One of the questions I asked my husband on our first date was “Do you want to have any more kids?”
I know what you’re thinking. That’s a pretty risky thing to ask on a first date. But when you start dating a man who already has kids, it’s an important detail to know. I rank it up there with finding out if they have any felonies or STDs. But I admit it, I wasn’t as sly asking as I should have been.
Thankfully he didn’t think I was a total weirdo and I found relief in his honest answer of wanting more kids one day.
Just a short 2 years after that date, we became pregnant with our sweet girl. We were overjoyed with happiness, but soon found that the excitement turned to anxiety when we struggled to find the balance of managing the pregnancy and adding to our blended family.
Even though this was my first child, it was technically the family’s 3rd. We weren’t becoming a family of 3, we were becoming a family of 5 and that threw me for a loop. On top of dealing with the usual “holy shit I’m growing a human” that is part of a first pregnancy, I was also dealing with another level of anxiety that centred around the emotions of my two step kids. Emotions that often caused drama, resentment and would end up consuming our thoughts.
The truth is, my step kids had every right to feel those emotions. Change is hard – it is especially hard on kids who have already felt the turmoil and upheaval in their lives from their parents divorcing. Here we were, the people that provided the stability, shaking things up by adding a baby. We desperately wanted to help them and us through this, but we didn’t know how, and everything we tried failed.
It didn’t take long before I let it all overshadow our excitement. And I began stressing about ridiculous things like…
What happens if my step kids see my tits hanging out because I’m breastfeeding? Am I going to scar them with my giant areoles?
Are they going to resent me for having a baby?
Will they still want to come here once she’s born?
What if the baby has a giant blowout right before I need to get them to school. How do I manage it all?
Sometimes, I would feel jealous when my friends would tell stories about how they and their husbands found the perfect crib for the nursery. I wanted and craved that life, but I was stuck trying to figure out how to curb the fears of two kids who didn’t like the concept of a much younger sibling.
If I’m being totally honest, it became so bad sometimes that I thought getting pregnant had ruined our little family. But I couldn’t tell anyone this because here I was with the man of my dreams, a life I always wanted, a life some people would look at and yearn for. I was suppose to be enjoying every moment and embracing my life as a stepmom and soon to be mom but I wasn’t. So I shut my feelings down and accepted that our new normal would be two families in one, the baby and I and my husband and his kids.
But isn’t life funny? The moment you think you have it all figured out is the moment something happens and you realize you were totally fucking wrong. That moment was when my water unexpectedly broke and we all quickly bonded over the excitement and love that we had for this tiny, perfect human that was about to enter our family.
Once Janice was born, everything in our family did change – but it changed for the better. Our biggest fear turned out to be the best thing that ever happened to us. And the birth of our sweet little girl made all of us realize that there are no halves, steps or splits in our family – we are whole, and full of love.