Always a Stepmother, Never a Mother
Everyone says he is just like my own child, and I think, 'Not really'. He was four months old when I met him. I was there when he took his first steps. I visited several child care facilities and interviewed numerous daycare workers to find his perfect first daycare. When his mother was struggling with potty training, I took over and finished the job in a weekend. I can remember us lying in bed together, dropping crumbs as we ate cookies and looking like deer caught in the headlights when his mother came home unexpectedly and caught us. (She hates crumbs in the bed!) Every now and then, he and I sneak away for a date. He is quite the gentleman. I told him he was my sugar when he was younger, so for some reason he called me Sugar in the most adorable way until I finally had to tell him to stop when he was about five years old. (I mean at home it was cool, but in public it was embarrassing.) When he is having women problems- that's right he is already having women problems at ten years old- he comes to me. When he is playing football, he looks up in the stands for my SGRho umbrella, and although he is embarrassed slightly, he says he can hear me yelling from the stands when he makes a play. When his coach felt like my stepson needed some 'get right' to get his head in the game, he turned to me not his mom. When his mother is out of town for work or deployed he is in my custody. If anything should ever happen to her, I am his legal guardian. But with all this, I still don't feel like a mother. My biological clock has started to ring, not tick, and I am tired of merely being a stepmother. I want to be a mother.
Well what's stopping me?
1. I am scared that I will show favoritism. Hats off to women who can love a child like it is her own, but I can't say that I can. Partially I can't say that because I don't have a child of my own to be able to judge the difference. Partially I can say that because I don't. The key to a good step parent/child relationship is an engaged biological parent who supports the co-parent, facilitates opportunities for relationship building, and the biological parent giving both the child and spouse appropriate amounts of time so that neither becomes resentful of the other. Well, my wife took a different approach. In her mind, all things will work themselves out, so she doesn't interfere much. There wasn't a conscious effort to blend the family back together after we separated and reunited. She expected things to fall back into place, which of course they didn't. This has led to a lot of tension in our home. But over the past few years, her job has become more demanding and my stepson’s negative behavior has been magnified, so now that she realizes that she needs a village she has come around to supporting me more. However, the relationship between her son and I has been stifled by years of neglect as we both waged a silent battle of sorts. Now that I will be able to have a child of my own, perhaps foolishly, I think I can avoid that battle and simply love on my own seed in a way that I had to restrain myself with her child.
2. Artificial insemination is very expensive, the success rate is low and, being raised by my father, I don't think I could deny my child a father. You have to pay for the consultations, drugs, procedure, and sperm. And depending on any fertility issues, that can be costly. On average, it cost $5000.00 or more. Also, after six months, you only have a 60% chance of success. Lastly, my father raised myself and three of my siblings. There are so many attributes that I have that I can credit my father for giving me. Also, I see how my stepson struggles with the absence of his father and I just can't inflict that pain on my own child. I hope to find a male donor who wants to be a parent but has not met the right woman. I know it sounds impossible but I have found several websites that connect co-parents, and I am keeping my fingers crossed.
My partner and I are going to counseling for our parenting and marital issues that are halting us from growing our family; because as she likes to say, "Failure is not an option." We were waiting for the perfect time but something tells me that I need to take a tip out of her playbook and just ‘Seize the Day!’
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