Bringing a 5th baby into my mixed family: an honest post, if you will

Monday, May 23, 2011

Steve and I have been married almost five years.  These five years carry with them some of the highest highs and lowest lows for me.  Learning how to navigate my new life... of being a parent of four, becoming a wife of a widower (not that this is his only title--widower, man, father, son, sex-machine, etc.), and moving into a ready-made family was difficult.  I still found myself to be inherently selfish, desirous of a normal life with just me and a husband, take out dinners, late nights, sleeping in, and movie dates without babysitters to plan for... but then comes the guilt.  Guilt is an ugly little creature who creeps around tapping you on the shoulder and reminding you that, despite your best intentions, you are flawed and imperfect.  Guilt because, in my situation, these four kids lost their mother.  They don't deserve anyone who feels anything less than over-the-moon for them.  Of course, this is unrealistic.  Eventually real life settles in.  The dirty socks and the arguing and the grime of everyday life.  They can't be parented with "guilt gloves" if you will.  They can't grow up with special treatment because they lost their mother.  But, guilt is guilt nevertheless.  Steve certainly has it.  And, despite what he tells you, it does color the way he parents.  Not a lot and not all the time.  But, I think, to a certain extent it has to.  They lived through a dark time together.  A short-lived battle with the horror of cancer was their life for a time--trips to doctor's appointments, wondering when Mom and Dad would come home and with what news, and all the while their innocent hearts not even grasping death or knowing what that meant for them... and then, at the end of the battle, those left standing: a single dad with four sets of pleading eyes looking to him wondering what life held next.  Maybe that wasn't the end of the battle but just the beginning.  

And here I am.  Entering their lives that were running without me and without a Mom entirely.  The kitchen wasn't the cleanest and showers might not have been happening as frequently as they are now (don't even ask me about the cavity situation), but it was running nevertheless.  Bellies were full come nighttime and water flowed from the faucets.  For me, a college life with only myself to care for, to a family of five, left me panicked at times.  Steve breathed a sigh of relief when I entered the picture ("Help at last, help at last, thank God Almighty, we have help at last!") while I was in over my head.  Like the last chapter in our love story says, I didn't know what I was getting myself into.  Would I change it?  No.  You saw that, right?  I wouldn't then and I wouldn't now (Steve always refers to a time when, at Baja Fresh over a Burrito Dos Manos, we shook on the fact that we'd never get divorced.  Thus, I am here to stay.  If a Burrito Dos Manos doesn't seal the deal, I'm not sure what does.).  But goodness gracious, we've had our tough times.  We've had some big fights and there've been some tears.  I remember our first night as a family for dinner.  It was a few days after Christmas.  The wedding week was a whirlwind--December 22, then the two of us headed into Boston for two nights, came home to a full house (my sister and brother in law, my parents, his parents, the kids).  It was fast and furious and gave me no time for introspection and quiet (something that I require in the easiest of circumstances but this?!  This was a huge change which, in retrospect would've been benefited by a year-long ashram in India.).  So when, a few days later, my parents drove away from our house (our house?  I felt like a child.  I had a home?  I had a husband?  Kids??  Wasn't my family my parents and sisters?  Wasn't my house in New Jersey where I grew up as a child?) to their house six and a half hours away, I had to quietly retreat to my new bedroom while the kids and Steve were eating.  And there, I laid on the bed and cried.  Steve and I still joke about it today sometimes.  Yes, we're far enough away from the whole thing that we can see the humor in it.  Him being totally psyched to be married after a life of a single Dad and here is his new wife, crying while the kids eat dinner.  Kind of funny?  Pathetic?  It's both and a whole lot more.  

