Thursday, April 30, 2009

Bonding

When I got married I had two little boys instantly, one of 5 and one of 18 months. It was SO hard. I had no idea what it was to be a mom, I didn’t really feel a deep love for these two little boys, I did love them, but it was more an obligation, and a responsibility.
In those first two years I was a monster – yes, I will admit it. But every time that horrible monster would rear it’s ugly head in rage with shouting, screaming and yes, sometimes getting physical with them – the real me would be hiding somewhere deep down inside me, terrified. I was always so ashamed and shocked at my behavior and I would pray and ask God to help me control my temper and to treat these little ones with gentleness – but the monster would win the battle time and time again. I felt like a stranger in my own skin. And worst of all I felt like a complete failure…
Nobody knew how I was struggling because I was way too proud to ever admit I was making a complete mess of things.
We did have our good days where things went well and we happy and I did, and still do, love the boys – I just didn’t know how to be a Mommy to them
As things progress in a marriage, my husband and I decided to have a baby together. I changed, I was a different person. I wasn’t my old self yet – but I was feeling better and as my pregnancy progressed so did my “mommy instincts”.
When Donny was born I was instantly in love with him. My beautiful little bundle of joy. He was my pride and joy and the bond between us was strong and instantaneous.
And I suddenly had the revelation that the difference between being a biological mommy and a step mommy was that with your own baby the mother to child bond is there right from the start, but with step children that mother to child bond is non existent at first. It takes time, effort, love and many MANY hours of prayer. It is something that has to be created and sustained. It is something very very fragile and can be destroyed in an instant, then the building process has to start again.
I felt like Archimedes after he discovered the principal of density and ran around the town naked yelling EUREKA!! (I found it!!). I had fond the answer to a question that had been burning in my heart and was a way to finally start to build on a long, meaningful and loving relationship with these two boys. Unfortunately I had done so much damage in my first two years of step mothering that I really had my work cut out for me.
I am still working daily on the bond and I will admit that with my younger step son it has become strong over the years, but with my oldest step son it is still very fragile. One thing I do know now, is that I love them deeply and I would do anything for them. And the monster stereotypical step mom is looooong gone – I killed that monster the day I said Eureka.

2 comments:

angel said...

What a wonderful post... I reckon your insight is going to be invaluable to many women in this day and age of blended families.

Brigitte said...

Angel: Thanks my sis, and thanks for the advice...