Stepmoms Without Biological Children

“My house is full of people, and I’m lonelier than I’ve ever been in my life,” stepmom Amelia shared.

“I thought marrying a man with kids would ease my longing to have a child, but it’s actually made it worse,” she continued. “I now must “act” like a mom, and everyone expects me to perform as a mom, and love and forgive as a mom, but I don’t get the warm feeling in return. I don’t have a precious child squealing ‘mommy, mommy’ at the sight of me. There isn’t that child who is thrilled that I merely exist as “mommy.”

The number of stepmoms that experience being a childless stepmom is much more prevalent than I imagined.

I, myself, am a childless stepmom. I have two stepsons, but no biological children of my own.

I understand many of the issues these ladies experience. And the journey for this stepmom has a unique sorrow associated with it. Here are a few of her thoughts and struggles:

1. “I’ll never experience the bond my husband has experienced with his first wife by having a child together.”

2. “The grief and resentment that my husband has children, but I never will, is an ongoing process. I work daily to overcome these devastating emotions.”

3. “It never feels like there is anyone on “my side.” It’s my husband and his kids on one side, and me alone on the other. At least if I had kids there would be someone in my corner.”

4. “I feel cheated. I must live the mommy life, but I don’t get to fully embrace them as my children. They keep me at arm’s length, and they don’t want a deeper relationship because they already have a mom.”

5. “Trying to find a way to enjoy the ‘kid moments’ (ex: school play, baptism, spots achievement, prom) has been a challenge. I’m rarely recognized as a parent.”

6. “Mother’s Day is the worst day of the year. It’s a reminder that I’m infertile. And that my stepkids don’t view me as a mom. I merely try to get through the day without a total meltdown.”

7. “My husband simply doesn’t get it. He can’t understand why his kids aren’t enough to fill the hole in my heart, and the emptiness of my womb. I crave a baby of my own. He gets mad at me and says, “Why aren’t my kids enough for you.” And then I feel guilty on top of the grief.

8. “I want to do whatever it takes, or go wherever we must, to conceive a child. My husband doesn’t understand why this is such a passionate desire. He gets very frustrated with me.”

9. “Before we got married my husband was fine with adding an “ours baby.” Now, his kids are not doing well emotionally, so he has adamantly changed his mind. I feel deceived. Having children was a deal breaker for me. I would not have married him if I had known it meant never having a child.”

10. “My husband is physically unable to give me a child, I knew this before I married him. I thought I was fine with it. However, as time goes on I’m getting angry and upset that he has children with his first wife, but he can’t have them with me. I don’t know what to do.”

11. “I got married for the first time at 42 years old. I was shocked at how hard it was to adjust to all the chaos, drama, and noise of being in a house with kids all the time. Sometimes I want to get in my car for some peace and quiet.”

12. “I consistently grieve the lack of any “firsts” with my husband and stepkids. There are no delivery room memories together, no first words, first steps, etc. All the “background” memories and bonding that occur with a child. It isn’t a part of our relationship and that makes me sad.”

13. “I am childless by choice, and I wonder what my future will look like when I get older and frail. I have no kids of my own to take care of me, and I’m doubtful his kids will help. He insists they will step up to the plate when the time comes. He gets hurt and mad if I attempt to give examples of why I believe they won’t, so I’ve stopped sharing my concerns. I realize he wants to believe the best of his kids, but I know better.”

14. “Because of a painful childhood I never wanted to have children, even though I think I would have been a good mom. I had hoped my stepkids would be a bigger part of my life, but they aren’t interested. There is a huge disappointment in knowing a relationship is unlikely to occur, but I keep praying.”

15. “My husband’s adult kids frequently ask him for money. He won’t tell them no. I’m worried that he will give our resources to them, and then die before me. I’ll be left alone with nothing.”

These comments, and many more, are the type of heartfelt cries I hear from childless stepmoms. And I’ve decided to do something about it.

I’m currently hosting an event for these special stepmoms this fall. It is a retreat where I’ll focus on the unique needs of a childless stepmom.

I’ve asked a handful of other childless stepmoms, who have a situation different from my own, to join me. We will address the various reasons that a woman is childless, (infertility, miscarriage, age, a husband who is unable or unwilling, the SM choosing not to have children, etc.), and the ways we can overcome the emotional pain, anxiety or fears.

If you want to know details, they are on  my Smart Stepmom Facebook page,

In addition, my book, 101 Tips for the Smart Stepmom, has a chapter on the childless stepmom subject. And one for the full-time stepmom incase that’s added to your situation.

There are many barren women in the Old Testament of the bible. (Ex: 1 Samuel  Hannah,   and Genesis 16 Sarah  ) God knows, sees, and hears their prayers. Take comfort in knowing that He doesn’t turn a blind eye or ignore your suffering.

His answers are not always exactly what we desire, that’s the hard part.
However, He is always good.

He is always available.

He always cares.

It’s a promise.

Copyright © 2018 Laura Petherbridge. All rights reserved.

Laura Petherbridge is an international author and speaker who serves couples and single adults with topics on stepfamilies, relationships, divorce prevention, and divorce recovery.

She is the author of When “I Do” Becomes “I Don’t”—Practical Steps for Healing During Separation and Divorce, The Smart Stepmom, co-authored with Ron Deal, 101 Tips for the Smart Stepmom and Quiet Moments for the Stepmom Soul. Her website is www.TheSmartStepmom.com