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Only ever a step parent, not a mother?

(20 Posts)
NatPg Sat 06-Jan-18 16:15:34

I have been in a relationship with my partner for over a year and I have a good relationship with my DPs DS, age 10. He's generally a good kid but have some poor behaviour and manners - He's getting better but it's been about 9 years of constant stress for my DP since he separated from his ex when his DS was 2 years old.

I've always wanted a child of my own, DP not so much but the idea was growing on him the more time we spent together as a family. But I always knew there was a risk that we wouldn't have children together and it's the one thing that's been in the back of both our minds.

The past few weeks have been super stressful for DP and his ex wife, it's reminded DP that he really cant face having another child. But at the same time, I've realised that I can't be happy long term if the only experience I have of parenting is as a step parent - all the upheaval, stress, completely changing lifestyles without any of the "payback" of feeling unconditional love for a child and all those other lovely things say about being a mother. Totally willing for DPs son to be fully part of our lives, but can't help feeling I have a disproportionate about of the bad and not much of the good.

It really doesn't help seeing all my friends with their kids (babies to teens) and I feel like I'm missing out.

Don't know really what I'm asking for here, it's just on my mind and it's making me feel quite down. Anyone experienced anything similar?

daftgeranium Sat 06-Jan-18 17:34:56

Hello. I really feel for you. I suggest you do some serious talking with your partner.

If it really is the case that you want a child, and he doesn't want another, then your choices are:
- walk away and get together with someone who does want a child
- sacrifice your desires for being with your partner and his child (something you might very well regret in future)

Being a childfree stepparent is bloody difficult, even if your partner is a good one. You have to be sure you want to do it, and you have to have a sound partner who cares about you as well. Otherwise it will only lead to misery.

Good luck.

NorthernSpirit Sat 06-Jan-18 17:39:11

I have never wanted children and when I met my OH I knew he had kids, but didn’t really think about it as he was just a guy I was dating. 3.5 years down the line, we are engaged and live together and i’m very fond (not sure I can love) if his kids.

It works for me.

If you want kids of your own though you need to have a serious chat with your OH you will resent the situation otherwise.

Greensleeves Sat 06-Jan-18 17:41:08

I couldn't stay, personally, with someone who definitely didn't want to have children with me. A stepchild isn't a consolation prize, it's a completely different relationship.

I'd walk away now, if he's sure he won't ever want another baby.

RavingRoo Sat 06-Jan-18 18:08:17

Sounds like step parenting isn’t for you: that’s not a bad thing per se. Suggest you talk to your DH about how you feel. If he still doesn’t want a child then you should leave

NatPg Sat 06-Jan-18 19:08:13

We've spoken about it a lot, he knows a lot of the difficulties he had were from separating and overcompensating for only seeing DS and weekends. Days that he is playing up just remind him of this and make him feel like a failure as a dad.

I would prefer not to lose either of them from my life and think it would generally be better if he lived with us full time but DP thinks that is very unlikely.

I read some other posters saying how when step parenting gets tough at least they have their own children to spend time with. Walking away seems like a last resort though, I have low expectations of finding another man who wants to have kids (I'm 37, not willing to settle just to have kids).

We will talk about it again, who knows what will happen. Last night it was so serious he was contemplating leaving me because he couldn't give me what I want. We're both feeling a bit tired and low from work and other non-relationship related stress so it's probably not the best time to make huge life-changing decisions.

Nearlythere35 Sat 06-Jan-18 19:14:02

Hi, I've been a stepmother for nine years. I now have my own daughter. It is a completely different relationship and is more fulfilling as with stepchildren they are not yours and neither they nor their mother want you to be. That is not to say that you don't love stepchildren but it's undeniably different. I would think very seriously about your options long term because I think you may have regrets if you don't have children. Perhaps you to speak to your DP and explain how much this means to you. Good luck xx

CompletelyUnknown Sat 06-Jan-18 19:17:56

I'm sorry to hear this OP. I agree with PP on this one. You really need to have it out with your OH. My DH split with his exW for numerous one being he didn't want any more children. On us having a big discussion of deal breakers early in on our relationship he clarified this meant he didn't want the with her as the relationship wasn't working. I love being a step mum and absolutely adore being a mum. I believe it's made me live my DSS more since my DD came along and has helped relations with DH exW as she adores our DD too. You've clearly stated you don't want a life without experiencing being a mother too. Make this clear to your OH. It's unfair for him to leave you hanging or judge your relationship based on previous issues. This is a child with you the woman he loves not a child with his ex. I genuinely feel for you. The thought of leaving the man I love because he couldn't fulfill my wish to be a mother would have broken my heart but I would have done it.

NatPg Sat 06-Jan-18 22:33:22

Thanks for the support. It's been a very difficult day for me in my head, but it's been a really nice day with the OH and DSS, which makes it all so much harder and potentially heart breaking.

I have a step parent myself who I like and respect and is fully part if our family, but don't love or need, so know exactly the type of relationship I could expect.

AcrossthePond55 Sat 06-Jan-18 22:45:56

Never pick a man over your desire to have (or adopt) a child. Never.

swingofthings Sun 07-Jan-18 08:50:43

NatPg, when you do talk I would bring up the issue as to whether his worries are about being a father again, or being a separated father again. Because he's worry might be the latter, but he might feel he couldn't tell you that without offending you.

I feel for you, but I don't agree with AcrossthePond at all. Only you can know what is best for you. A good friend of mine was desperate to be a mum until she and her husband discovered that he couldn't father a child without IVF. She was absolutely fine. They had 3 goes at IVF, looked into adoption but she couldn't go through it, and she later admitted that she did consider living him as she couldn't imagine a life without a child, but she didn't as she loved him so much. She had counselling and gradually the process of grievance got into place until she was over it. They are now late 50s, have paid their mortgage, are travelling, partying and she's never been happier. She says she will always regret not being a mum, but would have regretted much much more the life she has with her adoring husband (who is indeed an amazing person).