Anyway, where was I going with all of this?  Bringing a 5th baby into this crazy life of ours.  Right.  It's something we both knew we would do (maybe we'll be so crazy to bring in a 6th) but it does carry with it questions and concerns.  Both of which I'm sure all soon-to-be parents have when they get that plus sign on the pee stick.  For one, he thought he was done after four.  That was a good number for him and his first wife.  I don't blame them.  Four is a lot, in fact.  Five is more and six?!  Let's not go there.  That doesn't mean he doesn't want a fifth but do I have to remind myself of that fact fairly often?  Yes.  Do I wonder if he'll love this baby to the moon and back?  Sure.  It doesn't make a whole lot of sense when I think about it rationally but, let's be honest, pregnant women don't go down in the record books for being the most rational of creatures now, do we?  There is a part of me that wishes that we were learning all of this new baby stuff together.  But he's done it--not once but four times--so shouldn't that carry with it its own benefits?  While I'll be quite sure our baby's crying is due to a mix of malaria from a rogue mosquito, he can assure me, "Crazy woman, babies cry.  It's what they do."  I know he has his own concerns.  We've talked about them.  He worries that my relationship with this baby will look different to the kids.  That they'll think I love this baby more.  That I will love this baby more.  

It'll be a delicate balance, I'm sure.  A newborn baby will require attention that a nine and eleven year old won't have a need for (not to mention a sixteen and eighteen year old).  Diaper changing and holding and cooing.  I don't want to lose my relationship with them in the chaos and love that a newborn baby brings.  I fear saying things like, "I've never felt this way before," about the emotions that overcome me when I stare into my newborn's face (and while I fear saying them, I fear not saying them.  I fear what it will look like for me to hide these feelings that will undoubtedly well up inside me).  Will they hear it and think, "She never felt this way for me?"  Will I have to hide the love I feel?  Will it be different?  The love I have for my kids now is special and it is unique.  I love them and worry about them and want to protect their hearts.  I want them to succeed in their lives and have good marriages and be good human beings.  I want them to share their fears and emotions with me.  I'm not always the best at showing them I love them.  In the chaos of things, too often my need to control overcomes the rest.  In my desire to raise them the way I was, with a model of "tough love," I can exhibit all the tough and so little of the love.  Will I raise my own child the same way or will I be softer and more gentle with his heart?  Will carrying this child in my womb for 9 months make everything different?  I don't know.  Probably some things.  But I do know that my desire is for it to bring us all closer.  Cause us to be gentler in a way only having newborn in the house can.  Force us to slow down.  To love one another and this new baby and solidify, in a way we've never been able to before, that we are a family.  It is not me and them.  It is us.  The seven of us.

And, those are just some of my feelings on bringing number five, a little boy, into this family of ours this summer.  I can't wait but I want to cherish this time too.  This time before six becomes seven.  

78 comments:

  1. What a genuine, refreshingly honest post. I imagine that could be a challenge, but even through your blog I can feel all the love you have for the family, if anything, I have a feeling this baby will be that shared connection that brings the 7 of you that much closer.

    Good luck and thanks for your honesty. It's been a rough couple of days and I appreciate the truth in your words, it's encouraging me to be more open and honest with things I'm thinking about.

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  2. i love this post. this is why i read blogs. xoxo

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  3. This is what I write about on my blog (nitty gritty, life, good and bad) and what I crave to read in others. Thank you for your honesty. I have just had a baby girl, our fourth child, and one of our children is my stepchild, and it's been complicated and amazing, horribly painful and the most fulfilling and happy thing in my life, always a contradiction.

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  4. BRAVO!!! Best post I have read in sooo long. Honesty is so refreshing! Your heart will do amaxing things...just you wait and see!

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  5. And please excuse my typos...multitasking has never been one of my strong qualities!

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  6. A beautiful, honest post. One that you will re-read time and time again, I'm sure.

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  7. This was a beautiful little peek into your mind, Bridge. And you know what? Everything will be ok. Better than ok, actually. It will be real and good and sometimes hard but always perfectly imperfect, as families should be.

    Thanks for sharing your thoughts with all of us...

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  8. When I was 18 and my brother was 13 my dad got remarried and they had my little sister when I was at the ripe age of 23 (with another one on the way six months after my own little one will be born). All this to say that life is complicated and imperfect, families are especially complicated and imperfect, but we keep trying anyway right?

