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I'm a Step-Mom, But Am I a "Real" Mom?

I'm a Step-Mom, But Am I a "Real" Mom?

I'm a Step-Mom, But Am I a "Real" Mom?

I am a step-mom. I don’t have any children of my own, yet. Although being a step-mom is not unique, maybe my step situation is.  I’ve been in my step-son’s life since he was three months old. I watched him get his first teeth, heard him say his first words, and cheered him when he took his first steps. I have gritted my teeth through his tantrums, gagged my way through his gag-worthy diapers and held tissues for his snotty nose.

But sometimes I wonder, am I really a mom? If you were to ask me this question my answer would be a resounding “yes!”  And though I consider myself a mom to my step-son, I am not really his mom. In addition to me he has a wonderful mommy who carried him in her belly and loves every last bit of him too.

So I wonder, what really makes you a mom? The obvious scientific answer is, if you give birth, you are a mom.  But science doesn’t account for each family's unique situation, so we are back to square one.

Even though I feel like I am a mom, I don’t always get the impression that other real moms see things the same way I do.  Maybe you can’t be a real mom without the pain of childbirth…..but what about epidurals?  Maybe you can’t be a real mom without nine months of pregnancy….but what about surrogates? Maybe you can’t be a real mom without the genetic bond…..but what about adoption? 

Even with all these questions, I feel like a mom. And even though I still feel like a mom, I absolutely recognize, respect, and encourage the bond my step-son has with his real mom. In that same vain, I have a deep amount of gratitude that his real mom has faith in me to care for her son when he is with us. As I write this I realize there is probably not a greater level of trust two women can have then to essentially, share a child. But I’m getting a little deep now….

So let me ask again, am I really a mom? I mentioned to a friend once that my husband bought me a Mother’s Day card and she asked me, “Why?” Why? Really? Did you not notice the little monkey jumping on my back and asking me for honey bunnies every 5 seconds?


I don’t think she meant anything by it, but scenarios like this one (and there are many) often make me feel like some moms don’t think you’re really a mom until you squeeze a crying baby out of your nether region.

The funny thing is, I don’t know if there is an answer. I feel so strongly now that yes, I am a mom, without a doubt, I’m a mom, for sure! But I haven’t yet had the experience of being pregnant, giving birth and looking into the eyes of a beautiful child who is mine and my husband’s together. There is no denying that all of those things are a really big deal; I mean, they are life changing events after all. So, as often as I wonder if I’m really a mom, I also wonder if how I feel now will change once I’m really a mom.

Only time can answer that question. But until then, I propose we collectively be more sensitive to what we think really makes someone a mom. Because you don’t always have to feel the pain of childbirth, be pregnant or be genetically related to a child for that to happen. Instead we should be positive and supportive of the women in our lives that are positive and supportive of the children in their lives and just leave it at that.

Image Source: Personal photo

The views expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily represent the views of, and should not be attributed to, POPSUGAR.

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