My early days as a future stepmom were spent in a classic holding pattern: desperately waiting for my boyfriend’s divorce to be finalized so that we could move on with our life together.
Whenever emotions were high, I had a hard time deciphering what the true cause was. I placed blame instead of practicing introspection. I criticized instead of empathizing. As time progressed, the divorce was finalized, and we got married, I was able to label the looming feelings I still had: second wife insecurities.
My Biggest Second Wife Insecurity
Much like my early emotions in the relationship, the cause was hard to pinpoint. Being a stepmom, a caregiver for the kids, seemed to come naturally to me, but something about being a “second wife” felt off. It felt heavy. Despite knowing how bad of a match he and his ex-wife were, there was still some sort of resentment built up inside of me.
In fact, it’s still there… and now, I can label it. It’s not that she was a better wife than me, or prettier than me, or smarter than me… it’s something much bigger than that…
He wanted to have kids with her, but does not with me.
Of course he wanted to have kids with her! It was the first marriage for each of them. Oh, what bliss! They had it all: the showers, the big wedding, the new house… there was joy and excitement with each pregnancy announcement. It was a blessing that their family was growing!
Sure, maybe they didn’t plan each pregnancy, but after all, building a family is often the goal in marriage. Even if the timing wasn’t right, I’m certain that the births were some of the most memorable and amazing days of their lives.
To top it all off, he was so certain his family was complete that he had a vasectomy. What a great feeling, to be in your mid-20’s and so happy with life that you know you’ve reached all of your familial goals.
The first thing that people say to me when they find out my husband had a vasectomy during his first marriage is, “Oh, that’s no big deal! He can get that reversed!”
Not only are vasectomy reversals painful and dangerous with less-than-promising success rates, but he doesn’t want it reversed. This was never a secret. He told me this during our first month of dating. So why does it still bother me?
If he didn’t want kids and didn’t already have kids, it wouldn’t bother me as much. I could be at peace with someone not wanting kids. After all, I’m still trying to figure out how to decide if I really want kids.
It’s not the vasectomy but rather, my insecurities as a second wife that have me in a chokehold. He wanted kids with her, but not with me.
Does he think I would be a bad mother? Does he think I treat his children poorly? Does he think another child would be too much for me to handle? Does he think my temper is too short for an infant? What is it? What?!
The Power of Perspective
You don’t really know a relationship unless you are one of the two people directly involved. Maybe their marriage wasn’t so blissful after all. Perhaps there was big drama leading up to the wedding. It’s possible the unplanned pregnancies led to more stress and arguing.
Maybe he thought that his family with her was complete, or maybe he knew they would eventually part ways. Regardless of her, maybe he felt like two kids was enough for him.
What if his decision to have a vasectomy had nothing to do with her, and everything to do with himself?
At the end of the day, I can either allow my morale to be destroyed in this emotional black hole, or I can trust my husband’s words at face value. Isn’t that the case in so many instances of stepfamily life?
What My Husband Thinks
My husband assures me that he doesn’t want any more kids because he feels like his family is complete with me as his wife. He sees me as a parent to the kids, and he thinks that four is the perfect family size. He is practical, and points out that our home is the perfect size for our current, completed family.
He doesn’t understand how I feel as a woman. He doesn’t comprehend that being told I cannot have biological children suddenly spirals me out, craving that “maternal bond” I hear so many of my friends and relatives talk about. He doesn’t feel my panic as I worry about our marriage dissolving after my biological clock has stopped ticking, or my fear of growing old alone.
He is a man. He is practical and logical. He is a really, really good man. And thankfully, his brain doesn’t do all of the same crazy, emotional things that mine does. So despite this fear being my biggest insecurity as a second wife, I choose to trust his words at face value.
Insecurities will always be there, and they are loud. As with all less-than-ideal facets of life, we have to face our insecurities, and then learn to live with them. For me, it is empowering to be able to pinpoint my biggest insecurity as a second wife, then make a conscious effort to not let it hold me back.
Today, I challenge you to reflect on what your biggest insecurity as a second wife is, then develop a plan of action to overcome it. Download this reflection guide to assist you. The power to your happiness is within reach!
P.S. Are your insecurities as a stepmom holding you back? You are not alone.