To the Woman Who Has Raised Another Woman’s Child.

the other mothers

It is an unenviable positions to raise another’s child. You are not blood, you will never be first, even though you might do most, if not all, of the hard work.

It takes someone very special to get it right.

Those that can step up to that challenge seem to understand that it is not a competition and the goal is for the child to grow up healthy and happy. They understand they may not be loved as a mother but they will be loved as the woman who raised them. We get caught up in the title. Does it even matter? Isn’t the important thing the love itself? When we focus on the title it is clear that what we are wanting out of the experience is praise and we are making it all about us and not the child.

Those who have alienated the child from their mother, who have taught the child to hate by feeding them lies and orchestrating drama and keeping the child from seeing their mother, are perhaps the most disgusting human beings. I say that because as women, we know the bonds of mother child and to purposefully interfere with those is not much different from what a paedophile does. You have taken a child’s innocence. You have poured your darkness into their light. You have used that child for your own personal gratification without any regard for the damage you have caused. You have done it to a child that was not your own.

I can only imagine the pain and suffering for women today who will not hear a single thing from their stolen child, except a message of hate. Those mothers will be silent, and take the abuse, and hold on to their hope that maybe one day their child will know the truth. They will do that because they are not usually the women who will put the child in the middle of the battle and make things worse. They do that because they ARE that child’s mother and THAT is what mother’s do. They sacrifice.

These women are so lacking in self esteem they cannot form a relationship with a mere child based on their own experience. Their relationship is forged by destroying another human being, because even a smidge of emotion left in that child for their mother is a threat to their insecurity.

Facebook will be full today of “shove it in your face” salutations from manipulated children gushing over the women who have destroyed their natural feelings for their own mothers. And somewhere a woman will weep while another woman and a stolen child high five one another with “wait until she sees THAT one.” That woman will not see the pain behind the child’s eyes as she says and does what she has to keep that woman happy. Those posts will then be commented on by all the people who support that woman in destroying the child. They will type in their words of encouragement and testaments to what a great mother that woman is compared to the biological mother. There will be more high fives and laughter as a mother weeps.

That is what we have become as people.

I worry about what these children will grow up like. I worry about being raised on a steady diet of hate and a campaign of unkindness. We talk about bullying, and yet there are parents instructing their kids on step by step methods. I worry about their ability to see people as human beings, and situations as having many shades, of not understanding no-one is perfect and it is never as simple as this person is all bad/wrong and this person is all good/right. I worry about the lies they have built their lives on, believing themselves to be better, and that in doing so, they have the right to then go out of their way to be cruel to someone else who is trying to say, “I love you.” I worry about them not understanding love, not understanding the kind of love that makes sacrifices.

I worry what kind of parents these kids will be. The circle will intensify. When these children are adults and dealing with broken homes and raising other children, will they resort to more violent methods? Will they be any more capable of doing the right thing?

And I worry that we all sit here, not aware, not seeing what is happening. I worry that even if we do we calm our discomfort with the mantra, “There is nothing I can do about it.”

Children are not weapons. They need to know that they are loved by all the people involved in their lives. They need to be protected from any of the grown-up legal matters that need to be sorted, and allowed to be children who are taught to love and to believe in a world that is full of possibilities. Our children need to learn skills of working with people, all people, and to negotiate social situations and relationships in ways that do not leave people broken and destroyed. They do not need to be schooled in ways to bully, to hurt, to hate.

And parents who do that, and all the people around those parents who support their efforts, are engaging in child abuse that I believe they should have to answer for.

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4 thoughts on “To the Woman Who Has Raised Another Woman’s Child.

