I remember that Mr and I were dating for only a few months when my step daughter asked “When are you going to give me a baby brother?” I just laughed it off, because I didn’t think that her father and I would have kids until much later, but two years later her wish was granted. She had the baby brother that she had asked for all those years ago. She doesn’t remember this moment at all. It was just kid talk to her, but it was more than that to me. It showed me that she trusted and loved me and wanted me to stay in her life.
I love my step daughter very much. She is so sweet and kind. She works very hard and is helpful. I couldn’t ask for a better step daughter. I can’t say that it is easy to add another family member, because we had many ups and downs.
This was a trying time for my step daughter, because she thought that her role or position in the family would change. I’m sure the same could apply to any child when their mother is pregnant. She didn’t think that we’d have time for her anymore and she wouldn’t get as much attention and love as she did before.
We got her two presents when baby was born. One from us and one from baby and that thrilled her. I still fulfilled my step mother duties and helped her with her homework from my hospital bed. That is one of her fondest memories till this day.
Things started getting ugly from this point. I came home from hospital and we were sharing custody at the time. I was slowly losing myself to post-natal depression and my step daughter’s mom was going through a divorce. My step daughter was devastated and I got all the blame.
I was being as accommodating as possible, helping her with her homework and school events, cooking supper every night, getting her ready for school and hosting sleepovers for her and her friends. I was doing the best I could with what I had, but that wasn’t enough.
I was blamed when my step daughter started to recede, even though she had two parents who were capable of raising her and did so before I came along. I digress; I noticed that she had changed. I didn’t think that her change in personality should be placed solely on my shoulders.
I understand that I may not have been the best step mother I could have been at that point in time. I wasn’t the best partner, mother, daughter or version of myself at that time. I really struggled to cope and understand who I was.
She was going through many changes that she could not vocalise or understand. She had survived a divorce and missed her brothers and sisters from that relationship, she was a big sister now and all her hair had been cut off for no apparent reason which resulted in her being bullied at school.
I own up to my mistakes and I’ve definitely made it up to her tenfold. She loves being the big sister. I’m not sure that I should have been blamed for everything that happened in her life that year.
What I’ve learned from this experience is the following:
- Get the step child or older child a gift
- Let them help with the baby
- Have a conversation with them to find out how they are feeling
- Spend some time with them one on one
- Let them know that you love them the same, no matter what.
I hope this post will help other families and parents going through something similar. Thank you for reading.
Did you have a similar experience? Do you have any tips to make an older child feel more comfortable after baby arrives? Don’t hesitate to comment below. I’d love to hear from you!
Love and Blessings,