A mom on Reddit was recently skewered after sharing that she wanted separate photos of her biological and stepchildren.

By Maressa Brown
January 27, 2021
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Despite the fact that, according to the U.S. Bureau of Census' most recent data, 1,300 new stepfamilies are forming every day, it seems all too many people are struggling with how a blended family is supposed to function. The latest example: In a new Reddit post, a mom asked if she was wrong to leave her stepdaughters out of her pregnancy announcement. The resounding response: Yes.

From a since deleted account, the original poster (OP) shared that she has been in a relationship with her partner for five years. He has 9- and 10-year-old daughters from a previous relationship. They had their first daughter together about a year and a half ago. She found out she was pregnant a few months ago and has been putting off a formal pregnancy announcement—only their parents and siblings know so far—but she's due in three months.

A compilation of a pregnant mother and a lonely daughter.
Credit: Getty Images (2).

The OP wrote, "I decided to order a 'big sister' shirt for my daughter and snapped a few pictures to send to my extended family (aunts/uncles/cousins). The pictures came out cuter than I expected, and I asked him if it was okay with him if I posted them to social media."

According to the OP, her partner said that "not having the older girls in the picture made him feel like he has two separate families." She explained that she responded by saying that "in a way, he does. All four of the girls are his daughters, but they aren't all mine. The older girls are very close to their mom, and I explained to him, that although they are part of our family, I am not their mom, and they will never view me as such, and being a stepmom is very different than being a mom."

She concluded, "At the end of day it's not really a huge deal to me, I don't post on social media frequently, but this whole situation has me feeling upset. I feel like he wants to pretend that we are not a blended family. I mean he does have two kids with one women and two kids with another. And I feel like he doesn't acknowledge that, or the fact that, although the girls are all equal, they are different because they don't have the same moms."

The OP then turned it over to her fellow Redditors to get their thoughts. Overwhelmingly, commenters asserted that the mom was in the wrong.

Future-Ambition1859 wrote, "He wants his older girls to be included with his younger girls. There's absolutely nothing wrong with that. By keeping them separate, YOU'RE the one pretending you don't have a blended family. You have to be together to blend. If it's not a big deal to you, why can't you include your stepchildren? I mean, it's no a big deal, right?"

Another commenter, writing under the handle xeyexofxautumnx, wrote, "You're implying that because they're not your daughters, they won't also be big sisters. ... Take some group pics and ask their mom if it's OK to post them as well. They may be too little to see it on social media now, but they'll see how people react to it, and one day it'll be the equivalent of their family photo albums. So you can choose to be that stepmom who is the one responsible for separating their family or the one that is part of the family."

Several-Lab9357 shared, "As an aside, and speaking as a former stepchild, it's very amusing to me when stepparents treat their stepchildren as second-class, but still demand that any kids they have with the biological parent be loved and embraced by those same stepkids as regular siblings. It's like they want all the perks of having older brothers and sisters for their kids, but god forbid they themselves model the behavior that facilitates these kinds of relationships. OP, keep this up and I promise you your treatment of your husband's children will be reflected in how those kids see and treat your biological daughters. But if that's no big deal to you, carry on."

Others commented on how the OP deleted her account upon seeing the responses. As problematic as her post and response to the feedback was, it's clear that Reddit isn't exactly the best sounding board for someone struggling with being a parent in a blended family. Perhaps the best bit of advice for her came from a Redditor writing under the handle vulpesvulpesfugit: "It really sounds like it's time for y'all to start seeing a family therapist who specializes in blended families. You guys need a safe space to talk this out and receive some guidance before it festers and becomes a huge problem later on."