I’m someone who’s very maternal and loves children. When I was in high school I asked a friend how many kids she wanted. When she said she didn’t know if she wanted kids, I was dumbfounded. It was so different to my dreams. I told her I wanted 4 kids.
I ended up having 4 kids, but I also had 4 stepchildren: 2 stepchildren and 1 biological child from my first relationship, then 2 more stepchildren and 3 biological children from my 11-year marriage.
In fact, I was a stepmother at 22 before I had my first baby 5 years later.
I loved being a mum. Not that it was without challenges.
I had issues bonding with my stepson when his parents were going through custody issues, I had problems with breastfeeding my daughter because of my milk flow, I felt suffocated when my baby followed me everywhere when she learnt to crawl, I’ve had to deal with bullying at school and all sorts of teenage dramas.
But generally speaking, I’ve had it pretty easy.
I was able to breastfeed all my children, after a few hiccups. I co-slept with all my babies so I wasn’t terribly sleep deprived.
They all did/do reasonably well at school. People have told me I was a patient parent and complimented me on my parenting. My kids were all well-behaved and well-liked.
If I had a parenting problem, I just applied myself and got through it.
It wasn’t until my son, Harrison, was 18 months old that things began to unravel for me as a parent.
What is it like parenting a child with autism? Post continues below.
Harrison is my 3rd biological child or my 7th child in total, if you count my stepchildren.
But for all my parenting experience, I wasn’t familiar with little boys.
I’d met my first 2 stepsons when they were 4 and 7 respectively and my husband’s son had been 6 when we met. So I’d never dealt with a boy baby or boy toddler before.
After having 2 girls first, I remember it taking me ages to get used to the boy bits in my sons nappy. Staring me in the face every time I changed him, they seemed so foreign to me.