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Worried about bringing a baby into steplife!

Em Worrier's picture

I am married to my DH for 11 months now, but have been with him for 4 years. I have a 7SD. Custody has changed A LOT over this time period. Ultimately, my DH opted for an open adoption with BM and her husband. He still visits with her on a varied schedule, usually a weekend once a month. (This is all very new)

I have a lot of trouble being SM. I still after all of these years haven't accepted SD. We use to visit with her much more frequently. When visitation became less frequent, we finally tied the knot. I was having a lot of doubts, but thought maybe the drama was over and we could carry on a normal life.

My problem is I want nothing to do with SD. I want DH to visit with her on his own terms and stop including me. SD is much closer with me. She follows me around and I feel constantly pressured to keep her entertained. I believe DH is afraid to be alone with her. He has told me it doesn't come naturally to him (he met her later in her life, it was a 1-night stand, very messy) and he wants my help. The problem is I don't want to help.

Now, we're at the point that he says he'll step up and stop putting all this pressure on me. I can't even remember a single time they've done anything together without me. I told him to take her out for the day, just them two.

It gets messier. We would like to have a child together, but DH is very insistent that SD and baby have a sibling relationship. I disagree. Because of the infrequent visitation, I think it would be easier to keep things quieter. I would like to give baby a chance at a "normal" family life and explain things later on. My DH is no longer legally a parent and his visitation could be on his own terms.

I know there's problems on both of our sides. I obviously need to learn to accept her and stop trying to rid her from my family life. And DH needs to step up and actually be responsible. We are holding off on the baby until we can agree on things more. Some days I wonder what I'm even doing in this relationship. I keep trying for something that'll never happen.


Am I wrong for not "holding my DH's hand" through parenting my SD?
Any advice on learning to accept her visits (even as infrequent as they are)?
Am I wrong for wanting to keep SD and baby separate?
Any general advice appreciated!

sunshinex's picture

In my opinion, your husband needs to decide whether or not he's going to be a parent to this child first and foremost. You said he's no longer legally a parent... than he should get the hell out of the picture and let this child have a chance at a normal life! It's not fair for him to drop in once a month with no responsibility to her. That sounds awfully confusing for such a young girl.

You're right... SD/baby shouldn't have a sibling relationship because your husband is not a father to this girl. If he was prepared to act like a father to her, than I would say absolutely they need to have a relationship and you need to try and be involved, but that's not the case. If I were you, I'd reconsider having children with someone who, from the sounds of it, opted to NOT take responsibility for his first child.

Em Worrier's picture

I think DH is trying to do what he thinks is best, which is give SD a more stable family life. Before he reached the agreement with them, there was police/CPS/3 attorneys involved. It was awful for everyone involved.

He doesn't want to "disappear" from her life, but he clearly doesn't want to be very proactive either. I think it's a mix of he agrees that he isn't raising her, but he doesn't want her to not know her bio dad.

Steppedonnomore's picture

It would have been great if the two of you had discussed this and come to an agreement (or not) before the marriage. Since that didn't happen, you are going to have to see if there is any room for compromise. If he is deadest on his daughter having a sibling relationship with any child the two of you have and you are deadest against it then, without compromise, the only option may be to never have a child together. You can certainly disengage during his time with his daughter and let him step up and be the parent but that doesn't solve the issue of "siblings." What relationship do you envision your child having with SD?

Em Worrier's picture

I can't imagine much of a relationship if the baby/kid only sees SD once a month if that. That's not a sibling relationship IMO. I understand they share a bio dad, but I think it's all too confusing to explain.

We have never agree on SD. It's hard because we agree with everything else though.

For me, not having a child isn't an option. I've wanted to be a mom for a long while now. I just want the right circumstances and upbringing for her/him.

Steppedonnomore's picture

I understand about wanting to have your own child. I also felt that way. If it were completely up to you, what would you tell your child about this other child who Daddy visits with once a month? If explaining the step-relationship is too confusing, what would be your explanation?

Em Worrier's picture

And that's where I hit a wall. I don't know. I don't want to hurt SD either. And I think it would be stupid to lie, because it would back fire in the end.

