A reader recently asked me to share how my stepdaughter's bioMom reacted when hubby and I started having children of our own.
To be honest, I have no idea how she reacted. I suspect that she secretly hated it as her behavior over the last 7 years has indicated some jealously as to my husband's ability to move on with his life (and some resentment with regards to my existence in her daughter's life). It's quite possible that some comments were made to my husband -- but he tries very hard to shelter me from her verbal attacks, so nothing ever made its way to my ears and I never asked. I do not believe that any negative comments were made to my SD either, and if they were they haven't seemed to have any effect. My SD loves her little brother to pieces and is thrilled about the pending arrival of her new baby sister. [Just ask the staff and patients at our OBs office who all overheard her exclamations of "My prayers have been answered!" when we found out we were having a girl.]
What's of more interest to me is my own reaction to adding bio-children to our family. After my son was born, it was as if there was a sudden shift in the balance of the "relationship" between my husband, his ex, my stepdaughter and myself. I was no longer the self-proclaimed-odd-man-out, but a valuable player in this game of parenting because now I had a child of my own.
I felt enlightened. I now understood my husband's motives for all those years he was trying to keep the peace and bent over backwards to give in to his ex's demands, despite my repeated protests. He was doing what he thought was best for his daughter and ultimately us. I was now aware of the feelings a parent has for their child and the lengths one will go to ensure that child's safety and happiness. [We have since learned that our relationship must come first if we are to be a successful blended family.]
I felt empowered. Now I felt I had more of a right to speak up with regards to what was happening in my own home: from issues concerning discipline, to visitation and how it impacted family plans, to creating our own family rituals and traditions. I was not just a member of this family, but now a bona-fide parent in this household who had a voice and deserved respect. I suddenly was willing to take more control over the parenting duties of the household as they applied to my SD where in the past I remained a quiet observer and let my husband handle things. This decision has apparently elevated me to the rank of the only stabilizing force in my SD's life right now (according to the psychologist involved in the custody case).
Yes, there has been a definite shift in our family dynamics since we began adding biochildren to the mix, and it's been all for the positive.
With bioBaby number two on the way, I can only hope that my husband's ex will not further infuse her negativity into our lives or my SD's feelings towards her new sibling. But, as I have said, we are in the middle of an ugly custody battle so there are no guarantees that attempts will not be made. As it stands, we are preparing for some resistance from bioMom with not allowing my SD to visit the hospital should I deliver on a non-custodial day. My husband has already placed a call to his lawyer and is prepared to handle any problems that might arise.
Quite honestly, we try not to get bogged down with worry over what bioMom might or might not do in response to us adding to our family or with regard any other decisions we might make. We will deal with what we have to deal with, when and if we have to deal with it. And we will deal with it together.
In the meantime, we are confident that we have created a firm and solid family foundation in which all of our children can thrive. And we look forward with anticipation, and not dread, over expanding our home by another 2 feet. :)