    I did find that throughout the challenges I've faced with my stepmother (who is less than a decade older than me), having her own child did increase the understanding between us somehow. I hope this baby does nothing but bring you closer which each person in your family in some way!

    Also, since the day my little sister was born I've never once thought of her as my "half sister." She didn't ask to come into a complicated situation and in her sweet innocence our love for her as our sibling just intensified.

    Sorry this is such a long comment, but reading your post really makes consider some of the things my own stepmother may have felt at times. Thanks for sharing these extremely personal thoughts!

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  9. i'm really proud of you. i feel like since you've already created what seems to be a good balance--- you'll do a wonderful job with bringing a new baby to the fam.

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  10. I hardly ever read through an entire blog post, but I always do with yours. They are funny, honest, sincere. Thank you for always being so open.

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  11. I hardly ever read through an entire blog post, but I always do with yours. They are funny, honest, sincere. Thank you for always being so open.

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  12. That was so well said, thought out and beautifully open and honest...I really enjoyed reading it and getting a view from where you sit.

    I am sure that in the end bringing the 5th on board will be a wonderful thing and all of your worries and even concerns are very valid ones!

    That said, the thing that should give you the most comfort is that you are thinking these things through now, ahead of time, and talking about them, which is healthy for you and the baby when it arrives...so, I say good for you!!!

    Liesl :)

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  13. I can't thank you enough for writing this post. You honestly took the exact what I have been feeling/thinking lately and put it down in word form. Even though my situation is different from yours I have been feeling the same way (towards my current situation) for a long time now. This is beautifully written and so honest. Thank You.

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  14. dang lady. you are a great writer!

    i think it's interesting to see the real life when we all read about mostly the good in blogs. i don't think it's a flaw that we all do this, i think it's natural to want to find joy and beauty in this crazy world we all live in.

    anyhow... i'm rambling. i guess i never thought about what big shoes you were stepping into when you married a father of four. i'm sure you've managed it beautifully and your kids love you for it. as for this new babe, you'll find a way. i just know it. :)

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  15. Such a beautiful honest post. I'm sure you will feel differently towards your new baby as you've never raised the others from infancy. It won't mean you don't love your other kids as much its just a different experience.

    I think your honesty and insight into the situations shows how well you will cope with it all. I also think ALL your kids will feel loved and lucky to have such a great mum.

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  16. What a gorgeous, perfect post. This is why I love blogs - for well-written, real-life posts like this. Thank you for sharing your concerns with us. You are beautifully honest, but I know that you will be OK. I believe that you are only given what you can handle, and all will work out on it's own.

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  17. You've such a beautiful ability to write honestly yet with a sense of eloquence. I know that you love your children. They know that you love them, your husband knows that you love them. It will be different when you have your own. It cannot be helped. The best you can do is accept that there will be differences and make the best of it. I'm certain there will be sibling jealousy regardless. But you will love all of your children, and I'm sure they will all be certain of that.
    With that being said, I knew a woman who married a man who already had a daughter who was ten. She was kind to the daughter and sweet and sort of used her to build a better position in the family. Six years later, she had two daughters and was determined to get the eldest daughter out. Specifically telling her that once she moved out she wasn't welcome back. Stories like that just break my heart. After all, hadn't she endured enough hardship to end up an orphan in her own home? Just remember to treat all of your children with the same love that you do to your own.

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  18. oh goodness. so lovely and moving. thank you for opening up, letting us have a glimpse.

    carry on gorgeous lady, you're something else.

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  19. I LOVE that you are always so real. Thank you for sharing what is on your heart. You are truly inspiring to me :)

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  20. I had no clue NO CLUE that you are their stepmother. From the outside it looks like you've been taking care of these children as your own since the beginning. Motherhood obviously comes naturally to you. Wow. Just wow! You are such a fantastic mother with only 5 years of experience and I admire you in so many ways.

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  21. I love your honesty. I'm sure it wasn't easy to share all that. I'm positive it will all work out for ya, though. ;)

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  22. What a beautiful post. I know this sounds silly, but I worry about what having a second child will do to my relationship with my now one year old. It all seems so trivial compared to all the questions you have to ask yourself.

