Friday, November 12, 2010

Musings on the Stepmother Role

When I tell non-stepmoms about how I love my stepdaughter and what an important part of my life she is, their response is often suspicion and “your-stepdaughter-already-has-a-mother” hostility.

I’m frustrated when I encounter this black-and-white thinking. It seems to automatically equate loving our stepchildren with wanting to replace their mother—which of course couldn’t be further from the truth.

I know that the love a biological mother feels for a child is different from the love a stepmother feels for a stepchild—but that doesn’t mean that the love we feel isn’t also real and important. It doesn’t mean that our stepfamily relationships are without value and worth.

If we don’t want to replace the BM, then what do we want? I think we want society to have a better understanding of our role. We want recognition for the care and support we give to our family members whether or not we gave birth to them. We want the people around us to respect the validity our stepfamily relationships as much as our blood ones.

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