Britney Spears pregnant with her third child – rise of age gap families
Watch: Britney Spears pregnant with third child
Britney Spears has announced she is pregnant with her third child, months after she escaped the legal arrangement that gave her father control over many aspects of her life.
The singer, 40, revealed the happy news that she was having a baby with her partner, Sam Asghari, to her 40.5 million followers on Instagram.
Sharing an image of a pretty pink tea cup surrounding by pink flowers, the singer revealed she initially believed she was putting on weight, but had since done a pregnancy test, which revealed she was having a baby.
"I lost so much weight to go on my Maui trip only to gain it back," she began in her post, describing Asghari as her ‘husband’.
"I thought 'Geez… What happened to my stomach???'
"My husband said, 'No you’re food pregnant silly!!!' So I got a pregnancy test…and uhhhhh well… I am having a baby…"
Read more: Sienna Miller felt 'pressure' to have more children and reveals she's frozen her eggs
Spears went on to say that she "won't be going out as much" to avoid paparazzi photographers.
The star, who is already a mum to sons Sean, 16, and Jayden, 15, who she shares with her ex-husband Kevin Federline, also revealed she suffered depression during one of her previous pregnancies.
Read more: Gemma Atkinson on mother scrutiny: 'You know your body and your baby best'
She said this pregnancy would likely be "hard" as she had previously experienced perinatal depression – the term for mental health issues occurring any time between becoming pregnant to about a year after giving birth.
She described it being "absolutely horrible" and said it was rarely talked about in the past because "some people considered it dangerous if a woman complained like that with a baby inside her".
But the singer went on to say she was grateful that it was no longer necessary to keep that pain a secret.
"This time I will be doing yoga every day!!! Spreading lots of joy and love," finished her post.
The rise of age gap families
When Britney Spears gives birth to her third child there will be over 15 years between the new baby and his or her older brothers, but the Toxic singer certainly isn't the only celebrity to have a big age difference between siblings.
Oscar-winning actor Reese Witherspoon became a young mum when she gave birth to her first child, daughter Ava Phillippe, in 1999 with her then husband Ryan Phillippe.
The couple went on to have a son together several years later, but after getting divorced Witherspoon remarried Jim Toth and gave birth to her youngest child, son Tennessee, in 2012, who is 13 years younger than his big sister.
Kate Winslet also has a 13-year age gap between her eldest child Mia Threapleton, born in 2000 and her youngest son, Bear Winslet who was born in 2013, with middle child, son Joe Mendes, 10 years older than his little brother.
Meanwhile there's a large age spread across Bruce Willis' five daughters. The Die Hard star's eldest three daughters, who he shares with first wife Demi More, range in age from 28-33 and his youngest two daughters, with current wife Emma Heming are seven and 10.
That means there's a 26-year gap between the oldest and the youngest.
Parenting expert Liat Hughes Joshi, author of Help Your Child Cope With Change, says she has noticed a rise in the number of age gap families thanks, in part, to an increase in blended families.
"I certainly think that, anecdotally, we are seeing a lot more of this around," she explains. "Often people have had their first children quite young and then a number of years on want to have another child with their subsequent partner."
According to Hughes Joshi there are a number of potential advantages to age gap parenting including potentially being more financially secure and having a number of years experience of child rearing under your belt.
But, one of the most commonly perceived plus points of having a large age gap between siblings – that older children will be able to help with a new baby – shouldn't be assumed as a given by parents.
In fact, she warns that parents who are expecting a new arrival need to be aware that older children could harbour mixed feelings about a new, much younger, sibling.
"Just because you're excited about the new baby don't assume older children will automatically feel the same," she warns.
"They may feel threatened by him or her, they may feel it will cause unnecessary disruption to their lives and their routines.
"They may be concerned, literally, about the baby being noisy in the house, when they have exams or school work to complete," she adds.
More positively, however, Hughes Joshi says having a younger sibling in the house can be formative for some teenagers and older children.
“While it is important not to force that on a reluctant child, I know of some teenagers who are really excited about a new addition to the family,” she explains.
“Many really embrace the experience with their younger siblings becoming the apple of their eye.
“Others may feel cynical and worried about it beforehand but when the new baby arrives they really warm to the idea of having a younger sibling.”
Whether your child is feeling positively or negatively about the prospect of a new sibling, Hughes Joshi says there are some ways to prepare them for the arrival of the latest family member, starting with being open and honest with them about the changes they can expect.
“Don’t dress it up,” she says. “Having a baby in the house is going to be quite different for them.
“Even older children often don’t have much experience with babies so it is important to tell them about certain realities.
“For a start they may not realise just how exhausted you are going to be, so it is helpful to prepare them for what it is going to be like.”
The most important preparation, however, is ensure you make time for them so they don’t feel neglected or pushed out by the new arrival.
“No matter how independent they seem, teenagers need to know that you’re still there.”