I was going through my emails and I came across a message that a fellow step mum had sent me. She was going through a rough time trying to get pregnant but without success.
She has undergone 3 IVF treatments and she is on the verge of losing hope of ever conceiving. The husband has been extremely supportive and keeps on encouraging her , never mind the fact that he is unable to understand why she is trying so hard , after all, they already have 3 children. This should be enough for her; she is by all means their mother anyway, according to him.
This email set me back 7 years on memory lane, when I was trying to get pregnant. Conceiving did not come easy for me. I assumed getting pregnant was an easy task. I had never encountered infertility in women.
I had 3 surgeries to remove growths that kept recurring before I was able to conceive my son. With my impatient nature I had visited a few doctors and was even considering IVF.
I know some people are wondering why I felt so strongly about having my own kids when I was already a step mum of 4 at the moment.
The reality is that being a step mum means that you do all the things a mother does and you are still not considered a mum. You cook, clean, do school runs, nurse the children when they are sick and at the end of the day you are still confused on where you stand.
Society and the extended family still consider you as an outsider, as you really did not carry your stepchildren for 9 months. You didn’t push that life out of your stomach, you didn’t breastfeed, didn’t do any diaper changes, have to deal with colic and frequent hospital visits.
Your stepchildren are also very well aware that they didn’t grow inside you. It is a fact that the baby mama often uses as a weapon to discourage bonding.
In my case, I never craved to have children of my own until I met my husband and started taking care of his children. I grew up in a big family and it always felt like we were one to many.
The first years of our relationship I was satisfied with the family dynamics and I was busy trying to build a relationship with my stepchildren, as we were strangers to each other.
I gave everything and more with each passing day. I poured my heart out and did all in my power to show my stepchildren that I cared for them and loved them enough to want to build a family with them.
I made good progress and over time acceptance was becoming a reality. But it still never felt like the unconditional love they shared with their biological parents.
The urge to have my own started developing and I started trying to get pregnant. I suffered heartbreak every time we failed and I found myself taking God to task, seeking to understand why he would allow me to raise my stepchildren and not give me my own.
I prayed, did enough novenas, lost and gained weight in pursuit of my own biological child. My partner was very supportive but he was not as obsessed with the process, we had enough children anyway.
After changing my gynae’s twice, I met Dr.PS Patel who figured out that one of my fallopian tubes was blocked and he fixed it. I conceived the next month. It was as simple as that!
Post conception, the pregnancy journey was hectic, particularly with the other responsibilities such as raising my teenagers. I was however ready for anything, any challenge that this journey brought my way. My eyes were fixed on the end prize, having my own biological child.
Once my son finally arrived, too eager to get into the world that he arrived pre- term by a good stretch! His journey through the incubation period seemed very long and often brought several terrifying moments our way. Today, he is a healthy young man and loved by everyone at home. His step-siblings adore him and in many ways, he has helped in cementing the family unit, in bridging any gaps that might have been apparent. In a sense, he is now the common denominator across the family.
My son has helped me understand the biological connection between my stepchildren and their biological parents. I have since been able to appreciate their loyalty struggles and why their parents’ divorce had been so devastating for them.
I am now more at peace and settled in my marriage. My extended family accepts our blended family.
For any step mum outside there trying to conceive and are facing infertility issues, just know that there is someone who understands and has walked that journey. Pray and keep at it, at the same time love your stepchildren and God will surely come through for you.