Friday, 10 July 2009

Babies are a sore point.....

One of the things that's guaranteed to upset the Wicked Steppie equilibrium is a social outing to some kind of function where there are loads of young families. Particularly if this happens on a kidless weekend, and I've been successfully pretending we are a normal adult couple with no cares in the world other than enjoying each other's company.

Last weekend, we had one of these functions. I actually wrote this post on Monday, but have been internetless all week, so am only just getting to put it on here now.

Now, Wicked Steppie didn't want kids for most of her adult life, let's get that one straight. Babies? Yucky little puking and crapping machines that scream a lot, and as for nine months of pregnancy without booze, well FORGET IT!! And as for a family home with the white picket fence prison, hell no. Wicked Steppie spent the first half of her twenties hopping around the world having relationships with pseudo-artists (and managing to marry a gay one, but that's another story) who were much happier eking out a living in squalid flats, existing on baked beans, cheap red wine "from more than one country", and spliffs.

But Wicked Steppie grew up, eventually, and met and fell in love with Single Dad. It was something of a surprise to know that there were other kinds of men in this world - men who didn't spend their twenties drunk, stoned and trying to pick up girls. Men for whom the words "marriage" and "family" didn't send them running. Single Dad was devastated when the family that he'd built his adult identity around collapsed around his ears. All he'd wanted was a wife and kids, but he married an evil lesbian gold-digger who'd had a child as a get-out-of-employment-free card. Even after the woman's first affair, my naive sweet boyfriend took her back, in the hope that they could rebuild the family he cherished so much.

As much as I may pick holes in DP's parenting, there's no denying he's a good and loving father. This should be great for me - after all, I can already see he's good Dad material, right? At least I know that if we have kids, he's not going to run screaming from nappy changes or change his mind, leave me with the kids and go get a Lamborghini and a younger woman. He's a family man. This is a good thing, right? Well, there's just one teeny tiny snag. You see for us, kids are a very big IF. 5 years ago, DP had the snip - as a result of the treatment he got from that witch, he figured there'd be no more family in his future. Well, he was right, for a few years - until along comes Wicked Steppie.

I can't describe how much it hurts, at times, even physically. If I see DP hold someone's baby, or at times when he cuddles SD and looks at her a certain way. A couple of weeks ago, I saw some baby photos of SD with her daddy, and also (ick, ick) the BM and him together with their brand new baby daughter. I couldn't stop the tears. As much as the BM is a nasty piece of work, and I can kid myself that they were never, ever happy, those photos obviously lie really well. I couldn't bear the thought that we might never have that together, and the childish "it's not fair" rose along with the lump in my throat, as I contemplated the expensive, painful and very non-guaranteed IVF treatment that we have to go through in order for us to experience parenthood together. Why, why, why, did he have to have the snip? The day he did it, unknowingly, he broke my heart. Is this punishment for all the sneering I did at Smug Families back in my younger days?

So that's why, these days, I hate functions where the floors are crawling with other people's babies. I sometimes feel there is a suspicion towards me, as a childless woman, and a stepmother to boot, and I sense reluctance at times of the mothers to allow me to hold their babies, where they'll hand them happily to each other or to the grandparents. If they do know of our situation, I think they might worry I'll turn baby-snatcher and refuse to give it back. If they don't know why I'm childless, there's an assumption I don't know what I'm doing. It seems that with the experience of birth, along comes some kind of miraculous knowledge bestowed by osmosis (of course, it couldn't be all those nights sat up reading Gina Ford)....and if you dare express any kind of opinion on child rearing, you are looked at like a cricket commentator who doesn't realise he's mistakenly wandered into a football match.

So here's where I get to admit that I WANT A BABY with DP. I want to see him look adoringly at OUR child, play football with our son, let our daughter paint his nails in glittery pink. I'd like SD to be able to be big sister. And for us to be Mummy and Daddy, not Daddy and I'm-sorry-you-are? I can see what a great dad DP is, but it frustrates me that he's Dad to a kid with someone else. I can only take a tiny bit part in SD's life. DP would like to think in his more fantastical moments that we could treat her like our child, and has sometimes expressed to me that he wishes I could think more this way, but I can't do it. Your own child doesn't talk about their mum's house, tell you how her mum grows carrots or does her hair....because you are their mum!

But....I'm not going to be a Mummy any time soon. IVF costs a small fortune, with no guarantees of success, and since our monthly mortgage and bills add up to DP's entire salary, we can't afford for one of us to be home doing the child rearing. We live on my salary, and after DP's commuting costs are paid, it doesn't leave a hell of a lot. Because of SD, we can't live in a smaller place, in fact we'd need a bigger one to accommodate a child of our own - more expense. And I do worry that SD might not take too well to being a big sister and having to share her dad even more. I don't think DP's that bothered - he's got things how he likes it, his partner, his kid. If he could wave a wand, he'd have SD with us more, whereas I'd wish for our own child! I don't think it matters to him whether we have kids or not, because whatever happens, he'll still be a Dad.

