To the other “childless stepmoms” out there:
I see you.
Whether you want children of your own someday or are perfectly content with this stepmom gig as your way to parenthood, I see you.
I see you feeling frustrated when you hear, yet again, that “it’s different when you have kids of your own.”
“It’s just different being a ‘real’ mom.”
“You’ll understand when you have your own kids.”
True or not, those words can sting.
I have no doubt that biological parenthood comes with its own set of feelings, experiences, and emotions. No one is disagreeing there.
But damn, it’s exhausting to hear over and over again, isn’t it?
Some of us just wish with all our hearts we had babies “of our own” but we don’t yet or can’t or never will and your words feel like knives sticking into always fresh wounds.
Some of us would rather not have any biological kids at all, and you taking our choices and using them as a way to make us feel less-than is cheap and unnecessary and rude.
It does not take biology to make a mother.
In no way am I discounting the very specific, rich experience of biological parenting, as I said before I have no doubts it is absolutely it’s own unique adventure. But I sure wish people would stop using it as a way to discount stepmotherhood.
(Not to mention, of course, adoption or same-sex parenthood or the myriad of other ways people become mothers. And they are absolutely “real mothers,” no question – I’ll fight you on that one.)
And it’s especially disheartening and frustrating to hear the “of your own” talk from other stepmoms.
As a stepmom, you often already feel like “the other” in your home or community, no need to pile on any more of it.
I heard a stepmom whom I like and respect very flippantly make a comment like that just the other day and my heart sank. Not because I doubt her experience, but because I would’ve thought she’d know better. It felt like she was defending the validity of her motherhood since she has a biological child by putting the rest of us who are “just stepmoms” down a peg.
And that just sucks.
So here I am, friends, making sure to say loud and clear that if your path to motherhood has come from your choices, not your biology, that is a stunning, beautiful, brave thing.
Being a stepmom is crazy, complicated, absurd, painful, amazing and we don’t need any more barriers or qualifiers for it.
So know that I see you.
And I get it.
And I think you’re a phenomenal woman who’s doing her best for her family and those kids and I couldn’t be prouder to be standing beside you through it.