    You seem to be such an honest and aware person I can't help but assume this baby is just going to bring your family joy.

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  23. hello again sweet, transparent heart. your honesty is so beautiful bridget! from the outside, looking in through a (mostly) very surface level part of your life, i think you have defined motherhood so well. and, i think that you are going to continue too. of course there will be challenges (that first family dinner moment describes challenge so well) but challenges can be overcome. also...there is the One that has overcome the world already. for us. i'm pretty sure that you know He'll help and fight for you and your sweet family :) :) :)

    love hearing your heart. truly.

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  24. this solidifies that you should write professionally. love you and your truth.

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  25. what ahn said!

    thanks for the honesty!

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  26. You know what I think? I think that the little boy in your belly will become like a glue that will bring everyone together in beautiful harmony. I've never been in your situation but I can say this: I was DEATHLY afraid and had such similar feelings as you while carrying baby number two. I was so afraid that I'll either not love him enough or love him way more than Charlie. Such weird mix of emotions. Every mother assured me that your heart just grows and doubles when you meet the new baby, but I thought it impossible. Well, guess what? That's exactly what happened; I fell in love with Charlie even more and my heart doubled because of Davey. God will provide (emotionally, mentally) and make a way when you're afraid of your own thoughs and feelings. At the end of the day your four kids KNOW you love them, no matter what happened during the day because actions DO speak louder than words. And if they act like they're not seeing/feeling it now, they will later. Baby boy not only will bring all the kids together, but Steve as well. Especially Steve. A baby is God's promise that life goes on, and Steve will feel it most. Love ya! Thanks for sharing and being real with us.

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  27. Forgot to say that I love both children with the same intensity and just as much but in a DIFFERENT way. I immagine it will be something like that for you. You have a huge heart, Bridget, it will all be ok :-)

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  28. Thank you so much for the incredibly well-written and honest post. As you know I am a stepmom too and we do hope to have another baby someday. Our situation is different, but I have the exact same fears.
    The simple fact that you care so much about how your children will feel once the new baby is here means that you ARE their mom, you love them and you have the fears any mom would have when bringing another child into a family.

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  29. This is was a post from the heart! I really appreciate the honesty! :)

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  30. what jora said - "this is why i read blogs". the whole time i was reading, though, i kept thinking (about the 4 you already have), "they are so lucky bridget is their mom. what a fantastic mom." ....don't forget it, guuurl.

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  31. In reading your lovely, honest post, I wondered if the children read your blog. I'm sure with all they went through with their mom they are mature beyond their years. You are an awesome mom to them already. You will be an awesome mom to your baby boy.

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  32. I think about this same topic a lot. Just out of curiousity. I'm a nanny and I have a 2 year old. I love my 2 year old more than anything in the world. But I also have love for the kids I nanny. If anything ever happened to their parents, I would want all three of the kids I have nannied for. And I have no doubt that once they were living with me, I would love them just the same as I love my biological son. You will feel a different love for the baby just like you feel a different love for your husband than you do for your parents and than you do for your step kids. It will all work out and will be lovely.

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  33. Sounds like you have a good perspective on everything. I have 2 sons (biological) and one thing I can reassure you of is that every child you love differently, for different reasons. For instance, my 1st is my cuddler, a mommy's boy (he's 2.5 year old). My 2nd is my quiet one, he likes to be a loner (1.5 years old). One looks like me, the other like his Dad. Now were having a 3rd and I still wonder, how will my sons react to a new baby? Will I give enough attention/time for 3 kids? I guess what I'm saying is what you're thinking is normal for any mom.

    I had a lot of experience with kids (I was the oldest of 14 kids) and my husband had no experience (he was the youngest and just has an older sister). I would feel bad that I was the baby "expert" and was always telling him what to do. Now, we're both glad one of us knew what we were doing! I have many friends where both didn't know the 1st thing about babies and the early months were so difficult for them (anxiety, depression, fights, etc). You're going to do great! Just remember to keep your other kids involved as much as possible. I think they are going to adore a baby in the house and surprise you!

