One to One Coaching

I offer free 30 minute telephone/Skype consultations for people wanting to find out more about coaching on the 'baby decision'. Email me at mailto:beth@ticktockcoaching.co.uk and assistant Laura will respond and arrange an appointment with you. Visit http://www.ticktockcoaching.co.uk/ for more information about my coaching services.

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Being a step-parent - without having kids of your own

I recently received an email from someone wanting to know if I could refer her to any articles for step-parents who wanted children of their own but found themselves in relationships with people who already had children and who didn't want any more kids.

I realised that this is an important topic that I haven't covered very much on the blog.  It is something that I have seen as a coach.  I have had a number of clients who have been in a relationship with someone who has their own children and they have found themselves in the step-parent role and part of a 'blended family'  Yet, this can be fraught if you also want children of your own.

Common issues experienced people in this situation include:

- Feeling 'left out' or a 'spare wheel' at family gatherings .
- Linked to the above, having a question about  'what's my role?' in this family (a client explained to me once that if she had a child with her partner she felt her role in the blended family would be more solid)
- Resenting your partner for having a relationship with his children that you wonder if you will ever have with your own.
- Having to take on a parenting role with step-children without being able to have a child of your own.
- Not feeling valued as a step-parent or the role

In a recent article on Huffington Post Help for the Childless Stepmom , author Mary Kelly says

Feeling like an outsider in one’s stepfamily system is to be expected. You feel like an outsider because in a very biological sense, you are.  It is a humbling position stepmothers and especially childless stepmothers find themselves in. It’s hard to not take it personally when stepmothers show real and genuine care for their stepchildren only to have those feelings rejected or pushed away.

So what do you do if you find yourself in a relationship where you are a step parent and you do want children?

To start with, I always encourage clients to do one last push to see if their partner will reconsider having a child with you.  Sometimes, when clients are clear, confident and centered, partners can change their minds.   Particularly if clients can 'speak from the heart' and express from a deep place why children are important to you.  I've worked with clients to help them do this and sometimes, it has worked.

If you have done this or your partner is very firm about not wanting children (and you don't want to leave the relationship), I suggest exploring how you can own and be confident about your role as a step-parent.  I've worked with clients who felt un-confident about their role and yet, the feedback they received from their step-children was very positive.  Sometimes, if you are able to own your importance as a step-parent and give it more value, it can make you feel more positive about your role as step mom.  Unlike the author of the above article, I do believe that you can have an important and positive role in your step-family as a step-mother.  You need to keep talking to your partner and need to keep looking at how you can move from being an outsider to an integral part of the family system - regardless of whether you have children or not.


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