Before I start this, I just want to state a few things that I've been addressed on to skip the pleasantries and get right to the issue:
I am not married to the father, but I have known him for 8 years now. We met in high school, where we became very good friends and had a very healthy and deep friendship. After years, we tried to date. The feelings were always there, we both simply feared that if dating went up in flames, it would rock the friendship. So we gave it a go, and only lasted a week after he was seeing his ex on the side after she split from him. I was hurt, but if they are meant to be, that's how it was gonna be. I wished them luck and said if they wanted us to be friends again (after some space and time for them to let their relationship settle), that was fine. They agreed and said they wanted that as well.
I heard of their pregnancy through facebook, and was very excited for them. I had shopped for yarn to make them a baby blanket, neutral because it was still too early to tell the gender. A few months went by and I went to ask if the gender for the gift to find out I had been blocked, only by the father. As selfish as it sounds, I was disappointed but I silently knew what transpired between them. I dealt with that mess of feelings and decided if this was what they needed to be happy, so be it. Happy couple, happy baby. I left for college and soon forgot about him, had a good time, made good grades and even explored the US. Around the spring, I received a friend request from the Father. I was wary, but accepted,to which he said he was happy I let him back in without being mad. I simply told him that if his BM didn't like I us talking then he needed to leave the conversation (I was not going through the rollercoaster). He kept leading into that they were split and kept asking me to remember all the good times we had. He said he regretted going behind my back and that he missed me. This is were the regular flag is being raised to me, because to me at the time it just sounded a bit disingenuine.
I wished him luck with him and his child, to which he started in on BM, saying that they had finally split because he was not the only man in their relationship, on more than one occasion. To add to that, she began to experiment in drug because she wanted to have break for her birthday. (All his words). He wanted better for the child, and I wished him the best of luck.
He persisted. I resisted, becoming less and less effective each time. This man was once my best friend, then the one who made my heartbeat erratic just by holding me. I always knew him to be a good man before it went up in flames. He later told me that BM told him that if he didn't carry on with her behind me and then leave, that she would ingest as many pills as she could if he ever looked my way or came my way again.
Well, I am child of divorce. I knew very well this was a marriage of hidden bear traps and land mines waiting to happen. It is tricky, I watched adults stop to levels, try to sway me with gifts, manipulation. I picked on it at a young age. I would simply clam up and keep my feelings to myself. I also knew there was two sides to every story. Same with the father and BM. So I did not draw any personal conclusions on either at the time and waited to see how this would unfold.
He wanted to reunite, as friends, but soon it became clear he wanted to go back to the good days, I still refused his advances. I explicitly told him I would not meet the child without the BM's permission, separated or not. It took two to tango. Until I had that permission, no meeting between me or the child. On that I put my down firmly despite his protests.
We began to lightly and slowly dating, me asking if I was impeding on any time between him and his child, of so, our date could wait. I did enjoy stories about her over dinner though. His eyes sparkled and his world lit up. That gave me a small hope.
I finally met her at 4 months old. She had just woken up from a nap and started me down, the only way a child can, with unabashed and innocent honesty. It unnerved me, what if she hated my guts, I didn't want to be Daddys "evil" girlfriend. Still, I knew it was wrong to assume her emotions, and that children must be allowed to draw their emotional decisions and conclusions about those around them. Well, BM caught wind while the father was giving her a ride to Walmart, went berserk. Saying I had no business with her child (she was couch hopping at the time, because her and her bf broke up). I once again offered to back off. She told me I was nothing and she would get her man and baby back. I had refused to get serious for about 5 months for this very reason. If there was any hope to keep a family together, the child would be better off. I would go when ever the order came.
No such order came. BM was in and out prison, the baby began to warm up to me. A few months later, her Father and I began dating officially. We got of support from our friends that knew us. I constantly asked how he fed her? how long did she nap? What are her allergies?
I was not trying to take BM's place, but if she is going to be around me, it would be foolish not to know these things so I could be knowledgeable of her habits and things that could hurt her. It was all for her. I fell in love with her before I fell in love with the father (different kinds of love, obviously) I had come to see that he was an exceptional father, mature beyond the years of those around us. I knew that despite past misgivings, he was still a good man.
Baby's first birthday is rolling around, so I call up the Father and ask when we are going to hold the second party. He is confused, and I tell him that he and BM should be present on her actual birthday, which is also the party. I would wait till the weekend. He reaches out to her and repeatedly stated if I am there or attempting to throw one of my own she will not come, period, so if Baby wanted to see her, I needed to stay far away or everyone would know whose fault it was.
I agreed, and just helped with the party planning. I picked up the cake, supplies, and had my gift for her already tucked away. I found out that even if I was dropping things off, she still wouldn't come. She said that I ruined the party before I started and never showed up. It wasn't my place, but I went and got her gift and brought it back to her. I got her a shirt that says "My first birthday" and she had a great birthday. I've never seen a smile so big.
