Yours, Mine and Ours

20 Sep

She's ours

 

When I first jumped back into the dating pool, I knew that if I ever did find someone and fall in love again, that someone would probably have children of his own and wouldn’t want anymore.  I was 42 and figured my baby making days were over anyway.   

Then I met DH.  

On our first date DH and I knew that we were made for each other.   We both have two children from our first marriage (he has an EOW arrangement, I am the custodial parent of mine) and I was perfectly content with riding off into the golden sunset with our combined total of four kids.  That was until he had a crazy idea and an apparent burning desire to have a baby with me. I had to think about for a bit.  First thing to consider was our age (42).  Not only were there the risks to consider with my “advanced maternal age”, but also the math involved: when the baby starts kindergarten, we’ll be 48; when she graduates from high school, we’ll be 60 (I can hear it now: “Isn’t it sweet that your grandparents came to your graduation?”).  While our friends are enjoying their retirement, we’ll probably still be working to put our last one through college.  

Honestly, adding a baby into a stepfamily can be a messy proposition.  Not only are there children (potentially from both marriages)  to consider, but also the reaction of family members.  Then you have to consider the reaction of  the ex-spouses, which as we all know, can influence your child’s perspective on what you believe is a blessed event.  

Our first consideration of course were our four children.  How would they feel about a sibling?  They all agreed that it would be “cool”.  But then again, who doesn’t love a new baby?  After talking about the possibility of a new sibling with them and weighing all the issues, the pros outweighed the cons and before we knew it, we were pregnant and heading into the “yours, mine and ours” category.  

At first, our choice to have another baby concerned our families.  Some feared that I was too old to be pregnant and had no business giving birth in my 40s.  Some insisted that it must have been a mistake or a sinister plot to “trap” DH (little did they know it was HIS idea).  Others were upset by the fact that we didn’t feel the need to get married in order to bring a child into the world.  But hearts softened and everything changed the minute they laid eyes on her.  Babies have a way of doing that to people.    

The biggest surprise was the reaction of my ex-husband.  To my amazement, he was supportive.  In fact, the first “blended family” photo that we took was when I was about 7 months pregnant at the birthday party for our kids.  I remember posting it on Facebook and my friends applauding the fact that we both had come such a long way from our ugly divorce.  He picked up my older kids from school the day I gave birth, brought them to the hospital and made sure to congratulate us.  It was a nice moment.  Two years later “the baby” (as she’s referred to around here) will yell, “Sissy, your daddy’s here!” when he arrives to pick them up.  She always says “Hi Mister M!” and gives him a hug.  He confided in me once that his friends think he’s nuts for even acknowledging her, which he doesn’t understand.   He said, “You’d have to be pretty cold-blooded to ignore her.  She’s just a baby and she is the kids’ little sister and they love her.”  

When it came to our children, we were prepared for the possibility of a negative reaction, but thankfully it never happened.  They all adore her and dote on her .  When DH’s girls arrive for the weekend, the baby will run to the door squealing their names and I don’t even get a chance to say hello before they’ve scooped her up and taken her off to play.  From the moment the kids laid eyes on her, they love to find things about her that are just like them.  It’s their way of connecting themselves to her.  My Asian/Pacific Islander genes have dominated her so she looks more like my two older children, but she’s got the same crooked second toe and wide-set eyes as DH’s oldest daughter and the same mouth shape, long and lean body and facial expressions as his youngest daughter.  Unknowingly, her arrival bonded the family in a way that we couldn’t have done on our own, no matter how hard we tried.  The baby built a bridge between our two families and now it feels complete.  

The decision whether or not to add a child into a stepfamily can be a tough one.  If you have a “yours, mine and ours” family, how did the addition of your “ours” children affect your family?  Are the children accepting their new sibling?  How did your families react?  Are your ex-spouses supportive of your children’s’ new sibling?

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7 Responses to “Yours, Mine and Ours”

  1. stepmumoftheyear September 20, 2010 at 11:32 pm #

    Oh, she’s gorgeous!

    It’s heartening to hear that all your kids welcomed her. I’m quite frightened that my partner’s children will reject our baby if we have one, plus the ex is unlikely to be at all chuffed (especially if we were to have a girl)!

    Thanks for telling such a positive story.

    • BioStep September 21, 2010 at 8:49 am #

      The ex’s response can definitely have a huge impact on the kids. My ex has always been kind to my daughter. When he brought little gifts for the kids on Valentine’s Day, he made sure to bring something for her as well which was completely unexpected and very sweet. It’s great for the kids to see kindness and acceptance of mom’s new family modeled.

      On the other hand, I’ve heard stories in the SM groups that I belong to about stepchildren that have come home and said to their stepmoms “My mom hates the baby and said she should have never been born”. Ouch. I think that kind of reaction backfires on the mom in the end. Who says that about a baby???

  2. Deesha September 21, 2010 at 4:11 am #

    We’ve got a 2 + 2 situation as well, all girls, and we fantasize about a little Jr. Your sweet post got me all worked up…but, um, no. I’ll just bask in the loveliness of your family and enjoy your pictures on Facebook! 🙂

    • BioStep September 21, 2010 at 8:52 am #

      DH and I have said that we’d have another one if we could guarantee it was a boy. But since there are no such guarantees our final count stays boys 1, girls 4.

  3. Pixie September 21, 2010 at 11:47 am #

    DH and I each came into the relationship with one kid. Then we had one together. I was concerned how it’d work out, since bd and ss have always been a very exclusive little group of two (we lived the dream with those two: they were siblings from the moment they met!). I shouldn’t have worried, though. They’re now just a very exclusive little group of three 🙂

    We’re expecting another baby (any day now! Any day now!!!!), a girl this time, and they’re all SOOOOOOO excited. SS’s mom has two other boys, and there’s a brother here, but only one sister in the mix, so SS is thrilled to have another sister. Bd is excited to have the sister she’s always wanted.

    And, the best part is, my ex and I have really made peace and have become friends again. He’s happy for me, happy for our daughter. I can look around at my family, my children, the man I’m crazy in love with, the other man with whom I’m share a child, and all the crazy folks who play into our lives, and I know I am very, very blessed.

    • BioStep September 21, 2010 at 12:29 pm #

      Congratulations on your new addition!!

      And yes, you are very blessed. Hugs.

  4. Ellen Kimball September 26, 2010 at 11:26 pm #

    What a beautiful story! You make me think of the little one we might have had… but practically speaking, it would have been a total count of SIX children for us, so we didn’t let it happen. Hubby had a boy and two girls; I had a girl and a boy. My wedding gift was a vasectomy for my husband. I held his hand at the doctor’s office just 90 days after we said “I do.”

    Now in our 70s, we have had to deal with the fact that the three older children lost their mother when they were 13, 11 and eight. I tried to be their full-time, missing parent, who remained an angel while I was the one down here telling them to pick up their clothes and straighten up their rooms. She was dead and buried, but I was lower than dirt. So, it didn’t work out quite as well as it might have. Nevertheless, they are all raised, with children of their own. My two bio children love my husband and even more so now, I think. They were only toddlers when we married. My husband introduced my daughter to her husband, who was a former associate from work. Additionally, my children’s bio Dad passed away from lung cancer in 2006, so their BonusDad, my husband of 37 years, and a couple of fathers-in-law are their remaining parents.

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