When baby actually arrives: Helping first-time mums, who were a stepmum first!

Photography:Poppy Peterson Photography

By Karalee Katsambanis

Step parenting is full of challenges. So is parenting. 

Becoming a mum is full of challenges you cannot even realise until you become one. 

I was a stepmum for a few years before I had my first child, a little boy. 

I have some great tips to give you both before birth and afterwards to smooth the path ahead. 

Bonding with any child comes through involvement and interest.  

If you have been involved with your stepchildren, no matter what your or your partner’s relationship may be with their mother, show them that they are part of the baby journey and they will respond excitedly and positively.

Regardless of their age, when you announce that you are going to be having a baby ‘which is growing in your tummy’ try to involve them. Here are some tips that may help: 

  1. Explain to them that this baby will be their brother or their sister forever and you would like them to be as involved as they would like to be. 
  1. Reassure them that while some things will change, what won’t change is the fact that you are all family and they will always be loved. 
  1. Ask them for their name suggestions. Naturally, you will get final say and you don’t need to feel pressured to include their suggestions but sometimes their suggestion might be good or even appropriate for a middle name. 
  1. If it is possible, take them along on a shopping excursion when you choose the cot, pram, bath, car seat or even some basic baby toys.  
  1. With younger stepchildren, you can make up a little diaper bag for them to “help change” the baby or to simply use on their dolls as you are doing the real thing! 
  1. When your stepchildren are at your house, make sure that your whole life does not revolve solely around ‘the new baby’. You must keep up your interest in them and ask what they are up to at school and all their other activities and interests. 

When you have given birth, you will find that your hormones may be all over the place, tiredness will kick in and the enormity that you have created a little human being may overwhelm you. 

You might be reading this article while you are in hospital or perhaps you are skimming through it as baby has just gone to sleep. 

If you have had a caesarean, life will be a bit tricky for the next 6 weeks. Things you might have easily done before or not even thought of will suddenly be a real challenge. Doing no vacuuming, lifting, driving or exercising can make you feel lost and helpless. A caesarean is a big procedure and definitely not something to be trivialised.

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