Adding a new member to the blended family

musings on a new baby

Our eight month old daughter was dedicated yesterday at the church where I have been a member for the past 4 years. It got me thinking about the many changes that have happened since she was born.

Before she was born my relationship with my two older children was contentious, at best. They were both unhappy about the impending arrival of their “half sister” who wasn’t a “real sister.” Clearly the parents they lived with were influencing them. I remember my ex’s attitude towards the step-sister who entered his life when he was an adult. I can imagine the bitterness and negativity he spread about my pregnancy. My children were openly defiant about every request I made. They broke things in our apartment. They fought with each other. They picked on their younger brother. They would not hug me, tell me they loved me, or say goodbye when I dropped them off with their dad. It was truly heartbreaking. I dreaded every weekend visit. I did not know how to fix the situation.

But then baby A was born. Her younger brother was there for her homebirth and he adored her. My bonus daughter who lives out of state came for her summer visit and immediately fell in love with her. My two older children, who barely talked to me, met baby A by chance at a softball field. They seemed interested in her, but hesitant. It was as if their new sister was some forbidden thing that they weren’t supposed to like — much like how they behaved towards me.

They came for their first weekend visit a couple of weeks later. They behaved more appropriately. It took time, but they became comfortable around our baby. Eventually they asked to hold her. They fell in love with her too. They stopped calling her “half sister” and now call her “baby sister.” They are all enjoying watching her grow. They have all reconnected with me as well.

It may seem odd to credit a baby with repairing a fractured relationship between a mother and her children …  but that is what happened in our family. Baby A became, and continues to be, a unifying presence. She has blessed us in so many ways.

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