We recently shared the news with friends and family that we expecting a baby, expanding our family to five (six, if you count the dog). The addition of a biological baby to our family will make us a blended family, in the traditional sense of the phrase.
Amidst the general uncertainty that comes with one’s first pregnancy, I have found myself confronted with a question I didn’t quite know how to answer: “Is this your first child?”
Well, yes. But no.
You see, this is my first biological baby. And my first baby overall. But not my first child–at least not in my heart.
My stepkids ARE my kids
When people ask if I have kids, I respond yes. Because I do. Though I’ve only been their stepmom for two and a half years, they are my kids. Yoseph and Ana were 4 and 6 when I met them and they made it so easy to love them.
I have read many articles online written for first-time moms. Clearly the authors don’t envision elementary-age kids who are home 50% of the time when they sketch out scenarios and advice for first-time moms of newborns. Well-intentioned friends and family have encouraged, “You’ll make a great mom!” But in a lot of ways, I already am a mom. So I just smile and thank them.
Am I a new mom?
But the articles for a mom having her third child don’t really apply to me, either. I can definitely relate to the shift from man to man defense to zone defense (I think I got that football analogy right). When we have a chaotic morning of getting two sleepy kids to school and two stressed adults to work, I wonder how in the world we will do it with a helpless, needy baby on the scene. But most articles and advice about how to manage the addition of a third child assume one has gone through two cycles of newborns, two cycles of sleep training, two cycles of potty training. That definitely is not the case.
The kids are so excited about becoming a “Big Sister Again” and a “Big Brother Finally”. This is their baby as much as it is mine and Tim’s. Ana, age 9, asked if the baby would be her stepbrother or stepsister. Tim and I answered in unison that it would be her brother or sister–period. She nodded, satisfied with that answer.
So is this my first baby or third child? Or is it both?
I think it’s both. And we’ll figure the rest of it out.