whom was too young to have a reaction when I got pregnant with her brother, were teenagers when I found out I was having a third. Their initial reaction was horror and shock ("How can mom even get pregnant?!") and after that they played it cool but they were pretty excited. They're wonderful with their little sister."
"I have eight kids and I don't think any of them have batted an eyelash since baby number four. It's a way of life around here: chances are mom's probably pregnant."