I’m going to share something that I don’t think I’ve ever mentioned before on this blog. I’ll explain it in a bit..but here’s the backstory:

I was 7 when my parents divorced and unfortunately, for me, I remember everything. So many times I wished that I never knew my parents together…I wish they divorced when I was like 2…but they didn’t and I remember.

I didn’t quite understand it all. But I knew one thing.

They hated each other.

My Mom and Dad would say the meanest things about one another…to me. I felt so lost during that time. I remember vividly getting so upset one time that I said something extremely profound for a 7 year old…I said…”Dad, when you say mean things about Mom…I am 1/2 of her too…so you’re saying mean things about me…I am 1/2 of BOTH of you….and it makes me sad.”

You would think that would have ended it…that they would have been “grown-ups”….but it didn’t. It continued on…and honestly still does.

So this brings me to my step-mom.

She wasn’t very loving. She didn’t have any children of her own(my Dad had a vasectomy after us). She smoked cigarettes starting at 7am. She drank an entire bottle of wine a day…morning and night.

And that’s what a step-mom was to me.

But here goes……I’m actually a step-mom.

Even when I type that word I cringe a bit…

I never wanted to be a step-mom. But the man that I fell in love with has a child. A little girl.

When I met her, she was only 1. She was a baby. I thought, well, this should be easier because she’s so young. She will always know me in her life. I don’t smoke. I don’t drink heavily. I won’t be like my step-mom and I’ll definitely have a brother or sister for her very soon. They can grow up together and everything will work out.

Well, 5+ years later….she’s 6 now. And still not a brother or sister for her.

And after recently spending some time with her, I realized…I may be her “step-mom” and “mom” might be part of my title but she makes it very clear. When kids at the playground refer to me as her “Mom”, she’s quick to correct them…”She’s not my Mommy”. The kids look confused but she continues playing. Another little girl refers me as her “Mom” and she gets frustrated, shaking her head, saying a little louder, “She’s NOT my Mommy!”

My heart breaks.

I know I am not her Mommy. And I know I will never be.

Which makes not being able to have my own child that much more heartbreaking.

This child, came into this world unplanned. My husband and her mother were not even together for 1 year.

And here I am…sitting here after 5 years…longing and begging for a child that will call ME….”Mommy”.

I want their face to light up with joy when they say those words.

But instead, I get a scowl. I get disappointment. I get, “She’s not my Mommy.”

Infertility is one of the most heartbreaking things that a couple can go through. But going through infertility while watching the product of your husband and his ex…this child they created…grow up….honestly, just devastates me at times.

How this child can come out of a “fling” before we met just kills me.

Why am I in this situation? I know I didn’t have to choose to be with him…I chose him knowing that he had a child. But I thought WE would have a child too.

This is where I am struggling.

We recently sat down and had the “living child free” talk together.

He was extremely open to it. He’s seen how much pain and hurt I have been through these past years. And honestly, the financial burden is a whole other ballgame. It all sucks.

He said, “I am happy with us.” “I love our life.” “I can be happy if it’s just you and me forever.”

And then he said….”Don’t you feel the same way?”

I paused…and said, “No.” “I don’t think I could be happy with just you and me…..because it’s not just you and me.” “You have a daughter.” “You have that part of your life too….someone that calls you Daddy…and that’s what I want too…someone to call me Mommy.”

Honestly, if it was just he and I….I might be able to do it. I might be able to live child-free if it was truly just US……but it’s not…it’s me, him and his daughter…and that’s where it all changes.

So that’s where I am at with living child-free. Some people have recently asked me if that was a possibility and this is the best way that I can describe it. I 100% support those that live child-free, again, if I wasn’t in this situation…it might be an easier decision for me…it might be the decision for me.

So I continue searching for my answers. Doors continue to close. I feel sadness, I feel frustration, I feel desperate…i’ll admit it….I AM DESPERATE.

But I know none of that helps.

So I press on. I’m looking at more surgeries, I’m looking into surrogacy, adoption, I’m still looking into experimental procedures and I will update you all as they progress.

But one thing I know for sure…..I am not giving up on my child that is out there.

