There is one person that has gone with me to every single doctors appointment I’ve had since I became pregnant, and it isn’t my husband. The little girl to your left has been with me since the moment I saw her baby sister on the ultrasound screen.
In the beginning, the only reason I took her with me was because it was convenient and harder for me to find a sitter. As time has passed, it has become a part of her life for her to see her baby sister on the “TV” screen every two weeks.
At two-years-old, I really don’t think she fully understands how her world will change in just five short months, but knowing that she is going to have a baby sister has made her the happiest I have seen her in a long time. Her happiness only makes me wonder, can a sibling bond start as early as the womb?
It didn’t become apparent to Harlan that there was a baby inside my belly until about 12 weeks when the ultrasound finally showed a structure that resembled a real baby. She has seen her ultrasound photos from when I was pregnant with her, so her first reaction to seeing a baby on the screen was to call it Harlan (because it looked just like hers.) After trying to explain to her that it wasn’t in fact her she was seeing on the screen but a baby in mommy’s belly, I began to see the look of fascination on her face.
That day the ultrasound technician printed out a picture of the ultrasound just for Harlan. She proudly carried it with her until we got home, even showing people on the bus. When we got home she rushed to her room and asked me to put the ultrasound picture on the wall right by her bed. She’s said good morning and good night to that picture every day since.
Once we surprised the family with the news, they began to ask Harlan where the baby was. She had two answers to this question. The first was, “in my room,” referring to the picture on the wall. The second answer was, “in mommy’s belly,” which she proceeded to go up to me and lift my shirt up for all to see. The confidence she has when showing people either the picture or my belly is one that I have never seen her convey.
Now that my belly is rapidly expanding, Harlan has started to notice and it’s become even more real to her that there is a baby growing inside of me. Every morning we have a routine of laying in bed together after I get her out of bed. For almost a month she has been coming over, will lift up my shirt, and kiss my belly. It it the sweetest, most loving thing she has ever done. She even talks to my belly, telling the baby that her name is Harlan and that she is her big sister.
We are now very open with her about the upcoming arrival to our family with hopes that it will make the transition easier once the baby comes home. This openness has her asking all sorts of baby questions (thankfully not how they get in my belly), including her favorite, “when are we going to see the baby on TV?” My only hope is that this bond that I see her forming with her baby sister now, is one that will last a lifetime.