It got worse, the father began getting messages asking why he would date a girl who beat and ignored the baby. I was gobsmacked, hurt and infuriated. I kept it in and channeled into love for the child. One big one was that I was begging the father to send the baby away because I hated her, I just wanted to steal her baby because I was jealous of her, I wanted her Father all to myself. I was called a wh*** for tearing their family apart. It went on for some time, but I never lashed back, the baby didn't need a toxic environment.
Fast forward to this past summer. Father and BM got into an argument where she screamed at him that she hoped my uterus would rot and fall out, that no child would ever survive a pregnancy inside of me so I would know how it felt to lose a baby. I felt hurt at that, because at this point I was helping baby count, sing, eat, bathe, colors. I read her bed time stories, I was making sure baby grew up with the whole world at her hands, brains and kindness, and she hopes that my child will die? She had not lost her baby, she was there for the taking whenever, I always offered to remove myself if that's how she wanted to spend time with baby. I tried to swallow it down, telling myself maybe she was just hurting and needed time to adjust.
Soon she got out and would drop by unexpectedly to see baby (no problems here). Once I was dropping off groceries to baby's house (grandma was there) and boom there she is. I was a bit thrown off, but smiled and asked how she was doing. She turned her head and ignored me. Baby wanted me to pick her up and I was stuck between what had become natural and looking to BM for permission. I told her I would see her later to which BM rolled her eyes and swooped her up. A few months later, on a visitation, her mother ran with baby out of state. Father wasdevastated, and as selfish as it is, I was too. They were not married when baby was born, so the police could do nothing accept arrange a court date. Well, they dug up everything they could on me and the Father, which led to zilch. That stacked against her numerous drug and theft charges led to a unanimous decision, and baby came home. Baby started calling me mommy. I told the father and his family not to force that on her, it needed to be her decision, that if need be I could always be her Jane, and she could have BM too. I never wanted her to feel pressured to pick. To this day she still calls me mommy. My family doesn't approve, and neither does BM's. I get it. Touchy territory.
One girl in his family sought me out to tell me I'll never be a mother. Until I had a biological baby, I wasn't a mother, and that's how it will always be. She urged me to go away so baby could be with BM. I kept quiet because the Father said nothing, and that hurt. He never could stand up to her, she would insult me in front of him and would say nothing. I asked him, he said it wasn't important and he didn't wanna fight her. lately the tune has changed as BM started demanding that I do all for her baby(acceptable and understandable). But if I even mess up a little, like if baby's hair is messy, she will tell the father and then he will say something to me about taking better care of her.
I know stepparents get a bad rep. So what I'm going to say before the hate floods in:
1. I am aware that I did not give birth to baby/nor are entitled any parental rights to her.
2. I will never be her mother.
3. I am replaceable and cannot screw up.
4. Baby and Father come before my feelings.
5. That includes BM, if BM isn't happy I've done wrong.
6. There is no competition between baby and I, that is sick.
7. Am to freak no child after her different and I am not to reprimand her.
8. If Baby wants me gone at any point, I am to leave.
Lately the discipline is a big thing. I do not touch baby, who is 2 now. The terrible twos have set in. I know this happens to all parents and I don't lose my temper on children. But I firmly and lovingly told baby that she needs to take a nap (her father already put her down twice, so he told me to try). I did not yank her up, but carried her with care each time. Well, baby flies into tantrum and is swinging and kicking, trying to land a hit to me. I understand that she is simply trying to process all these new feelings, and will eventually learn. Well, the Father tells me to not put her to bed again, because I was too aggressive and mean, voice getting defensive. It hurt. He picks her back up and let's her stay up while she looks at me like I've stabbed her, and that hurt worse. The non existent support from my family and the community was hard enough to deal with lately but now he won't let me put her to bed or rock her to sleep. I know it's his child. But now he has began to act like I can't do anything. He told me my job is to keep her happy, which only confuses me because just the day before he came down on me for not spanking her. I don't even physically reprimand my nieces and nephew. It's not my place.
I feel a bit alone in this. I feel like she won't trust me anymore. I feel like a monster, and BM agrees. He has stopped disciplining her all together. She swings and yells at me and he just watches and becomes irritated if I tell her it's not nice. If she does it to him she gets torn up. I just need some communication. I want the best for baby, and we need to be a team because he told me he's planning on marrying me. This all needs major work before we form any family or create more children, which his pushing me to have. But when I ask about the discipline of the second child, he says they are gonna get the hell smacked out at them if they act up, but he says there's no reason to discipline baby, because she is just spirited.
I just feel selfish for not being able to agree or getting defensive at the thought of one kid receiving the punishment the other was safe from. It's nothing towards baby, it's the father I am confused with. I need some advice. I know she needs extra love and she is his first baby, but don't we have to set boundaries somewhere? I've contemplated having a baby of my own because I fear it will be seen as selfish, and that baby won't feel important any more. I would rather have no bio kids than her feel like she never got enough love.