To the stepmom experiencing grief about her life:
It’s normal. Your pain is normal, your concern is normal, the small voice in your soul that cries out a little bit when you hear phrases like “old hat” or “second is the best” or “when I did this before” is normal.
Feel a little bit of heartbreak when someone or something reminds you that you were not here first?
It’s okay to grieve. It’s okay to mourn.
You know why?
You’re experiencing a loss.
I’m not being dramatic here – that’s exactly what’s happening.
You’re experiencing the loss of your childhood daydreams of lazy Saturday mornings lounging around all day with your partner.
You’re experiencing the loss of gifting a “You’re going to be a Daddy!” onesie to your teary-eyed, baby-clueless husband.
You’re experiencing the loss of every one of your hopes and wishes for yourself that didn’t involve another family, another woman, another child that you didn’t bring into the picture.
It’s so messed up that people want to make you feel bad for this grieving — but you shouldn’t.
It is real. It is truthful. It is necessary.
You can grieve the life you dreamed of while still loving the life you have. You can grieve all of “the firsts” without feeling hatred towards the one he had them with. You can love a child while still mourning that they have years and years of memories without you.
I love my stepdaughter more than I can honestly imagine ever loving a little human, but I have absolutely mourned the circumstances surrounding our relationship.
I wouldn’t change my family for the world, but sometimes it has truly been hard to reconcile all the ways I simply will not, cannot have the same experiences I see my peers having.
And when all’s said and done, my life and my family are worth more to me than the imaginary life of my younger years, but I needed to properly grieve and mourn the losses of those dreams in order to truly appreciate and treasure what I have now.
So take that time.
See that counselor. Call your best friend. Write in that journal. Converse with your partner.
It doesn’t make you a bad partner, it doesn’t make you a bad stepmom, and it certainly doesn’t make you a bad person.
Get that grief out, face it, and give yourself time to properly mourn it.
Because the life you do have – this amazing, complicated, wonderful, wild, unpredictable, glorious life you have – awaits you.