  1. Shameful to think that all women raising someone else’s child would be this selfish. Imagine the pain that occurs for those of us who choose to sacrifice and do “what is right,” when the biological mother is the one who is selfish, and who chooses drugs/men/freedom over her own child. But you will never here us say that to the child….because in his eyes…this selfish human being is his “mother.” Yes, he calls her mother…mom…mommy…a word that will never be spoken about us…those with silent tears behind our sad eyes because we will do anything to make sure the child does not feel the pain of abandonment…will never know that his mother chose her own addictions over his love for her. We give our hearts and souls to these children, our children, and suffer the pain of the emptiness. How hard it is to stand back during a visit, as “mom” takes credit for the good grades, the prom picture, the person he has become. The lump in our throats as she dares to stand during his high school graduation and be honored as, “the parents who have helped these young men and women become the graduates they are today.” I hate her. But, her child will never know this… because a true mother; the mother who I know that I am after 15 years of raising her child…I am his mother…the mother who knows his joy/sadness/pain/celebrations; the mother who remembers every sleepless night waiting for his fever to break; the mother who smiled bravely, yet was dying on the inside, as he entered 1st grade, middle school, high school, and now college; the mother who drove him to every practice before school and picked him up on time everyday; the mother who made sure he was on the team bus at 5:00 am on Saturday mornings, and who sat through every single race cheering him and his teammates on–whether it was 100 degrees, or 30 degrees and pouring rain…I was there. I was always there, and I will always be there for him. I dread the day that he will slowly fade from my life, as I am certain will happen. It will become more difficult for him to manage the 3 families he has become accustomed to balancing in his life. His own family and friends will edge out one of the extra holidays because there just won’t be enough time for everyone. I wonder where will I be when he gets married and when his first child is born. My heart breaks because I may not be the one he chooses to have next to him. But I will not make him choose -I never made him choose. How does one ask a child…a man…to choose between the one who gave birth to him, and who with every inch of his soul, wishes could have been a part of his growing up, and “me…” the one who made sure he was always happy, and never made to feel guilty over a last minute weekend visit… the one who made sure that he never knew the turmoil, hostility and evilness that existed behind the scenes. A battle between a biological mother and a biological father who could not speak to each other for the animosity that existed between them; who were divorced before this precious child was even born. The so-called “parents,” who are both too blind to see beyond their own selfishness, and put their child first. Their ignorance so great, that they would rather focus on the next way to screw each other, than on what is best for their child….but I thank God silently, that I am the one who came into this child’s life; I am the one who has seen to his best interest…day in and day out for the last 14 years; I am the one who, on my own and with no support, took this child into my life and raised his as my own. I am the one who made sure this child never wanted for anything, was always able to take that trip, or have the latest “whatever” that was on the latest commercial. I am the one who made sure that each of his grandparents, aunts, uncles and cousins were recognized with gifts and cards on holidays and birthdays. I am the one one wrote down their missing names, and tucked in their absent checks, on every school fundraiser, so that he knew he had his family’s support. I am the one who buried her anger every time the phone rang, and it was “mom,” on the line. I am the one who made every Friday and Sunday drive to meet at the weekend “drop-off” location…no matter how many miles, or how long we waited. I am the one who ordered and sent his school pictures in his hand-picked frames, so that his “family” could see him growing up, and pretend to their friends that they actually had something to do with who the little boy inside the picture frame was becoming. I am the one who hid her resentment and anger behind a big smile at every school performance, or birthday dinner because he wanted “all of my families” to celebrate together. I am the one who organized, mediated, communicated, initiated, informed, questioned, counseled, listened, asked and even begged, for his “parents” to show some semblance of responsibility for, or at the very least take an active interest in. the daily life of the child they made. And as he begins his second semester of college, I am the one who continues to do all these things. Only now, they are done as he drives away to meet friends, or get to practice, or to go visit his mom for the weekend. “Oh, isn’t it so great that my “mom” and stepdad live closer to us now, and I can see them anytime.” I am the one who silently mourns for the little boy who loved to build legos and play on the swings, and could melt my heart with his kind words and “I love you’s.” The little boy who will soon be a grown man, and who will make his own decisions. But, I am the one who will never say a negative word about, or show my true disdain for, these “parents” who turned their backs on him…unless it was convenient, or an opportunity to show him off and pretend that they were actually involved in his childhood. May he never know the true details of who they truly are…of the two selfish people who call themselves his “mother” and “father,” yet who provided no support at all to his well-being..not financially, emotionally, spiritually or physically in any way whatsoever… Nor did they even know to ask or even wonder if maybe they could pay for his lunch account this month, or his haircuts, or the new socks and shoes, or the extra money slipped into his pocket on an outing with friends. Oh, but I know the answer; and I am not the only one who knows why they didn’t ask, or why the thoughts never even occurred to them. And it is having this answer that I will cherish, and that I will hold on to with all my entire being, and which will sustain me as he matures and explores his relationship with his “parents.” I know this will happen, and I will be right there to encourage and support him no matter how the ending goes, and I pray to God, that he does not find the entire truth, because I cannot imagine what that realization will do to my sweet little boy. But he will never hear a negative word from me about either one of them. If he asks, I will tell him the truth, but I will fiercely protect him from the pain and hurt…just as I have done for all these years, because I child should always be able to put his “parents” on a pedestal, and should never have to see them for who they really are. There are many who may disagree, and that is okay. Perhaps I should let him see the truth, and hear about their selfishness for all these years. Oh, it would be so easy to tell the stories, and reveal the decisions that were made based on adult preferences. But, I will not do this to him. And, the answer is a very simple one. A MOTHER will sacrifice herself and her emotions for her child. She will do anything to ease his pain, and to protect him from the utter lack of accountability, responsibility and basic human decency the two who call themselves his “parents.” And I will do this with a smile on my fact to hide my tears, because I AM HIS MOTHER, AND HE HIS MY CHILD. Although I will never hear him call me by that name, it does not matter. Because as his mother, I do not need to have the title, because I have his history…I have his childhood…I have his memories…and I have the understanding that a mother – a real mother- will forgo her own happiness at times, in order to give her child all that he deserves. A real mother will always sacrifice herself, her time, her friends, her wishes and dreams, her sleep, her health, and yes, she will even sacrifice her heart, and she will make sure that her child never knows…because no matter how old he is, he will always be my child. He will never know what I did to protect his idea of who his parents are. And I will continue to bury my anger, and to be okay with the wrongs that I have endured. Because I am his real mother…and a real mother will do anything for her child…and she will tell herself that it is how it was meant to be…that it was God’s plan for her life, and that I am so grateful for having been able to be his mother…even if it breaks my heart.