Because for me….giving up is a lot harder than trying.

So that’s what I’ll do…keep trying…

To one day be called, “Mommy.”



47 Comments on “She’s Not My Mommy”

  1. I wish I had advice but all I can offer is a virtual hug. It’s all so very complicated and nuanced and painful when infertility is an everyday part of your life. We’re currently perusing surrogacy and not a day goes by here I don’t spend some time mourning our inability to get pregnant with ease.
    The best I can offer is to keep writing and hanging in there. I know we’ll all come to a peaceful place eventually.

    • Thanks Elizabeth…appreciate the hug…I’m looking into surrogacy too….seems SO overwhelming. I know exactly how you feel…and I agree..we will come to peace eventually…thank you for your support! xoxo

  2. I can only imagine the heartbreak you must feel. I’m sure you’re a wonderful role model for her and hopefully she will realize it sooner than later. Have you and your husband sat down and talked to her about what/why she says that? My mom and biological dad got a divorce when I was 1. My mom got remarried when I was 3. I don’t know if my mom talked to me about it when I was little, but I’ve called him my dad for as long as I can remember.
    Although I can’t relate with personal experience to those feelings you have when you daughter says that, I am all to familiar with your pain of wanting a baby and it not happening. (We’ve been trying for over 4 1/2 years.) Just know that you are not alone and are in the thoughts and prayers of many.

    • Thanks PCOS to Mommy….I know she doesn’t really know any better and she is just telling the truth…I’m not her Mommy…that’s what they do at that age…tell the truth…even if it hurts…I know she doesn’t mean anything…I guess I was pointing it out because it hit me hard..I don’t fault her…just made me realize even more the want to have my own child..that will call ME Mommy..that’s all. Thank you for your support and understanding…we will get through this..one day at a time….xoxo

  3. *hugs*

    I can only hope for you that things change as his daughter gets older. Kids that young think of things in such simple terms, and can’t necessarily comprehend how simply saying what is true might be hurtful and difficult. As she gets older and learns this, maybe she will better understand that really she has two mommies, and that it’s ok for other people or even for her to call you her mom, even tho you biologically aren’t. She should also learn the concept of considering people’s feelings and gain more empathy. My parents were divorced when I was 12 and my dad re-married when I was probably 14 or 15. I never really called my step-mom “mom”, but I also would not have felt the need to correct anyone if they assumed she was and called her such.

    • Thank you Maverick…exactly…I know she didn’t mean any harm by it…she was just telling the truth…I’m not her Mommy..and that’s true. I would also never expect her to call me Mom…I would never call my step-mom “Mom” and would never even want that….I guess at that moment it just made me realize that I need to keep fighting for that child that will call me Mom…and that they are out there and I need to fight for them still…thank you for your support and understanding…xoxo

  4. Being a step mom is rough. I think you are very honest and genuine to continue fighting to have your child on your terms. I am glad that you are still moving forward . Hugs*

    • Thank you alicia…yes..it…is…TOUGH. And even tougher battling infertility while being a step-mom. But that’s the life I’ve been dealt so I will keep on living…there has to be some reason for all of this and I’ll just keep going until it makes sense…thank you for always supporting me! xo

  5. This sounds so incredibly hard of a situation to be in. Being a stepmom is hard enough as is (I have a stepmother I never cared much for either), but to be a stepmom going through infertility is something I cannot imagine. This being said, I believe I would feel just as you do about being “childfree.” I really hope you have that child of your own that calls you “mommy” soon!

  6. Wow I’m speechless. I would assume a child that young would not have that mentality since you’ve been in her life a while. I admire ur endurance and ur strength to move forward with however it takes to have a child call u mommy.

