By: Sheana Ochoa
After getting married I knew my status as a blogger for The Next Family would have to change from “single mother by choice” to “urban dweller”, which, I told my editor, didn’t sound as sexy. I wondered how an urban dweller is representative of a modern family, the audience to which The Next Family caters? Haven’t there been urban-dwelling families for centuries? Sure, the fact that I had my two-year-old on my own by anonymous donor and then married the man who would become his father makes this urban-dwelling family different. So different that I have new worries I hadn’t considered before:
-Since Noah won’t be asking why he doesn’t have a father, he will assume my husband is his bio father. When and how do we tell him he is not?
-If we have another child, how will Noah feel that s/he is Daddy’s biological child and Noah is not -that Noah is different?
-How will Daddy’s feelings about his biological son or daughter be different from those he has for Noah?
There’s no doubt that having a father around is a good thing. But although I knew Noah might encounter feeling different among his peers at school, I didn’t anticipate he might feel different in his own home with his own father.
Among the SMC community, we mothers have predecessors to help us answer certain questions, with “Why don’t I have a daddy?” being the primary one. When the day came, I knew I would tell Noah: “There are lots of different families. Some kids are raised by their grandparents, others just their moms or two moms or two dads. You have one mom and everyone else that loves you from your aunt to Grandma.” And depending on his age when he asks, I might be able to add: “I wanted you so much that I had to actually plan to bring you into this world. I had to save money and have long serious talks with Grandma and wait a year until I felt healthy enough and I had to make a lot of doctor’s visits even before I got pregnant. It was the biggest decision of my life. Do you know why? Because I knew that I would love you so much that I couldn’t stand living without you. And now here you are because Mommy wanted you so badly.”
I am grateful that Noah is young enough to not be aware that my husband isn’t his “real” father. Experts say that kids learn their most important social/emotional coping skills by seven years old. So, if Noah gets to seven feeling secure and confident, I think he’ll be able to deal with “the truth.” For instance, if he sees our wedding photos and notices he is the ring bearer, he’s too young to ask why we were married after his birth. But I’m sure there will be many other “clues” along the way that will prompt him to ask questions and I want to be prepared to answer them.
Presently, I’m not.
When I decided to have a baby on my own, I didn’t have to think about this turn of events. I never thought Plan B would be “marriage.”