Gifts for Dad ➔

When we found out I was expecting our first “ours baby,” we were ecstatic and overjoyed. But there was a part of me that felt remorse.

The remorse was wondering if it was fair to my unborn child to be brought into a home where her life would always be a little complicated.

Her daddy wouldn’t be able to tell her that her mommy was his first and only wife.

She would share blood with her older siblings, but only on their dad’s side.

She would be born into a situation of sharing Christmases and summer vacations with her siblings.

RELATED: Here’s to the Stepparents Who Show Up

Most of the year we’d all be together, but then there would be the drop-offs and quiet time alone with mommy and daddy, and then pickups where suddenly the family was big and loud and active again.

The biggest remorse was knowing that, while my pregnancy meant the absolute world to me, the news had crushed my new stepchildren.

They had already experienced so much change.

Their lives had already been turned upside down. The mom and dad they had known as a unit was gone, and now they had to recognize a new parental unit . . . one who was bringing a baby into their lives.

I held back my joy out of sensitivity to them, but inwardly, I mourned that my daughter couldn’t be welcomed into the world with joyful innocence.

So I held onto goodness in other places.

I rejoiced with friends and family who were able to celebrate with me. I relished in browsing the baby sections of department stores and consignment shops.

I found special ways to set up her nursery so it could be a sanctuary for us to bondwith books, toys, and decorations. I purchased a baby memory book in which I could record the big and little moments of her first year.

After she was born, we fell into a special routine.

Once I got her older siblings ready for school and sent them out the door with a sack lunch, I indulged in restful alone-time with my newborn daughter.

RELATED: I Know We Can’t Go Back, So I’ll Savor My Baby Today

We’d go back to bed and cuddle and nurse and read books and sing and bounce and sleep. Together.

And then later we’d take walks, and she’d accompany me in the baby carrier for dishwashing and vacuuming.

The hours we spent bonding together during the day meant I could feel rejuvenated for the arrival of her older siblings after school.

I could invest in their stories from school, their homework, their extracurricular activitieswith affection . . . and without remorse.

By marrying a man who already had children, I had to bury the dreams of what I thought motherhood looked like.

And yes, there were challenges with scheduling and managing older kid activities and all the emotions that flood a household with a baby.

But what I hadn’t truly accounted for was the overwhelming power of love.

The thrilling and scary idea of bringing a baby into our world had become our reality. She was our daughtertheir little sister. And love knows no boundaries.

RELATED: Siblings Share a Bond For Life

Nowadays, our daughter is eight years old.

She understands that the only daddy she knows did have a wife before me. And she understands her older sister and brother have another mommy.

And . . . she doesn’t care.

Her family is her family. I am her mommy and her daddy is her daddy. Her siblings are her siblings. She is our daughter, and that’s all that matters.

No remorse.

Previously published on the author’s blog

Heidi Farrell

Heidi is a stepmom and mom of five, whose ages range from 22 down to 4 years old. She and her husband have seen the full range of child development in their house...often all at once! Heidi loves connecting with other stepmoms and encouraging them on their journey. She blogs about her experiences and provides practical strategies for stepmoms at notjustastepmom.com, and is currently working on a book about the complexities and joys of adding an "ours baby" to a stepfamily.

No Man in a Girl’s Life Holds More Influence than Her Dad

In: Kids, Marriage, Motherhood
Father and daughter on amusement ride, color photo

As I sat outside Walmart watching my husband of nearly 16 years walk in with my 9-year-old daughter to buy me a box of tampons, I realized how blessed I am.  This is real life. Not only does he not care about running into the store and picking up these items, he asks our girls if they want to join him, and they use this time to talk. They talk about real-life—about growing up, changing bodies, what tampons are even for, how they can wait years and years before they need to start dating, how he will be waiting outside...

Keep Reading

That Old Chevy Tells the Story of Us

In: Marriage
Old Chevrolet truck, black-and-white photo

There’s an old Chevy that sits at the far end of our driveway, out of the way but not forgotten. It may seem like a hunk of worn-out metal to most, but to my husband and me, it signifies a whole lot more. In our town, there are not many exciting things to do, but there are endless country backroads. For two high schoolers in love, those roads were the beginning of everything—they were the highway to our futures and the start of a new chapter that turned into a book that’s still being written. The story of us. I...