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  34. I believe that your kids (all 5 of them) will come to appreciate your honesty and your struggles, just like all your blog readers do. They'll love you for being real and for being an amazing mom- both of which mean having good days and bad, having some thing figured out, and having some things that you'll be figuring out forever. At least that's what I think. Keep at it!

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  35. Read. Every. Word. What blessed children to have such an honest, thoughtful, and REAL momma! Really, you are a truth-teller. Thank you for sharing!

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  36. I love this post, Bridget. Thanks for the honesty and the impeccable writing. xo

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  37. I can totally relate. My boyfriend has a twelve year old son, and while he has a mother, she is not in the picture much these days. I'm not pregnant, but at some point, will be and I have the same fears. And the selfishness in me asks why not be over the moon in love with my newborn...it's a tough place to be in, I'm sure. I'm just glad I'm not the only with these hard feelings. A ready-made family is the hardest thing to find your place in. Every day has challenges, and I have thoughts of running away at times. But there are moments in between that make me so fulfilled. I think you'll be great. You already seem to be such an amazing mother and I think the four really respect and admire you. I wish you the best =)

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  38. Bridget, this is so heartfelt and genuine and beautiful. Saying a prayer for your soon-to-be family of 7- for everyone to feel loved and valued... that goes for you too.

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  39. thank you for sharing this post. like everyone has said, it is so honest and vulnerable. i think the fact that you've already recognized your fears and hesitations will help immensely.

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  40. I agree with Jora. Exactly why I take the time each day to read and get to know other bloggers.

    I'm sure you know this, but I'll remind you... It is impossible to know how you will be, how they will be... But the good thing is- that you're AWARE... of the potential benefits, concerns, tendencies...

    For example, as of late, I've been too heavy on the 'tough love' and too light on the 'tender love'. I thought I'd be much softer as a mother (like my grandmother was with me). I have to remind myself, I'm a mother- not a grandmother, she didn't necessarily have to provide the tough love, in the way that my mother did!

    What I've learned from having a teenager is that so many parents just take the easy road... not really putting much thought into what they're doing, what they're letting their kids do. So, even though you don't really know, the best thing you can do in my opinion is to stay aware, and be open to changing your approach as necessary.

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  41. I cried reading this. Like a creep in my cube at work. But what you're saying is legitimate, it's real and they're things I think a lot of people in mixed families fear. Heck my sister and I aren't even full sisters (we're half), and I know when my mom married my dad, she was worried about how my sister would view this "new life." But you work through those fears. You learn everything together. And this baby will have nothing but love from all six of you. And things don't go as expected, and sometimes you fall flat on your face. And you cry for a few minutes, you get up and you continue forward. Because that's what you do for your family. No one will receive any more or less love than you can give. And if the older kids start feeling left out, remind them of that. You will always love them as much as your heart will allow.

    I'm sorry this was so long. I hope some of that made sense. You're amazing. End.

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  42. It's nice to read such honesty. It's SO nice to hear someone else say they have had their tough times in marriage. Love and marriage are about so much more than the happy picturesque times and it is refreshing to read an honest take on the challenges of life.

    I'm only an outside perspective, but you seem like a wonderful mother to the four kids you already have and no doubt you will be a wonderful mother to the fifth. I think you've the right attitude to make it all work. :) You are a great benefit to your family!

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  43. Amazing post. I'm a newer follower, and found it so refreshing to see someone talk about real life, not sugar coated! You are amazing! Can't wait to see/read more posts in the future!

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  44. i read this last night and it really moved me. you are an amazing writer. thank you for sharing.

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  45. Sounds like it is time for a Burrito Dos Manos with the kids. :)

    Love your honesty - and love your heart. You truly love your family and it shows...this baby will be a wonderful addition to an already amazing home!

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  46. That you're even worried is enough, Bridget.