    • Thank you Jojo…I know she is only 6 so she’s only saying it because it is true…I’m not her Mommy..and I’m not…it just opened my eyes to the fact that I really, really want a child to call me Mommy one day and be happy saying it…thank you for your understanding and your little one will be here soon…so very happy for you again 🙂 xoxo

    • Thank you Caroline….I know she didn’t mean anything by it…she was just telling it like it is..and she’s only 6…just made me realize I really want someone to call me Mommy one day…thank you for all of your prayers…appreciate them as always…xoxo

  7. I have a similar situation but the 2 kids were a bit older when my husband and I married. During our infertility journey it bugged me even more because he already had kids and someone to call him Dad as you said but I didn’t have someone to call me mom. I wondered if it would ever happen. Often people assume I am their mom and the kids don’t correct them but I think that’s simply because they are older. Maybe the same thing will happen as she gets older. Prayers for you during this time and for your sweet baby to come to you 🙂

    • Thank you Amie…fellow step-mom…I know she didn’t mean anything by it, she is only 6, but she’s just being honest…I’m not her Mommy…just hurt that it keep getting brought up…all around me and made me realize that I really want someone to call me Mommy one day…with love..thank you for understanding and supporting me…xoxo

  8. I have never been in your situation, but I would completely understand why you would feel the way you do. I would imagine that it is also tough that your husband cannot fully understand how you feel in this situation– as much as he might want to. I have also felt this way with my husband regarding surrogacy in that he really has no idea what it is like to grow up thinking that you will be able to carry your own child/ren and then having that taken away. Me not being able to be pregnant is a loss for him too but just not in the same way, and that is very hard and isolating sometimes. My heart breaks for you and I am hoping & praying that your turn to be called “mommy” is here soon.

    Also, I wanted to say that you really have a gift in being able to share your heart with others. Thanks for being willing to be honest and write the tough stuff even when it feels difficult. Thinking of you <3

    • Thank you Ashley..your words mean so much. I know you understand…it’s all just so tough…every aspect of this…somehow we will get through it but it’s hard to see when it’s happening like this….I really appreciate your support and understanding….and your kind comment at the end…I try to just write from my heart…no filter…if I can help one other person…then this blog is worth it…thank you so much…xoxo

  9. I am so sorry that your step-daughters words cut so deeply. I know it’s not the same, but I suspect many years from now you two may have a very different relationship. I say this only because I have a step-mom and while I never wanted one as an adult I am glad my dad found her. For his sake and even for mine sometimes. She’s a nice women, and I know she means well. Our relationship hasn’t been perfect, but really who’s is? But if you asked me when I was 14 how I felt about the situation my words would be nothing the same. So, while I still refer to as my step-mom and would never refer to her as my mom, I do respect and love her. It took time, but that’s where we are today. So, i guess what I’m saying is don’t give up on that relationship. She’s only 6, you have many years to grow together. 🙂
    As for wanting a child of your own to call you mommy – I 100% respect that. I really do hope you find a way to make your dreams come true! Sending you love as always.

    • Thank you MPB…I know she didn’t really mean anything by it…she’s only 6 and was just telling the truth…I’m not her Mommy. Just made me realize that I really do want someone to call me Mommy one day. I have a step-mom too and I would never call her Mom…I would never want my step-daughter to call me Mom either….it’s all just so tough…infertility, being a step-mom, finances, etc…I know you get it…I’m hanging in there..someway this will make sense in the end…thank you for your continued support! xoxo

  10. So incredibly brave of you to share that with the world. Sending you so much love. Infertility is so unfair and I’m sorry her words cut so deep. I just can’t give up either. To me, that would be more difficult. You put that perfectly. Big hugs! I knew there was a reason I texted you tonight. I guess I just had a feeling you were struggling, hopefully it helped to know you were thought about. 💜

    • Thank you Sondra..I know she didn’t really mean anything…she’s 6 and she was just telling the truth..I’m not her Mommy…that’s true…but still hurts and makes me sooooo want to be called Mommy for once. And yes…soo interesting that you texted..we are connected girl..you know it…appreciate your thoughts..back at you…very exciting time for you and hoping for the best…xoxo

    • Thanks Greg…it’s all so tough…all of us in this community are so supportive…no matter what each of us are going through and I truly appreciate it…thank you..been thinking about you too and sending you strength…one day things have to work out…for us both…something’s gotta give…thank you again..

