Maybe you've always wanted a baby brother or sister and your parents just told you you're going to have one. Hurray! Or maybe you have liked being an only kid and you're not quite sure how you feel about having a new sister or brother.
Either way, when your mom's going to have a baby, there are changes ahead. What should you expect when your mom is expecting?
Hurry Up . . . and Wait!
Having a baby takes a while. Usually about 9 months (sometimes less, if the baby comes early). Early on, your mom won't look much different, but she may feel more tired or have an upset stomach. It's common for pregnant women to feel sick and maybe even throw up. They call it morning sickness, but it can happen any time of the day. You might be worried about your mom, but she's OK. Morning sickness is a sign that your mom's body is changing to make the baby. In most women, morning sickness gets better after the first few months.
After about 3 or 4 months, your mother's breasts and belly will start to get bigger. She'll probably start eating more and will get a bit bigger every day. By the time she's about 6 months pregnant, if you watch her belly for a while you may be able to see the baby kicking and moving around inside! Ask your mom if you can put your hand on her stomach to feel your brother or sister kicking.
You also might be able to see the video from the ultrasound or see photos from it. An ultrasound is kind of like an X-ray. It's a way to see what's going on inside — in this case, to take a peek at the growing baby. The doctor might be able to tell if it's a boy or girl. Pretty cool!
By the time the baby's ready to be born, your mother's belly will be pretty big. She also might be tired more often and less able to run around with you. You can help her by carrying things for her or helping her get up from the sofa or out of a chair. If she drops something on the floor, pick it up. She will have a hard time bending over!
While your mom's body is changing, you might notice some changes around your house. Your parents will be figuring out where the baby will sleep and getting the crib and other stuff ready. Ask if you can help them decorate the room. Maybe they'll pull out some of your old clothes. Ask to see some baby photos of yourself. Aw! You were so cute!
Some kids share a room with their brother or sister. If the baby will be sleeping in your room, talk to your parent about ways to make sure your part of the room feels like yours — maybe you can put both of your names on the door or put a sign over your bed that says your name.
You may have different feelings about the new baby that's on the way. Some days, you might be really excited about it. Other days, you might wish for the old days when your mom wasn't expecting a new baby. Maybe you feel like your mom and dad are too busy planning for the baby to pay attention to you. Or maybe you're jealous that the baby has so much new stuff. But just because your parents are busy getting ready for the baby doesn't mean they love you any less!
It's normal for a kid to have happy and sad feelings about having a new brother or sister. You might try talking to your mom or dad or another adult, like a grandparent, about how you feel. Or maybe you want to write your feelings in a journal or draw pictures. Are you thinking about who will take care of you when the new baby is born and everyone is at the hospital? Ask about it and then you'll know what the plan is.
Meanwhile, think about all the fun times you'll be able to have with the new baby, especially when he or she gets a little older. How lucky that baby is to have you as an older brother or sister!