    There will be times you love your own son more than Steve's kids. It will happen, you will worry, and you will forgive yourself because it's only human.

    But that's the wonderful thing about love. It's different for everybody. Maybe the slice of cake you give the baby will have more frosting and "seem better" but just as long as everybody is getting some cake, life is good.

    I was raised by my stepfather for 10+ years and he had a daughter with my mother and totally loved her differently. More? Not necessarily. But different, yes. Just like I loved him different than my dad, just like your stepchildren love their mother differently than they love you.

    It will be hard, but it will be wonderful. That is my wish for you dear friend.

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  47. This post really made me get into your mindset Bridget! It was great to read. You should do more of those 'introspective' posts!
    Gosh, with all those feelings going on, you're probably tired of feeling so much! I would be, at least.
    But one thing I know, a baby will bring only good things to come!

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  48. Oh Bridget, that made me cry! So sweet in its honesty. Even though my situation is nowhere near as complex as yours, I did and do still have fears about raising my two boys now that Nathan has arrived (he's 3 weeks old today!) and how that has changed and still changes the way I mother Sammy, and how different the way I'm mothering Nathan is compared to what I did with Sammy (in other words, I struggle with guilt that regardless of which son I'm giving my time to, one of them is getting the raw end of the deal). But in spite of the doubts and fears and occasional tears and self-imposed guilt it is SO wonderful to have this new little life in our family, and I do love him just as much as Sammy--and both of them more by the second, and Ben more by the second too, partly because of these precious boys we made. It's a mystery, but it's a gift from God and your new little boy will certainly bless you all, however he does change things. I can't WAIT till you have him and we all get to see pictures and hear the stories. You are an amazing Mama.

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  49. Bridget, my bestEST friend in the entire world married a divorced man with 3 kids. They had their 4th (my goddaughter) and are now expecting their 5th. Reading your blog reminds me of her and some of the things she has been through.

    She was worried about this too but said the most amazing moment for he was watching the other kids meet, hold and interact with the new baby!

    You will figure everything out, I'm sure!

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  50. What a beautiful post! Even though I haven't been in your shoes, I can understand all of your fears, concerns, and questions. And they are all so legitimate. Everything will get figured out in time. Thanks for sharing your thoughts with us!


    amy day to day

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  51. sigh. what a refreshingly honest post. your vulnerability is always so admirable bridget. thank you for sharing your heart. looking forward to hearing how family member #7 brings it all together.

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  52. oh, bridget, this is so honest and heartfelt. it is so wonderful to read such honesty that brings to light real questions and struggles. and obviously the love that makes it all alright. xo

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  53. This is a delicate situation, no doubt, but I know that when it is all said and done you will handle it gracefully and with an incredible amount of love. ALL of these kids [including the little guy in your belly] are so lucky to have a mom like you.

    Loved that you shared this with us! :)

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  54. Thank you so much for your honesty (and your beautiful writing). This made me cry because I am married to a man who already had two children and we are thinking about adding two of our own to the mix and I am so SO worried about how my boys (my stepsons) will feel. Your words touched my heart. My husband is not a widower, our stories are not the same, but you are not alone in your worries. My stepsons are much younger (6 and 8), and have fears of their own, but what is working for us so far is exactly what you gave us today - beautiful honesty, and love. I think you are a wonderful mother already and that carrying your first biological child will only deepen your bond to the four children you already love. I am sure you will feel things you haven't felt before - but I bet you have similar experiences each day / month / year with the four kids already in your family. Every day in a family is a lesson in love, right? Thanks for sharing with us, as always.

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  55. And also - I definitely relate to the "husband has been there and done that" with regards to pregnancy. I sometimes feel guilty for being upset that he has already done everything (marriage, honeymoon, pregnancies, kids), but he keeps reminding me that this is his first time doing them with me and that makes it special. I sometimes have to remind him not to tell me what to expect, only because I like discovering things with him, not being reminded that he's already discovered them. : P Guilt is a tough emotion that I struggle to vanquish daily. Give yourself a hug from me (even though you don't know me - isn't having blog stalkers weird?).

