I continue to be so amazed by the stories I’m told. Today I received an email that taught me more about the dynamics of step-children to a woman without children of her own who then miscarries. Inspired by this, the character Melinda, our wife of a man with two kids from a previous marriage, will be enduring some mean-spirited comments about children from the ex-wife at a volleyball game where they watch the girl play. I think it might go something like this:
“Look at that baby!” the ex-wife says, pointing across the stands at a high school girl bouncing a toddler on her thigh. “Born to a teenager. Some people just don’t know when they aren’t supposed to be mothers. It might have been better for everyone if she had lost it.”
Melinda grips the edge of the wood stands, biting her lip to avoid crying or screaming, or both. “What a spike!” she says instead, nodding her head toward her step-daughter out on the court. “They really ought to move her up to varsity.”
The scene might continue, but the point comes a little later:
At home, her knee pads discarded in the foyer, the step-daughter says to Melinda, “Mom said she saw my friend Patrice with her baby in the stands. She thinks babies should only come when they are wanted and planned for, and to people who deserve them.”
Melinda snaps at her, hurt that the step-daughter would say that to her, only a few weeks after her miscarriage. “I don’t think any of us know anything about why or when babies come or why they are lost,” she says. “You should watch your mouth or you’ll end up mean and angry like your mother.”
She immediately regrets her words when the girl falls on the sofa, crying. “Mom is happy you lost the baby,” she says, her voice muffled by the cushions. “I don’t know why she’s being so mean. But she forgets I also lost my baby sister.”
Melinda’s knees buckle and she folds up on the floor by the sofa. She wants to take her step-daughter’s hand, but they haven’t ever had that sort of closeness, so she simply clasps them together in her own lap. “I’m sorry,” she says. “I didn’t know you were sad about the baby. Sometimes it feels like I’m the only one who ever thinks about her.”
These sorts of scenes just sort of come to me. I’ll start piecing them together soon. All your comments and stories help so much. I can’t even tell you.
4 thoughts on “Scenes and Beginnings”
Deanna I’m so glad your doing a step-mom story as well. I’m a step-mom to a wonderful 7 yr. old little girl whom I love dearly. But when I suffered my miscarriages I was so bitter. I was bitter that she was born out of wedlock and that she had my husbands feet, eyes, and attitude. I hated the fact that some woman whom my husband use to date could give him a child and I couldn’t. There were many w-ends after my miscarriage that I wouldn’t come out of our room while she was over. It hurt too look into her eyes and think and wonder if our child would look so much like Daddy like she did. I felt inferior to her mother since we had already been trying for 3 years and I kept failing. I would have people say to me well at least ya’ll have Zoe. That cut me too the bone. That made it worse for me at the time. I had someone elses’ child and could not even have my own. So thank you for thinking of us too!
I also hope you touch on the subject of how a lot of women go thru a deep hatered period. I hated everything. Especially myself. I hated my body…it could not do the one thing it was suppose to be able to do and that was keep another human being safe. I was angry at God. I pretty much abdanoned what little faith and religion I was still carrying around. And it never failed for months all I saw was pregnant women or new babies. Then as I was suffering my 2nd m/c my best friend informed me that she was 5 months pregnant and she just found out. I hated her. It drove such a wedge b/w us. I love her and her baby but the day she was born and I held her in the hospital it killed me. It killed me to act happy when I was angry and pissed that this girl who just had a one night stand fell pregnant. That this girl who didn’t want this baby when she first found out she was pregnant was getting to experience birth. This girl that drank, exercised constantly and took diet pills the first 5 months was laying in bed holding a new little perfect life and I couldn’t have one and I sacrificed so much everyday. I left her room crying so hard that I couldn’t barely see to get on the elevator. I remember going to the baby shower on the due date of my first angel and it was the hardest thing I’ve ever done. And I remember sitting there thinking that this should be me and how unfair all of it was and how no one understood. I told her I was not comfortable going and she was furious with me. She didn’t understand that it was my babies due date and that it was not even a month after my d&c for my 2nd baby that I was having to see all those little baby gift was driving a knife deep into my soul.
Sorry this is so long. Sometimes reading your post bring back so much and the tears flow. And I just have to let it all out. Thank you Deanna!
I’m not a stepmom, but I have “steps” in my family, and I can just imagine the scenes you’ve described. I’m sure this happens much more often than not since there are so many stepfamilies today, and I’ve watched in my own family that it’s a difficult process to blend two families. I think you’re doing great!
Deanna, when I read your words I feel kind of amazed. I am amazed that the feelings we feel when we lose a baby inside of us are so very similar. No one in my family, including my dear, dear husband seems to be hurting like I am. It has now been almost nine weeks since I lost my little one at 11 weeks. Sometimes it feels like just yesterday. I have a 12 year old boy. I wonder if he feels like the stepdaughter you talked about. Sometimes I am so very focused on how horribly sad I am feeling that I forget that there are other people in my life who couldn’t wait to hold this baby, just like me. Your writing is from the heart, and I am happy to read it.
When my husband and I are were trying for our second child, we gained custody of our 3 weeks old grandson whos mother, my stepdaughter, was only 14. I remember my other stepdaughter, her sister, had told her the only reason we wanted custody of her baby was that we couldn’t have our own and if we did, it would have medical problems. Our son is 6 and has spina bifida. Well our grandosn is 7 months old now and I am 6 months pregnant with a healthy child. Sometimes steps do not think before they talk, and it really hurts.
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