Keep Reading

Marriage Is Better When We Bring Our True Selves

In: Marriage
Man and woman hook fingers with wedding rings on

There once was a boy whose favorite toy was a scale. He got it from his mom, a loud divorced woman who always showed her independence. He hoped that one day, he and his wife would never divorce. They would be aligned in everything—in perfect balance—just like his scale. One day, he grew up and became a man. He met a woman who told him he would marry her if he gave her the scale. He happily did and proposed. Everything she wanted, he did, and he felt they were aligned. Five years passed, and he noticed the scale seemed...

Keep Reading

A Medical Diagnosis Challenges a Marriage

In: Cancer, Living, Marriage
Bald woman holding clippers over husband's head, color photo

It is no secret now that Albert Pujols and his wife have announced their divorce shortly after she had surgery to remove a brain tumor. As a breast cancer survivor, this news hit me in a special way. As I was reading through an article from Today, there was a quote that hit me hard, “But a marriage falling apart is far more common when the wife is the patient, researchers have found. A woman is six times more likely to be separated or divorced soon after a diagnosis of cancer or multiple sclerosis than if a man in the relationship is...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, I Don’t Want To Fight

In: Marriage
Husband and wife facing away from each other on bed

Dear husband, It seems like every month, we are embroiled in the same “discussion,” which inevitably turns into an argument, and if we go down the well-worn path, eventually becomes an ear-splitting match.  Talking over each other’s voices, we battle it out in an attempt to be heard. The more we try to explain ourselves to each other, the farther apart we push each other. Still, we persist. We want so badly for each of us to try to understand where the other is coming from, but we can’t seem to do it at this moment. You think, If only...

Keep Reading

The Conversation We’re Forgetting To Have About Birth

In: Baby, Marriage, Motherhood
Woman having a baby man holding her hand

My husband lay sleeping, his head resting on a fluffy, down-stuffed pillow in our hotel room. His bag was packed neatly, ESPN was playing quietly in the background, and he had unopened snacks at his disposal on the end table. Our hotel phone rang, and my husband groggily answered, ”Yes? Oh, sorry. Yeah, we’ll keep it down. Sorry.” He hung up and found me miserable and shaky in the shower, the thin shower curtain clinging to my legs.  “Steph, we got a noise complaint. You have to keep it down!” he whispered. This is not how I expected labor to...

Keep Reading

Is Our Love Enough To Withstand the Devastation of Addiction?

In: Marriage
Couple walking hand in hand black and white photo

I lie awake at night listening to my husband’s breathing. He is clearly asleep. I, on the other hand, am wide awake feeling sad and alone. Where did we go wrong? How did we end up here? I look back fondly on those early days when we were madly in love. We couldn’t get enough of each other. It was like there was a magnet pulling us toward each other, insisting that our bodies connect. A caress under the table, a hand on the small of my back, there was always some part of us touching. I felt loved and wanted....

Keep Reading

My Husband Makes Me a Stronger Woman

In: Grief, Loss, Marriage
Daddy standing over hospital crib with infant, black-and-white photo

A little over a year ago, my husband and I went through the unimaginable. We lost our child, Lillian, to a congenital heart defect. The days following that, and even to this day, people will comment on how strong I am. How well I’ve dealt with this darkness. How they can’t imagine what I am going through. The truth is I was never alone. From the day we found out I would give birth to a child who had complex heart defects, my husband has been there. Always in the background of what others saw but ever so present in...

Keep Reading

I’m Mostly a Mom Right Now and Sometimes I Forget How to Be a Wife

In: Marriage, Motherhood

Sometimes it’s easy to take you for granted. Sometimes it’s easy to put my focus on other people, things to get done, places to go. Sometimes it’s easy to assume that you’ll always be there. But sometimes I need to make you a priority. I need to thank you for your hard work, your dedication to me and the kids, your selflessness. I need to ask how your day was, take an investment in your interests, and be more considerate of your needs. The hustle and bustle of everyday life gets in the way and is an easy excuse. Honestly,...

Keep Reading

Dear Husband, Where Did You Go? Where Did We Go?

In: Marriage

When did it all change for you?  When did you stop looking at me that way? You know, the look. The look you gave me when you wanted me. Truly wanted me. I could feel the desire for me down deep in my bones.  When did your smile fade? Actually, I think it has disappeared completely. It used to be so big it took up your entire face. Where did it go?  I remember being unable to keep our hands off of each other. There was a force pulling my skin to yours. It was magnetic. Do you remember that?...

Keep Reading

 5 Secrets to Connect with Your Kids

FREE EMAIL BONUS

Proven techniques to build REAL connections