TempusEejit Sun 07-Jan-18 08:55:24

^ This ^

Your resentment (and believe me you'll feel it more and more keenly as time ebbs away) will kill your relationship anyway.

I never really wanted kids when I was with my Ex yet the biological urge kicked in when I met my now DH - however I was late 30s and DH had had a vasectomy several years prior so chances for a successful reversal were slim. Plus he already had 4 DC. I'm 43 now and still feel a bit sad about it despite kids not being a big thing for me. I can't imagine how awful you'll feel as someone who actively wants a child and you have to struggle with DSS teen years whilst your own fertility window closes. Don't do it to yourself, trust me x

TempusEejit Sun 07-Jan-18 09:06:02

Sorry cross posted, I was agreeing with acrossthepond

Swingofthings the difference with your example is that your friend's husband agreed to having a child - they were both on the same page. So even though the IVF wasn't successful they clearly had a strong and solid relationship with or without children, and the freedom and extra finances to go travelling, partying etc. OP's situation is not the same - her OH has all the emotional and financial commitments of having a child so none of the positives of being child free apply, plus he's "denying" (for want of a better word) OP the chance to experience parenthood for herself because he already has his own DC. I can't see how that won't lead to resentment.

imgettingtoooldforthis Sun 07-Jan-18 09:12:37

I feel your pain. I'm a step mum, currently trying for family of our own - but it's not happening. Tempted to stop trying to save my sanity and heart ache. However the niggle of never being a mum is too painful .... good luck OP, I hope you get to be a mum soon x

grinchymcgrinchface Sun 07-Jan-18 09:20:27

To be blunt.... you want a baby and you are 37. You need to start trying ASAP. IMO you don't have the luxury of time to continue having debates about it with your husband. You want a baby and he knows you want a baby. It is selfish of him to expect you to stay in the relationship, help raise his child and remain childless just because he had a child 10 years ago with another woman.
"The past few weeks have been super stressful for DO and his ex wife, it's reminded DP that he really can't face having another child". Why is this exactly? Is it behavioural issues or is it to do with stress from the ex-wife? Why does he think that another child would be exactly the same? It would be a completely different dynamic, the child would only live with you two and so there is more consistency and you are more able to influence their behaviours.

grinchymcgrinchface Sun 07-Jan-18 09:25:56

To add. He is all take and no give. He wants you to help him raise his child (with behavioural issues). This is no easy task. Yet he wants you to give up your chance to have your own child, when you are meant to be in a loving relationship. I don't think he is as worried about your needs as you are about his. You need to think about what you want. After all he is placing his needs above yours, time to do the same.

AnneLovesGilbert Sun 07-Jan-18 13:40:45

Sorry you’re having a tough time.

You need to have a cards on the table talk now and find out whether he’s completely ruled out having a child with you. If hes not willing to commit either way then I’d take that as a no and take some time to work out what that means and whether you can live with it.

A PP saying you’re not cut out for being a step parent in bollocks. Sounds instead like you went into it knowing you’d be a stepmum and hoping/assuming you’d also get to be a mum. That’s fair enough.

If the situation has changed, so does the long term prospect of your relationship. Parenthood isn’t a guarantee for any of us but to know he doesn’t want to try and isn’t on the same page as you, to offer you a chance at what he already has, is going to hurt like hell and will probably lead to resentment that will eat away at your relationship. You could try and it might not happen. You could break up and end up not having children anyway. But to choose to stay knowing it was his decision to deny you the chance is a lot to deal with.

And all of that would be the case, and difficult, if he didn’t already have a child, which has a huge impact on your life.

None of the things people who don’t want or can’t hagr children that are positives - time, money, opportunities, freedom - are there when you’re a step parent. Children cost a lot of money, your weekends revolve around them, holidays have to be during school breaks. You’re a year in and it’s not going to get easier but harder.

A friend broke up with someone she’d been seeing for 6 months because he said he’d never want to be a dad. He had a lot going for him but it’s the most fundamental incompatibility and she hasn’t met anyone else yet but she’s happy and being honest with herself about what she wants and how she hopes her life will be.

She’s also not making the enormous compromises that step parenting fills a life with.

It’s okay to love him but decide a life with him doesn’t offer the things you want and need. There’s no shame in being honest with yourself, especially if he’s changed his mind, and going after what you want.

He got to be a dad. It would be terribly unfair of him to blame you for wanting to be a mum.

NatPg Sat 13-Jan-18 09:26:41

We did have the cards-on-the-table talk. He likes the idea of having another child with me and logically knows it will be a different situation than with his ex but he's afraid of it all going pear-shaped again and having another weekend dad situation. He wants me to be happy and is up to 90% wanting to have a child with me, we've agreed a timescale that works for us both and some conditions (like we need to be solid about our relationship. He's still hurt that his ex told him she wanted a child to save their marriage) I've asked him to make sure he's sure before we sign an mortgage agreements.

NatPg Sat 13-Jan-18 09:31:51

Sorry that posted before I was finished.

*any mortgage agreements.

I wouldn't want to start a have a child with someone I'm not sure about wanting to be with anymore either. As this was the only thing sort of in the background making me wonder, I'm happy with the plan.

Ss has been lovely lately too, for us at least (not so much for his mum :-( )

0ccamsRazor Sat 13-Jan-18 09:40:48

I hope that everything goes well for you Op, flowers

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