I wonder sometimes if it might be better to try and resign myself to childlessness and get comfortable with it. Would it be easier to deal with that heartache now, rather than trying and failing at IVF? If we fail, I may never be a Mum, but he will always be a Dad. He's never going to have to confront being childless.

I find myself becoming envious of those with uncomplicated situations where there are no previous kids and no bitter exes. No worries about will the kids from the first relationship be jealous or feel pushed out. No worries about whether our child will be as special an experience for DP, because it won't be his first. No worries about whether our child will be treated differently by the family. It must be nice, to be able to start your own family from scratch, both of you doing it for the first time. As long as I stay with DP, I'll never know.....


  1. Thank you for this beautiful post. I'm experiencing a similar phase right now - grieving the loss of not being a bio-mom.

  2. This post is so honest that I felt myself tearing in two for you. I really hope you come to a place of peace with all of this.

    You're amazing!

  3. Wow steppie what an emotional post - I can totally relate to everything you've said. I can't watch TV programs with people giving birth and things because it has me tears! And I've pretty much decided that I'm not gonna have any. It just hurts so much that he's been through all that with someone else. I totally understand where you are coming from - you deserve to be happy and have one of your own and I'm sure it will happen for you.

    It was lovely to meet you yesterday and you strike me as the kind of person who will make things happen so hang in there and don't give up!!!

    Lots of love. xxxx

  4. Wow, what a great, honest, and from the heart post. I wish you luck in whatever you decide to do. I have the same kinds of emotions sometimes, I think we all do unfortunately.

  5. I know I am a little late in reading this but wow that was a great post. Completely raw and from the heart. I have the exact same emotions and feel that sometimes it’s me wanting to get married so we can have kids. The BF has said numerous times, I love our life, I dont feel the need to have a child because I have one but I would like to have one with you someday. It is completely different for them and no matter what like you said they will always be a dad. I really hope things work out for you and if I had the money I would send it to you so he could get the surgery and you could start trying.
    It will all work out; keep pinching every penny you can! Good luck lots of hugs.

  6. Hun, what a post!

    I feel exactly the same because my partner has experienced fatherhood already ... twice ... with 2 woman! But when it came to my turn to give him a child - to carry his UNBORN child, his reaction was not as I had expected (actually, my reaction wasn't what I had expected!!! The fear and anxiety I felt was incredible and looking back, I know the decision was made before I ever uttered "darling, I'm pregnant!"). "We can't afford a child", "a child can't live on love alone", "It's just not what I see for us right now" and the best one... "I'm just not ready!". So my pregnancy ended there - with the tears and sadness I felt all boxed up and forgotten! There was no "Baby you and me", or a Baby brother or sister for the stepchildren, or indeed the pitter patter of a tiny set of feet in our house... and now I have begun to doubt there ever will be!

    Good luck!

  7. anon, so sorry to hear that, how heartbreaking for you hun. Big hugs - and to all those steppies out there struggling with not having kids of their own x

  8. Wow I just....teared up on this post. I am so sorry for you. I hope you and your hubby can work through this.

  9. Re the post above 16 July "But when it came to my turn to give him a child - to carry his UNBORN child, his reaction was not as I had expected (actually, my reaction wasn't what I had expected!!! The fear and anxiety I felt was incredible and looking back, I know the decision was made before I ever uttered "darling, I'm pregnant!"). "We can't afford a child", "a child can't live on love alone""...WOW, I felt like I was the only one to go through this!! Twice in fact, years ago. Now I'm 46, most days I am reconciled with the life that we have and the burning desire to have children has thankfully died down. My DP has health problems and really there was no question about the difficulties we would face if we had children, but now here thinking about it again, I have a lump in my throat and a pain in my heart. What's really difficult for both of us is that we were together when we were younger and didn't stay together, and then he married and had SD, now we are back together. We both have tough days where we wish we'd stayed together back then and had children when we were younger - the "uncomplicated life" W.Steppie talks about - we had it but lost it. But you know, we really do have a lovely life together, the best of both worlds, we have so much fun when we are together alone, and we both have loving relationships with his daughter, even though we have been though much of what Wicked Steppie talks about - so much of that echoes my experiences. Thanks for writing it down, its heartening to hear others stories and especially told with a sense of humour - I laughed particulary about your post about having your partner's ex in the house "metaphorically". I went through years of feeling that. And the "my mum this" and "my mum that" syndrome still does my head in. My SD is nearly 13 now and I have been around since she was 2. Teenage years are shaping up to be interesting to say the least!! Good luck to you all!