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    • Mary Anne THANK YOU for your story and the emotion with it. You have opened up and shared your entire heart here and I cannot help but think how blessed that young man is to have you in his life. We need to hear ALL the stories in this huge mess that has become the reality of “family” for far too many kids. IT IMPACTS EVERY ONE INVOLVED. Your experience demonstrates that connection that children have and need – to their birth parents. In this case it appears that is all his mother was for him and that you, indeed, have been the actual mother. The pain of never hearing him call you that is held in check because you cannot bring yourself to hurt him, and you understand that right now, at least, telling him all the truth about his mother, would do that. As you say, it is a mother who sacrifices for her child, even if that sacrifice wounds her to the soul. I think you will find that there will be a right time for him to know, and whether it is you that eventually tells him or he finds out on his own, he will. I can tell you that as older teens they are already aware of many of the things you point out but it may be some years before they have the emotional maturity to sort through all the feelings and to speak the words to you. I have found, where actions have been guided by love, and in the absence of cruel lies, people find their way to the truth. A child who is raised fed with constant lies and degrading comments about their birth parent almost splits inside and survival – the ability to handle the painful emotions – often comes only when the child agrees with the offending parent, turns their back on and cuts the other parent out completely. They say it is a type of brain washing and fixing it is not as easy as simply presenting the truth or even spending more time with the other parent. These kids believe the lies, they make the lies the truth, they lie to themselves that things happened, that didn’t. Parents who also sacrifice, stepping back, not wanting to put the child in the middle of an angry adult court drama, realizing that every move they make is met with the unreasonable anger of the other parent, can also spend forever aching for their child. They take second place to everything, and are eventually dropped from any inclusion in the child’s life. In my own life, we find out about a new baby some time in the first year of the child’s birth, we were invited to the wedding, asked to help pay for the son’s wedding, but then put in the back, at a table where we could not even see the head table. My husband was not even allowed to give the welcome to the family toast – his mother did that.

      My point in sharing that is to highlight this horrible situation where children suffer the most damage, is not a competition of who is suffering more. It is not a debate where we must argue that it is the men or the women, the birth parents or the parents . . . WE ARE ALL SUFFERING. And, every person’s story matters and needs to be heard and considered. We have to put down the walls that have been built between us and come together and share the pain, open our sensitivities to the suffering of others, and make different choices.

      I am super focused right now on the accumulative sanction that is sought and offered by the group. Those secondary people who stand by and support and encourage people to behave badly, even to do things that they themselves, would never do. THOSE people make a difficult situation almost impossible. They do not know and cannot know the specifics of a situation no matter how adequately explained by their friend or family member. They have one person’s interpretation of only SOME of the negative things, occurring in a small window of time, that contributed to the problem. And then we have the courts who try to treat complex human emotions like paperwork that needs to be collected, stamped, folded, stuffed in and envelope and sent out … every paper the same, instead of dealing with each case on its own merit. That would be an incredibly time consuming, almost impossible task, given the enormity of the problem before family courts. How many people have lamented, after a few years or appearances that their own lawyers are not listening to them and are making everything more complicated? Again, I actually think the only way we are going to sort out this, like so many of our current problems, is to take responsibility for our own lives back and to find ways to work together to solve problems and to heal.

      Beyond that, I do not believe in applying band-aids. We have to triage those who are in acute need of help but this problem starts way before it ever gets to family court. I have written about situations where parents have tried to ask for help with their son or daughter who they know is going to cause damage due to their disabilities etc. I have written about parents begging for a birth control shot for their daughter with a disability. She was very sexually active, unable to understand or remember to take a pill. They warned she would have baby after baby while doing drugs, smoking and drinking. There is no help for people like them. Society waits for the damaged children to be born. Does this make sense to anyone? We have to get to the source of WHY we are in this mess, and again, it takes all of us, with all our stories. One person’s experience does not cancel out anothers. It is not a “ya, BUT…” it is an “ok, AND …” ALL the stories matter.