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  56. Hey Bridget-

    So I didn't read all 56 comments that came before mine. (Heck, I didn't read any of them!) So I'm risking saying what's already been said, but this was a beautiful post. So honest and full of hope and fear and love. Thanks for sharing your heart with your readers so openly. I pray God's great blessings on your family as you continue to journey through life together!

    Jen

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  57. what a sweet and honest post. i'm sure this baby will only add to the love in your home and you know what? you may not expect to, but i bet you'll love your older 4 even more once you see how tender they are with the little one. best of luck to you and your soon-to-be family of seven! :)

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  58. i can't wait to read your first few posts after having this baby :) you're going to be an amazing mom, because you already are.

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  59. Such a raw and honest post. Thanks for sharing xo

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  60. Thank you for sharing your heart so openly Bridget. So honest and good.

    I am excited to read the posts after he comes about how somehow everything falls into place.

    I relate in a way to the crying in your bed after coming home from a wedding whirlwind, but in a much lesser scale. After the honeymoon I I moved out of my apartment I lived at alone and moved all of my things into our new place. I asked Drew to give me a moment alone in my old apartment and just touched the walls and cried. Kind of mourning the end of that part of my life.

    Also, Drew and I both cried a bit together unexpectedly before we left for the hospital to give birth. Knowing that everything was about to change...and that yes it would be good, but never the same.

    You already are a great Mama. Thank God you decided to have a 5th, this baby is being born into a great family. :)

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  61. I also want to say thank you for sharing. I always think 'how much is too much' -but this is why your readers (and I) love your blog. Your honest and open. Life is not always roses and we have no handbook-we all have tough times and tears and worries and fears . We are strong when we recognise these. Love and light.

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  62. this is amazing.

    its all been said before in the many comments. but this is frickn' incredible.

    just read some aloud to my husband. he made his "hmm"-thinking-about-profound-things sound.

    yup.

    x

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  63. This is so beautiful. You are such a talented writer and this post is so real and so true in so many ways. Loved reading it and knowing how honest you are being with so many strangers, yet it makes your blog and posts and family that much better. You are an amazing mother and your first born is lucky to have you, his daddy and all of his siblings. I come from a family of 5 kids and we are mixed - from divorced parents and remarried and divorced again, etc. I love all of my brothers and sisters the same and they are all a part of me - blood related or not. :)

    Take care,
    Erin

    http://elkculture.tumblr.com/

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  64. I respect and admire you so, so, SO much for being honest and open. It's inspiring. Thank you, dear friend. <3

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  65. I loved this post. You are such a wonderful writer :) thanks for sharing your heart (and humor!)

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  66. i just started following you, and i have to say, i love your blog and i love this post. wishing you and your family love, health and happiness. thanks for sharing!

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  67. i read it all. i cried. i still have goosebumps. breaks my heart to hear your kids lost their mom to cancer, my boyfriend lost his mother. but how very blessed they are to have YOU in their lives. i am so excited for you and for yalls new addition :)

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  68. Isn't it cool to get back an outpouring of love and understanding after spilling your guts about things that ANYONE in your position would be thinking and feeling? I'm glad you had the balls to spill it. Makes me love, appreciate, and respect you even more. And I agree, the fact that you're asking the questions is enough. It shows a self-awareness that ALL of your kids are going to benefit from at some point or another. And it makes you super cool. So there.

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  69. I just stumbled upon your blog via Sarah's at Sunlight After Rain. And I kinda sorta haven't left...

    This post is SO lovely. My brother-in-law has 4 kids...not a widower but divorced and honestly, I see their stepmother as nothing short of a blessing.

    As are you I am sure.

