(Closed) telling 4 year old daughter she is not going to be a big sister

posted 7 years ago in Babies
Post # 3
46 posts
  • Wedding: January 2011

I’m so sorry to hear this ๐Ÿ™ It’s bad enough that you have to deal with it — much less answer to a little one about what’s going on!  

It sounds like your daughter is school-aged, and that’s something I would keep in mind as you decide what to do.  You know how little ones share everything they know, so if you don’t want everyone at school or in play groups to know what’s up, it might be better to tell her that you decided to wait and minimize it as much as possible.  Otherwise, I think that kids are really good with the truth as long as you put it in terms they can understand.  I’ve heard of people telling their children that babies are like seeds in a garden, where not all of them grow.  It’s a sad discussion however you have it (and again, I’m so sorry that you have to have it at all), but at least that is a fairly straightforward visual that doesn’t have to get too morbid for a five year old.

I will be keeping you in my thoughts…I hope it goes well!

Post # 4
3638 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: September 2015

I fully believe in telling children the truth about death. If her grandparent died would you really tell her they just “went on holiday” or something else made up?

She needs to grieve too and it can’t help you that she is still happy about the baby. Yes it will be hard but death is something which every child must learn about and in some ways the sooner they do, the better.

One day you will end up telling her about the miscarriage and at the point do you really want her to feel betrayed? By that time she’ll be old enough and feel as if you really hid her from the world and didn’t bring her into what you were going through.

How will you be able to share with her the excitement of a new baby once your trying is successful if she thinks that it is the same baby? 

I like the idea of tell her about seeds in a garden and how not all of them grow, that is a wonderful way to explain it.  

Good luck, I know it will be hard but to me this is the best way.


Post # 5
2538 posts
Sugar bee
  • Wedding: November 2009

I would do what the first two posters suggested and tell her you decided to wait.  I do not think it is lying or betrayal in any shape or form.  It must be really hard having her talk about it all the time!  Good luck with TTC and with talking to her!

Post # 6
131 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: April 2011

I agree with Tickles. My oldest daughter will be 4 in July. I have openly discussed death with her and she is confident in Heaven and that whoever dies goes to a better place. I like the flowers in a garden idea, though. It seems as though it would be a great example for a child to understand. I’m very sorry for your loss and I hope that whatever you tell your little girl goes well.

Post # 7
102 posts
Blushing bee
  • Wedding: September 2012

My lil guy is 5 and if I were in your shoes I would tell him the truth. I like the idea of the seed too! I would maybe not tell him the baby died. I would just say the baby didnt grow or make it! Or if your religous maybe you could tell her god really needed the babies help in heaven! I hope this goes well for you. I am sooooo sorry for your loss!

Post # 8
1137 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2011

While you may not tell her the ‘full truth’ now, you may want to consider it later. This past year I just found out that my mother had a miscarriage before me. And I didn’t find out from my parents – I found out from my older sister, who I was at a luncheon with and someone asked about our age difference (10 years).

I wish they had told me at some point in my life – even if it wasn’t until I want older. I haven’t even brought it up to them, as I just don’t know how to talk about the topic.

Just something to consider – in case it ever comes up and your daughter doesn’t find out from you.

Post # 9
1046 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2011

I think you should tell her the truth, but altered truth.  Like a PP suggested, saying that God needed the baby in heaven. (If you’re religious.)

In the future, if she were to find out the truth and it didn’t come from you; that could cause a trust issue. I’ve seen that personally happen to a friend.

Post # 10
96 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: February 2000

Maybe it’s because of how I was raised – but I think she’s a little young for the harsh reality of death. I think you’re fine telling her that you decided to wait. You don’t want her to be scared or thinking about death of a sibling if she doesn’t have to.

When she’s older (and I don’t mean adult, just old enough to understand and not be afraid) you can tell her about the miscarriage. I guess it’s never an easy conversation either way. I’m sorry for you & your family’s loss.

Post # 11
2820 posts
Sugar bee

My mom had 2 miscarriages when I was around that age.  I don’t remember exactly how she told us but I knew there was a baby in her belly and now there wasn’t.  Probably finding a nice way to explain it would be best.  Life and death are still so abstract at that age a little sugar coating I don’t think hurts.  I actually feel a little bad because my reaction after the 2nd one was ‘oh mom, they must have been boys and you don’t have boys’.  Sorry you’re going through this and I hope your conversation with her goes OK.

Post # 12
1003 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: June 2012

I fully believe in telling the truth. When my grandfather died she just told me I wasn’t allowed to see him anymore. UHUH. Yeah, I and my mother can tell you how well that went over. To this day I am still bitter and resentful towards my mother for not giving me the skills to deal with people dieing. 

People need to give children a lot more credit. They are smart and someday they will figure it out. 

Post # 13
96 posts
Worker bee
  • Wedding: February 2000

@sceeder: that’s terrible! ๐Ÿ™ Your grandfather was someone you knew, was present in your life and loved you. You absolutely should’ve been told what happened. 

When I was really small, I had pets that died and my parents were very honest with me that kitty had passed away. Kitty was sick and very old and wasn’t hurting anymore in cat heaven. They told me it was okay to be sad about it and cry. When I was a little older, 10, my grandpa died and was told something similar.  

I just think – and this is personally, to each their own, no judgements here – that miscarriage is tough, because to a small child it’s the idea of being a big brother or sister and having a baby in the house, not the reality. And to me, that’s what makes the difference. I wouldn’t want my 4 year old worrying about whether the next baby in my belly would make it or not. 

Never an easy conversation. Even for adults. ๐Ÿ™ 

Post # 14
13096 posts
Honey Beekeeper
  • Wedding: July 2010

I think you should tell her the truth, but a slightly sugar-coated version.  I really like the garden/seeds metaphor – I think that puts things in terms a 5-year old can understand.

Kids need to be given more credit – they can understand and deal with a lot more than adutls realize.

Post # 15
2889 posts
Sugar bee

I think miscarriages are harder for children to understand than death as they never met the person involved. My mom miscarried when I was about 6 but she never told me (never told me she was pregnant either) until I was about 10 a couple of years after my brother was born. The concept of a miscarriage as a dead baby is not one I would want to explain to a child. Since you are still TTC I think telling her it’s taking longer than you planned is a better idea. Telling her when she is older is always an option.

Post # 16
1392 posts
Bumble bee
  • Wedding: September 2010 - Heron Hill Winery

there is a book about this geared towards young children…I remember reading it to a little girl I used to nanny for….it might become useful since young children cannot fully understand why death happens.  It can often be frustrating and anger them a bit, the book may help ease the explaination.



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