I suppose I would want her to be seen as more of a distance family member or cousin, without labeling it as anything.

secret's picture

I suspect that the relationship she will eventually develop with DH will be much like an uncle... regardless of what happens, SD will need to come to terms with whatever dynamic she is led to believe/learns about on her own, and another child is not going to change any of that.

Even if you were to get pregnant now, you would still have a good 6 or 7 years before real questions start coming... and by then SD will be 14/15 and the dynamic between her and her father will likely be established... she'll either move on, or she'll have accepted that your DH is her father by blood even if not "legally" due to the adoption - either way, she exists.... and either way, she's your DH's other child... you having your own child will not change any of that.

Em Worrier's picture

Thank you for your thoughts. I supposed right now the roles we have are a bit confusing/uncertain. I guess in time things will settle into what they are.

Tryingmybest22's picture

I am 30 years old and I just wanted to share this with you. My dad had a child when he was 18 and he never had a great relationship with her. He tried several times but they never got close and eventually all he did was pay child support. He had me and my 2 sisters w my mom and was the best dad a girl could ever ask for. I wouldn't not want to have kids with ur husband because of the relationship with his child. People grow up mature and change and I bet it would be completely different with you.

BethAnne's picture

Children are pretty accepting and you can explain most things to them as long as you do not get into adult details.

Your sister has two dads, your daddy who made her with her mommy and her other dad who is married to her mommy and helps to look after her. Your dad visits your sister every month as he loves her very much and likes to spend time with her.

Em Worrier's picture

And I suppose that's where I struggle. The "labels" of what makes a sister and sibling. Clearly by blood they share a dad, but her relationship within the family doesn't seem much like a sister to me. I don't want future bio to depend on a sister that just isn't there for them like one. If custody was more frequent, than I understand using the term sister.

BethAnne's picture

They will be siblings whether or not they live together. Just because it is not the same type of relationship you have with your siblings (or other sibling relationships that you see around you) does not make her any less of a sister. Yes technically they will be half siblings, but it seems cruel to introduce that term and make their relationship seem lessor in name. Call them siblings, let them work out how to be sisters and let life falll where it may. Why would you deliberately choose to limit the number of people that love your child and put road blocks in their familial relations before they even have a chance to grow.

z3girl's picture


I did not like the idea of SD being called sister to my boys before I had them. I think if the OP really wants a child, her concerns over labels and relationships may fade.

Once I had my first child, I didn't care so much what we labeled SD. (My SD is an adult, and only sees my boys once or twice a year.) My children DS6, DS5, and DS2 have never asked why their sister is DH's daughter but not mine. They've never asked her who her mommy is. They just see her as their sister, and they like to play with her when she visits, and that's it.

I think if OP doesn't want to be as involved with her SD, she doesn't have to. If she has her own child, I don't think it will be all that necessary to label the SD when she visits. When the SD is in her teens, she may not even want to visit anymore, especially since the father has given up his rights anyway.

sunshinex's picture

Just another thought

This girl will probably have so much resentment for your baby considering her father spends all his time with him/her and actually is involved with her yet just drops in once a month to see her. This girl will probably want nothing to do with your baby, so you don't need to worry much.

Em Worrier's picture

This might happen down the road, but SD is a very pleasant child on the surface. I can't imagine what she's going through on the inside. I know she is happy with BM and stepdad though.

She is always very cheery and content during the visits. She'll ask when she is being picked up, but doesn't seem unhappy to be with DH. I've never seen her hostile or negative about the situation.

sunshinex's picture

If I can be honest...

My stepdaughter is almost 6, so close in age, and she's with us full-time aside from some holiday/summer visits with her biomom. She sees her biomom about 1.5 months out of the year in total. The situation seems fairly similar. She's very happy with us, BM doesn't want to give up rights completely but doesn't want to be proactive, etc.

