Stepmoms are in a weird sort of love-limbo with their stepkids - and people on the outside don't really understand it. We love our stepkids to the deepest parts of our heart. We want the best for them, we cry for them, we worry for them, we live for them.
But they aren't ours. And they won't ever be. No. Matter. What.
This realization is one I spend a good deal of time trying to avoid. (Sort of like how I avoid mirrors after I've gone on a three day Mexican food binge.) Besides, it will be my turn soon enough, with my own biological child.
(Oh wait...we've been trying for 2 years and the baby train has yet to pull into my station. Dammit.)
That's right. I'm a stepmom with two stepkids and the intense desire to have a child of my own with Hubs. And it just won't happen.
At the beginning, I assumed getting preggers would be a walk in the park because, hey, Hubs is obviously Fertile Myrtle. He has two kids and they were both conceived with a woman who was literally told that she would never be able to conceive children. Ever.
We're talking immaculate conceptions, here.
Naturally, when we made the decision to move forward with baby making, I went around telling everyone with functional ears that:
WE'RE TRYING, WE'RE TRYING, WE'RE TRYING! POINT ME TO THE BABY SECTION! (*throws balloons and confetti*)
Everyone, including myself, expected an announcement within two months. But nothing happened. Then a few more months went by. Then a few more. Gradually, people stopped paying attention to my stomach or checking to see if I was having a drink with dinner. They stopped using phrases like "when you have a baby" or "after you get pregnant". In fact, a lot of people just stopped saying anything. Better to pretend like nothing happened.
Because nothing is happening.
Struggling with infertility is hard enough when it's just you and your husband, waiting for a stupid pink plus sign to show up on a stupid plastic thing that ironically looks just like a tampon. But when you throw in being a stepmom, things get infinitely worse...because people think think they have the perfect solution to your problem.
You already have kids!!!! TA DAAAA!
I recently started to notice that when I spoke to friends and family about my epic failure to get knocked-up, they would inevitably smile and and say reassuringly, "Well, even if you don't get pregnant, you always have the girls!" or worse yet, "Maybe God gave you stepkids because he knew you wouldn't be able to have children." And then they stand there and expect me to be all, "You're right. I am really lucky."
But I really want to hold someone's head under water.
Just because I have stepkids does not make my desire to be a mother any less. If anything, it intensifies it 2000 fold. Let's remember I already have to act like a mom and talk like a mom and love like a mom and curtail the college keg stand photos on my Facebook statuses like a mom...but I don't get to be a mom. I don't get to hold my own child in my arms. At least not yet.
Reminding me that I already have stepkids is like pouring a gigantic bowl of salt on a gaping, open sore in my uterus. Imagine you are trying desperately to buy a house, but every house you fallin love with is taken off the market the second you think you have the deal done. Would you enjoy it if I kindly reminded you that God set you up in a totally killer apartment and you should just be grateful?
Exactly. And that's just a stupid house, not the proverbial fruit of your loins.
So just don't. Don't say anything about my stepkids if I confide in you that I'm struggling with infertility. Just be there for me. Tell me you're so sorry I'm going through this and you hope it will all turn out okay in the end. Because in all liklihood, it will. Don't throw my stepchildren in my face. They're human beings, not a consolation prize at the Infertility Olympics.
Oh...and when 34098098234 people announce their pregnancies on Facebook/Twitter/Instagram? I'm likely going to have an effing meltdown. Just hold my hand and be there. Sometime saying nothing says absolutely everything.