When do you know, too much is really too much? Exactly what do I mean? Well, October of last year our family received devastating news that our 13yr old step-daughter was pregnant. At that point we all went into, “What can we do?” mode and went from there…especially me! For one thing, I am the step-mother and now am a co-guardian along with my husband of almost 3yrs. I am one of those people that you’d want to take with you in a disaster! I’m most likely to take action than sit on my hands. I was consumed with the worrying of what the pregnant child was going to do, and how this baby was going to be able to mother this baby herself?
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During the discussion of how we could help in the case that she could not consider adoption, my husband told me that he knew his ex-wife was not the type to take on this task of helping raise this child. I am very close to my step-daughter (I don’t even like to use the”step” title), and she was confiding in me that she didn’t think she could handle adoption or lie with that decision. And although I listened to all her reasons, I knew that what she was basing them on was herself. I knew also that this was a child and what else could we expect in this situation, honestly?
Once we established that she was not going to put this baby up for adoption ( some have said we should not have given her an option), we had to start figuring out how to go forward. We decided that adoption ourselves may not be the right choice if she later planned on taking over and being his full time mother. And I also knew that a lot of her choices we being influenced by the father. A boy himself with a past of not good character. A boy she had become completely consumed by. It was a total mistake that she got pregnant on the first time having sex, it was more shocking in this day and age of sexual education that they did not use protection at all! Especially since she was not his first experience. She was naive in thinking love at 13 is forever, the boy was just worried about looking like the bad guy and felt stuck so he went along with the decisions in keeping the child. He has since gotten himself in trouble and was forced to move out of state.
Financially this has been a burden, on the whole family. I have had to quit my job to stay home to care for him, the other two children have been dragged through their sister’s mistakes. In a new marriage, that barely had enough time between heavy schedules is barely surviving on scraps of hope or the future. I feel like I had no choice in this situation, my husband informed me that he wanted to help raise the child and could not do it without me. What exactly was I suppose to say? No? How could I do that and not destroy our family that we combined and had built up together this far? In reality, I feel like I am the only one with any back-bone in this situation…and it’s not really my place some would say!
I deal with the ex-wife who did not take responsibility for creating the environment that the pregnancy took place in (her home), feeling like I am cleaning up her mess, and wanting all the control of the situation with no contribution just the reward. A husband that is not fully capable of standing up to his ex-wife, leaving me feeling like she’s my ex-wife!
Our household income has been cut in half, and we are starting to drown in debt. I try to stay focused on my acceptance that this is my life, but I sometimes wonder how did I get myself into this? I don’t want to sound selfish, but so far I am the only one who has had to make any sacrifices for this whole change. I had to give up my new career I had just started, my car, all when I was just starting to get comfortable in the idea that our children were heading toward high school. I had plans of going back to school, continuing my education in the medical field and my job working with a great doctor in the area.
Sometimes, I feel like my mother’s skills are a hindering part of my personality. I enjoy this little guy very much, he is now 9 months old and so adorable! I love him so much, and I juggle my life around caring for him and teaching my step-daughter how to be a mother. I won’t lie, at the end of some days I sit and think…I am tired, and what did I get myself into? I have lupus and fibromyalgia, and some days I can barely move. I feel worn out, overwhelmed, and stressed. I try to keep a smile on my face and move forward giving into this little boy all that he deserves while trying to preserve the bond between him and his young mother. I am exhausted! Partly to the illness that I live with, which would be there regardless! The relationship with my husband has been stressed as well, what happened to the “I can’t do this without you”? It feels more like, “I need you to do this for me”! Realizing that being a grandmother/mother at 36 isn’t as easy as it seemed in the grand plan we have put into action.
My marriage is starting to suffer due to lack of time, energy, and communication. Not to mention the stress of financial burdens. My husband works for one of the Big 3, this makes our lives stressful enough! If he loses his job, our family loses everything! And with only one sound income, it’s even more stressful! Because of this I have stopped therapy and medications due to cost, and don’t know how much longer I can function this way.