      Idealistic? I plead guilty. But I champion the people I do right now, not to suggest that step parents are all bad or that women are always to blame. I am trying to add balance to a conversation that often vilifies the fathers and the birth parents. I am hoping to stimulate discussion and awareness and it appears I have done that with your response. Again, thank you so very much. I see women like you doing so much selfless work, for others . . . it is powerful. Think what we could do if we could harnass that power by all of us coming together and working to find solutions.

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  2. I hope you are not including those of us who are raising a child that was birthed by another woman, and ahe disappeared 4 small times before she disappeared for good, but not before sexually , mentally, emotionally, and physically abusing her own blood. And we tried hard to shield him from it, but not able to because the feeling of not wanting to have to sever that tie. But when it got so bad that she was hurting him on purpose just to make the other people in his life upset. Then trashed him like moldy food, without hesitation when she lost the ability to control him, when he was old enough to stand up for himself. The last time, she hadn’t seen him in months and she waited til he was at his grandma’s to take him to shave the hair he had worked so hard to grow for two years. Kicking and screaming , held him down so hard as to cause cervical strain and a sore shoulder , just to drop him off at a gas station by himself at 6 years old. Then called his dad and told him where he was. My son had had enough, he formed his own opinion after dealing with it so long. He formed his own opinion after she looked him in the eye and told him “whatever, you dont love me and i never loved you” before driving off. That i am sure still sticks in his mind. Also the back problems that still occur after that incident . Not only do I take pride in raising this beautiful child but I hope one day it does hurt her to see the relationship he has with a true mother. The one he has with me who has been part of his life since he was 1 , the one he calls mommy. The one he loves with all his heart. I hope she weeps in a quiet corner by herself one day pondering the horrible disgusting things she did to him. Why she chose drugs and men and things and control over him. I have not been able to let it go yet and that is my fault, my demons, but my boy is better off without that wretched human being. Please do not take this the wrong way but I have seen proof that there are woman out there that have zero capability of loving even their own birthed blood. I have two of my own and I promise it is easy to love them all the same. And yes my son asks questions and I always tell him the truth on a level he could and can understand and I also tell him that maybe one day she may change and find God and maybe she might miss him , but until then he will be raised by the people that love him dearly and only want the best for him. He has been through counseling and therapy and every time they say he seems to be a normal child with no care in the world. You would never know he was hurt as badly as he was. At least I know I did something right in this world. So to all the woman raising another woman’s child. Cheers, it is probably for a good reason, because the court systems make it really hard to sever that biological bond for good cause, for thw selfish ones. If it was done, it was done for a reason. It’s very hard but it’s very worth it. And to know he doesn’t have to be afraid when he has to leave home to go stay with someone that might leave him somewhere or hurt him or leave him with a drug addict boyfriend, to see happiness instead is my life’s work. I just didn’t see the other side in your story, it was all about biological mothers that cry because a horrible stepparent stole their kid when in reality, at least most of the time there is reason. People should have to have a license to breed and I understand some people will not like my comment but this post just makes me sooooo angry to think the person that wrote it may have had her kid taken and the kid is happy somewhere else, and the there is a reason for it other than just cause some woman up and stole him/her. It doesn’t work that way.

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    • How wonderful that your son had the support of his mother to do the right thing and to protect the child. Nothing I have written is an either/or situation. Life is not a competition, neither is misery. We don’t cancel the suffering of one family because it happened this way and say the other family matters because it happened that way. Your suffering, your experience is incredibly valid and it, and all the other stories out there, should be part of the discussion that is had on families and how people divorce and the impact it has on the children. The family courts have to be overhauled. They are not working.

      You cite some of the problems in your situation, there shouldn’t be a set way of doing anything. They should be evaluating each case based on the facts. Biological parents don’t get a free pass in the face of ample evidence of damaging behaviour and neither should step-parents be allowed to interfere and call the shots. Of course there are wonderful step parents who do a great job. I was not writing a balanced piece. If you google step parents the stories will all be about good step parents who are sick of dead beat parents. The step parent is doing the real parenting and getting none of the credit. All the posters, all the quotes, are pretty much from that angle. We do not hear about the biological parents victimized by the step parents. I was writing their story.

      We also are not used to hearing how father’s get screwed over by the courts – often denied access to their children, relegated to nothing more than pay cheques.

      I could go on and on about the various problems. I have often thought it would be good for there to be a catch up where the outcomes of court decisions might be heard by the children they were enacted upon. It would be a good learning for everyone to see what worked and what did not. But no matter what they do, we have to be willing to listen to one another, to validate each experience, to identify the problems and work to fix them.

      I really do appreciate your sharing your story and adding insight to another view and other issues. Again, how incredibly lucky that young man is to have had you in his life. And I do believe, he knows how lucky he is. I commend you for offering him the truth about his mom. Kids need to know their parents. Kids will love even those parents who have abused them. Ultimately it is their choice. We hope they can be kept safe and alive until they are old enough to make that decision without us being sick with worry.

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