  11. I cannot even explain how much I relate to this post. While I am a child of divorce, I was actually 17 when it happened and I don’t have any stepparents, HOWEVER I am a step mom to a 7 year old boy. I came into his life when he was 2. And when anyone ever refers to me as his mom he always corrects them immediately. The thing is, I am not his mom and I totally respect that, but it does hurt so much because I am not a mommy at all. I love helping raise him and being a parent for him, but that doesn’t fill empty place in my life. My husband (who is also 9 years older than me) would be just fine if we didn’t have any children, and sometimes it kills me because I know he would rather spend our money on other things than fertility treatments. He does it because he loves me and he understands that it is what I want, but I am so afraid he will resent me/our child someday. If you ever want to email me about any of this feel free. I can 100% understand where you are coming from. meanttobemommy@gmail.com

    • Wow…meantobemommy…you sure can relate…I know we will get through this…just hard when roadblocks continue to get in my way…hello…trying to have a baby here. Thank you for understanding and truly appreciate your support..xoxo

  12. I can’t imagine how hard it is to hear those words. I’ve never been in your situation, but I think I can understand how you feel about being okay childless if it were just the two of you vs how things are now. I think I would probably feel the same way. Sending you strength on your difficult journey.

    • Hi Kitten…thank you for understanding…every part of this “infertility battle” is tough…and when more things are added…just makes it tougher. Thank you for your support…I know I’ll get there but I just must keep trying…congrats again on your baby C…..hope to be there soon too….xoxo

  13. Wow!! I too am a childless stepmom to an 8 yr old boy. He was also not planned. He was 18 months old when I met him. After trying for 1 year, we found out that My husband sufferers from vericosy issues. He had surgery to try to correct the issue but we just hit our 2 yr ttc mark and still no luck. I’m just Ganna throw it out there. Im getting bitter. I never wanted to be a stepmother. I had never even dated someone with children before I met my husband. My husband and his child’s mother weren’t even on speaking terms when I came into the picture. I had to build a personal relationship with her, to help get them to build a civil relationship with each other, for the sake of their child. I went above and beyond to create my own special relationship with my stepson. (Who is wonderful btw) but I still can’t help feeling screwed in some way. I find myself wondering Why don’t I deserve this? Don’t get me wrong. I am beyond greatful to have this little man in my life. But that doesn’t mask me wanting A child of my own. A child I don’t have to share with another woman. I sort of just feel hopeless and empty:(

  14. Can I say as a stepmom myself, one who has been in their lives for roughly 15 years, you may not be “mommy” but you are a HUGE formative part of her life. You have such a special, wonderful role and as she grows up, she will share with you how important you are in her life. I can tell you this after experiencing pain and frustration with that role. I am as much a part of them as their parents are. I am no longer with their father, but I am still a cornerstone of their lives.

    You WILL be a mother. I am so sorry this road is so difficult for you. My husband and I experienced a pre-term birth last year that resulted in the death of our daughter. Through this we found out we are carriers of a recessive bone marrow failure. The grief journey towards motherhood comes in so many shapes, sizes and colors. It is often overwhelming. I will add you to my good intentions and I wish you so much peace and happiness.

  15. Oh I am so sorry! Having a step daughter as you shared would be so hard! I probably would feel the exact same way as you!!! Sending you a huge huge hug! Dang it! I so want this baby for you too!!! Thinking of you and praying for you!

  16. I totally get where you’re coming from. I think if J had a child from his 1st marriage, I would have the same struggle as you. Sending you lots of love and praying you find your way to your baby very soon!

  17. I came across your blog and just had to comment. You put into words exactly what I have been feeling. I love my stepson….sometimes so much that it hurts, but ultimately, I am “just Holly” to him. I will never be the one he wants when he is sick, never be the first one he celebrates a big moment with and I will definitely never be the one that he calls Mommy.

    His mother likes to make comments to him and he recently told my Dad that “you’re not my real grandparent.” My heart breaks for my Dad, because he wants nothing more than to have grand kids to spoil, and so far, I haven’t been able to give him those.

    I’ve said so many of the things you mentioned above to my husband. He just doesn’t get it. It makes this whole infertility thing even lonelier some days.