    Best of luck with your current pregnancy! I'm late to the game I know.

    xo
    babymama
    avagracescloset

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  70. I have mixed feelings about your post. I am going thru a divorce and have five kids. My "soon-to-be ex" moved a girlfriend in with him four months after we left. Not only were the kids going thru a hard time having to leave their home and knowing their parents were getting a divorce, but then to add someone else into the mix was just not a good decision. It was a selfish decision and the kids feelings were not taken into consideration. Of course, my biggest fear is that no one else was going to love my children the way that I love them, protect them, cherish them and guide them. They are innocent and they didn't ask for this to happen to them. I hope that you would never treat them any different from your child and that they feel loved, protected and cherished. You had to have known the commitment you were taking on when you married their father. It wasn't about you the day you decided to become a part of their lives. They've been thru more than most kids could imagine. It's not about being tough, but giving them a secure, safe and loving enviroment just like their own mom would have done. Of course every child needs discipline and consistency. I hope you see what an honor and privilege you've been given and when you find yourself struggling and yes, I know it's tough, that you are reminded that they didn't ask for this.

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  71. I just came to your blog for the first time today. And, I got lost in your love story and then to continue on to the rest of the story. I was 19 when I met my 27 year old husband with two kids of his own. The mother was already long gone and I stepped into a similar situation. I mothered those boys as they were my own for six years before bringing my own child into the mix. I was scared, so scared. As soon as the baby came home I wanted to be back to normal life because I didn't want the boys to feel like I was only for the baby now; my husband wouldn't allow me to take the baby to opening day of baseball the day we came home (imagine that?)and I cried. I immediately felt he now had his life with his kids and I had mine life with my new baby. It has been four years and it is not that way at all. It have changed the way I mother. I was VERY STRICT on the boys...I didn't understand my husband. Having one of my own absolutely made me softer and the older she got the softer I got on the boys. I still tell her I love her more then anything else in the world because after all it is true. There is something different about creating a child but I make sure that I whisper it in her ear late at night when no one can hear me. I still love the boys with all that I have and more but there is a difference and there will be for you too. You will still be a loving mother to your other four children and they will know you love them and one day they will thank you for loving them. I know mine will!!!

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  72. So...I just realized I read this post AGAIN. And I love it just the same as the first time I commented.
    You are one amazing lady!

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  73. I'm so glad you included this 'link' in your year wrap up. I have only been following your blog for a few months so I missed this post. I ALWAYS wonder about this type of love~ the love for a biological child vs. stepchildren. I have 2 stepchildren since I was just married in June. I've known them though for years though since I dated their father FOREVER!(I met them when they were 3 and 7, they are 12 and 15) and now, we are hoping for a baby and I struggle with SO many of those same thoughts about how love 'feels' for a baby when I've never had one before. This post helps me feel that I'm not alone, that my wondering and questions are 'normal'. I pray that God blesses us with a healthy babe and I trust He'll work every detail of family out for us. :) Thank you for this post. All the best for 2012.

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  74. im a little late to this party (because i clicked through from a "you might also like" link), but this post is really good.

    way to make the rest of us bloggers look like tools- ha!

    but seriously, getting to freeze moments of anticipation and what we were feeling at big moments in our lives is why i blog. regardless of if the sentiment is later moot, i like getting to look back and see what i thought and how i felt. im sure now you have a lot of these feelings settled, but i'm glad you wrote it down while you did feel this way. it's a really, really good post.

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  75. I'm a new reader of your blog and I've quickly become mildly (although not really mildly) obsessed. I hope you'll write a book someday - several books, actually. I absolutely love the way you write. I feel your emotions through your words. It's truly a gift. I think you're an absolutely amazing person, as well as an amazing wife, stepmom and mom. I've read a lot of your blog already and you've inspired me to be a much better stepmom to my eight year old stepdaughter. Thank you for sharing your story. I'm cheering, crying, celebrating, laughing, loving right along with you. Blessings to you and your family.

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    Replies
    1. nikki, this was such a sweet comment to read - thank you so much for visiting and for leaving it. it meant a lot! best of luck in your own stepmom journey :)

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  76. I just stumbled across your blog and my heart is so touched by this post. I really appreciate your vulnerability and authenticity; it is so, so refreshing. Thank you for sharing- I'm looking forward to reading more!

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(also! if you have a question, check back as i usually answer it here!)

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