She's always very cheery when she's with her mom - of course she is, she wants her mom to enjoy being around her. What her mom doesn't see, though, is the tears that come when her mom doesn't call for weeks on end, or when her birthday passes and mom doesn't make it to the party yet again. SD is broken up over it but she'll never show it. At 6 years old, she's learned to hide it very well and definitely puts on a front to her mother.

It's absolutely heartbreaking to watch from an inside perspective. BM thinks she's doing the right thing but I know otherwise. She's breaking her own daughter in pieces every single time she decides to jump in than not call/talk to her/be involved for weeks on end. It's awful and I'm not one to hate anyone, but I hate her for this.

Children need stability and while it may seem she's handling it fine, I can almost promise you she's not.

Em Worrier's picture

I appreciate your honesty. And I am sorry, you're on the other side.

I suppose I wonder than... is the visitation of once a month causing more harm than good? My DH is set on still spending time with her, but is it causing her pain. Is he being selfish?

On the other hand, I'm not sure how he can be more proactive. Everyone has settled on the current agreement and I don't see it changing.

sunshinex's picture

I would say he's being selfish, yeah. Does he provide financial support? Why doesn't he want to see her more? If he's set on spending time with her, why not be an involved parent - at least take her on weekends and provide financial support...

It just seems like it would feel pretty crappy. I know my SD feels like mommy only wants to be there when she feels like being there. We've never put anything in her head yet she'll make comments like "mommy doesn't like being a mommy because nobody taught her how to" and such.

Em Worrier's picture

No he doesn't. The BM and stepdad are much better off, as in multiple businesses and private school for SD.

At this time, I don't think more visitation is an option. DH doesn't have the authority to make the calls anymore. The once a month isn't even set in stone. He sends them a few possible dates and they let him know what weekend works for their schedule.

sunshinex's picture

Yeah... my husband and I work a lot and make fairly good money compared to BM but it would still be nice if BM contributed to the child she birthed. I would NOT procreate with this man. He doesn't support his current child, how do you know he'll support yours?

ESMOD's picture

Ok. I will just caveat my post from the beginning and say this seems to be a really weird situations.

I can't imagine a decent guy wanting to sign away his parental responsibilities on a SEVEN year old child. I mean, I get adopting an infant when the parents are too young or ill equipped to raise child.. but a guy who is capable.. but it is just too "messy". Police were involved?!? How immature where either/both of them to let things get THAT bad. One night stand or not, adults should be able to "do better".

So, that begs the question, why do you want to have a child with a man who so easily gives over his child to someone else?

I don't know.. The kid surely knows who her "real father is" it's not like she is too young for that. She is going to need therapy whatever is decided.. and it sounds like you pushed for this as well.


Acratopotes's picture

Am I wrong for not "holding my DH's hand" through parenting my SD? NO not at all, she's not your responsibility and he agreed to open adoption with BM and SF.. thus the girl already has 3 parents, she does not need another one

Any advice on learning to accept her visits (even as infrequent as they are)? Simply ignore it, learn to say, SD ask your Dad, SD I'm busy now I will talk to you later and keep on doing what you do, there's no need for you to entertain her when she's there, she comes to see her father not his wife

Am I wrong for wanting to keep SD and baby separate? Yes you are, if she visits you can't keep them separate, allow her to play with the baby/toddler or what ever, they are related, but no need to go out of your way to include her, they will never grow up as true siblings cause SD is not living with you 24/7

Any general advice appreciated!

Tomatoe's picture

Don't breed with this man unless you want your child to be heart broken and wondering why daddy wants to give her to your new boyfriend. I predict you will and then you will watch your kid struggle and wish you had made better decisions. Right now you think its bm/the situation ect... anything you can blame except him. You will see though and your child will pay the price.

oneoffour's picture

My 2 cents worth is what if your future child needs an organ or bone marrow in the future and the only match is your SD? Would she be a sister then? Or the generic 'sibling'?

Yes you knew this getting in the game. No one is saying you have to love this girl. You just need to care about her and accept her as part of your DHs past. How long has this been going on? Him finding it 'hard'? Because he certainly knew what to do when things got hard 7 yrs ago. He needs to man-up and be a good male role model or slowly back out or this girls life and start his do-over life with you.