    I say all that to say, you’re not alone, I’m “Not someone’s Mommy” too. I hope time continues to strengthen the relationships we do have with them and that one day we both can be called Mommy.

  18. Hi –

    I can relate somewhat…

    I too have a stepchild (stepson) I have raised with my fiance for the past 9 years. He was just a newborn 9 years ago and I haven’t lost a child yet (loss my son in 2008, preterm labor) or even had to deal with the pain of infertility (7 years now).

    His birth mom was out of the picture for the longest time (drug problem). But, now she and my fiance have a court order to visitation in place. She picks him up every other weekend or once a month.

    See, I know I should be happy that he knows and refers to me as “Mommy”. I am.

    However, someday’s it still hurts. Our son has passed away and their son is living and thriving (which I am so thankful for, don’t misunderstand me) but, why? Why couldn’t our son make it? Why can’t we have a healthy child? Why are we dealing with infertility and why do we have to go through our first round of IVF (whenever we can afford it)?.

    He is the sweetest, kindest and lovable little boy. But, when I see my fiance with their son, I’m so happy because I know what a wonderful father he is. Yet, so sad because I wish I had that with our own child. I wish our little guy that we are still raising together had a living sibling from us. I want nothing more than to see a little human being with some of my features, personality characteristics and my athletic built to look up at me with big beautiful brown eyes and call me “MOMMY” and be mine.

    Until, that day…your right, all we can do is keep pushing on towards our dream of becoming mothers to God’s most precious gift on earth, our own child(ren).

  19. I also wanted to add, just because my bonus son calls me “mom” doesn’t change the fact that I do not have my own child.

    Each day is a struggle. A struggle to deal with our son passing away and a struggle dealing with infertility and the thought that it may never happen. We, I mean, I, may have to live with the fact of the matter…that it might just be my fiance, his son, and I. And NO, I’m not okay with that.

    I have asked my fiance and his son about me doing a step-parent adoption. We discussed it and they felt like it would hurt the birth mom even more, she will not be willing to just “give” him up or her rights (mostly) of him. So, I am here putting in ALL my time, emotions, heart, love, energy and money into taking care of this child who is living with us, calling me “mommy” and yet is not mine. Not in legal or physical custody and not in genes. Just, because I have been HERE everyday of his life since he was 2 months old. But, doesn’t want to legally be mine because it will be a battle in court with this birth mom.

    All I have ever wanted was to have a child…of my own that called me MOMMY.

    I’ve waited over 7 years for it to happen and I am still waiting…I know our time will come. But, looking through these pain glasses of mine, it seems like that day is so so so far away.

  20. I am a step mom to 2 kids whose mom left them when the youngest was 6 weeks old. And then came back. And then left. And then came back. And then left. She is mentally ill and totally unstable and brings so much chaos to their (ours, too) lives. And I get SO TRIGGERED when she plays the mom card. I get angry and sad and mad at the universe and hopeless and confused. I know I’d be a better mom. I will be a better mom. How did she get to have kids and I don’t? But arguing with her about custody and money and fighting for what’s best for the kids takes such a emotional, physical and financial toll…how do we pursue IVF in the midst of that? I feel incredible pressure to be super healthy when we try this next (our 3rd) time. And I feel hopeless that I’ll get to that point with her in our lives.
    I, too, am not their mom. When you’re left, you desperately want to be returned to. She gets so many 2nd and 3rd and 33rd chances. They LOVE her. I know that someday they be grateful that we were able to provide them with a really solid foundation to offset the shaky one they get from her, but that’s not enough for me. I, too, want to be someone’s mommy.
    Thank you for sharing. It’s incredible that so many of us are going through this yet we each feel all alone in the struggle.
    Best wishes for the mommy label very soon…

  21. So glad I have stumbled across this blog, this is exactly how I’m feeling at the moment. OH has a 11yr old daughter from a previous relationship who lives with us full time. He’s having a hard time understanding why us not having a child of our own is completely different for me compared to him. Coupled with the fact that he’s very very lax at putting the lifestyle changes into place to help us conceive ( my fertility is fine, my OH motility is at 2%) it is very fraught in our house at the moment 😞

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