A lot of stories abound about step parenting, especially concerning step mothers. It is a life that could be sweet one minute, and the next, you and the step kids could be sworn enemies. All that pales into oblivion if you are trying to conceive, and your spouse already knows the joys of parenting from the scratch.
That was the case with Tundun*, who knew that her husband (then fiance) had a child before they got married; the baby was just three years old then. His mother had been an old flame whose relationship with her fiance has fizzled out after a short while. A few years later, Tundun happened on the scene and was fine with the situation. At the time, she hardly spent time with the boy, as his mother was not comfortable with that arrangement.
Fast forward to when they got married, the same woman who had not wanted her son near Tundun practically, dumped the boy in their house. So, she had a ready-made family by the time she got married. Although, she would have loved some time alone with her husband in the early days of their marriage, she soon accepted it and fell in love with the boy as her own. But he never called her mommy; “Aunty” was her title.
All was well in their kingdom, until after the years started rolling by, and she hadn’t yet gotten pregnant. Aunt Flo came right on time, like clockwork. She did her best not be irritated at the onset of PMS or the follow-up flow (and we all know how that is…emm…almost impossible). But after a couple of years, she was out of her mind with worry.
On the other hand, her husband did not seem worried at all. In fact, he did not realise that there was anything lacking. This is not an attempt to tag him a bad guy, but he just did not feel the urgency that his wife felt or the anguish every time she told him her period had arrived.
This anguish was aggravated every time they would go out…to their place of worship and other fun places…and her step son would be quick to answer “She is not my mother” anytime he was asked about her. Any further disagreement would lead to him “She is NOT my mommy!!”At the age of six, he was well aware of who his mommy was.
It would not really have mattered if Tundun had her own child, at least, there would be someone to call her Mommy, and not Aunty. She would have done anything to see just one elfish face look up at her with happiness in her eyes, (yes, she wanted a girl) and say, “Yes, she is my mommy” instead of the angry retorts had now become accustomed to.
She did not set out to marry a man who was already a father, but she fell in love with one. She also did not know that she would ever struggle with getting pregnant but that is the reality of her life. She is longing to be a mother, while her husband is already a daddy.
When Tundun eventually told her husband about her concerns, he was shocked. He could not wrap his head around the fact that his wife didn’t think they are on the same level, concerning their infertility…or rather…her childlessness, which is what it truly is. In her mind, her husband already had proof of his own virility and fertility.
Such is the pain that Tundun carries about…that worry that she must be the problem…the reason why they are not getting pregnant. To her, this has been the major test of her life, and she is failing. And the presence of this child…her husband’s flesh and blood…who has not the smallest bit of affection for her…has only made a bad situation even worse!
Her continuous suggestions about sending the boy back to his Mother, to allow them be alone for a little while, and especially to get both on the same page concerning their trying to conceive journey, keep drawing blanks. Her husband continues to hesitate, as he wants his son close. He has now grown accustomed to having someone calling him daddy all the time, and would miss him if he has to go.
In the meantime, Tundun is working on not getting resentful of her husband and his son…the bond between them, which just does not exist between her and his son, or anyone else for that matter. She has nieces and nephews, but that is exactly what they are, nieces and nephews…not her children.To her, there is a whole world of difference.
The feelings that Tundun is working through are understandable. Her husband has no apparent urgency for a child…not the same way she feels the fire, and that is easily recognizable. It feels like the ball is in her court, she has to be the one to get pregnant, as he has already proven himself.
He might not have said it or acted it, but Tundun has read meaning into his actions and words…a whole lot more than was intended, and a whole lot more than she should even! The excuse? She is hurting…she needs to know she is not the only one on this journey. She needs to know that she is not the only one who wants a child between them. She needs to feel the support of her husband, which she is not feeling right now. With her husband not seeing the need to seek medical attention for their situation, her feeling of limbo is even amplified! They are still trying to conceive naturally, and her prayer is that she conceives soon, to end the trauma she is currently going through.
Already being a step mother is a big enough challenge for her, as the boy has asked her once, if she was the reason his mummy and daddy don’t live together…a question asked innocently, but still hurtful nonetheless. Even with the possibility of the boy being primed to ask that question by his Mother, it still broke her heart into a million little pieces.
Regardless of her feelings and pain, Tundun has decided that, for peace in her marriage, she will wait until her husband has made his decision regarding the continued stay of his son, and, more importantly, whether he would go agree to start the medical investigation, and subsequent treatment of their infertility.
Whatever is the outcome, she has promised herself not to lose her sanity and marriage in the process. But the yearning for a daughter to call her mommy is not so easily put on the back burner. She just wants to be called “mommy”.
And that is not too much to ask. Is it?