KatieKatie Katie Parsons is the creator of Mumbling Mommy and is a freelance writer, editor and communications specialist. She works from her home office on the east coast of Florida. Most often she writes about life in a combined family of five children and what it's like being a full time work-from-home parent. Feel free to pitch guest post ideas or just drop her a line at katie@mumblingmommy.com.

As a single mom, there wasn’t a whole lot that bothered me about the life I had with my daughter. I worked full time because I needed to and sent my daughter to childcare with formula because I needed to do that too (and I didn’t feel bad about liking my job). I didn’t worry about being both a mother and father figure to her — I was just me, because that was what I knew how to be. She didn’t have many siblings, but she did have me.

I didn’t fret over what I would tell her one day when she quizzed me about the circumstances surrounding my pregnancy with her or what happened after she was born. I knew the words would come when the time was right.

There was one area where I did feel guilty, though. I felt my heart wrench a bit when I thought about the fact that my daughter may never have any siblings. I know plenty of happy families with just one kid by choice or circumstance, but somehow the idea of not even being able to make the choice to add to my family made me feel badly. I always believed that my daughter would be able to understand why her dad and I were not a couple but I worried that she would eventually resent me for not giving her any brothers or even worse — any sisters.

As usual, the thing that kept me up more than a few nights worked itself out.

Wedding day jitters — our three “olders”

From No Siblings to Many Siblings

When I got married 3 years ago, my daughter had two siblings overnight – a stepbrother who was older by one year, and a stepsister who was younger by one year. My husband and I joked that these were our “stair step” kids — ages 4, 3 and 2 when we tied the knot. We talked about adding one more to the mix after we’d had time to settle into this arrangement, find steady work for me and decide if we really needed another baby in the house.

Apparently we were able to figure those things out pretty quickly (ha, yeah right) because I discovered I was pregnant three months after we first combined our families. My daughter welcomed her third sister just shy of the one-year mark of our wedding.

Wait…third sister? What about the second one?

That one was born just prior to me finding out that I was pregnant with my second. My daughter’s biological dad had his second child, a little girl, a few months after I got married.

With her first sis on her dad’s side

When Emilia turned three, she had no siblings. By her next birthday, she had three of them. Two weeks later, she had four.

Things calmed down in the baby-making and family-combining business for awhile after that. My hands were more than full with my three olders and my one baby. Emilia turned 5 and her sibling count remained the same. Just after the New Year in 2014, though, we received word that Emilia would be a big sister again on her bio-dad’s side. She was happy. I was happy for her.

Three little blondies

Better them than me, I thought.

Until it was me too. In early March I discovered I was unexpectedly expecting again myself. As a six-year-old, Emilia has become a big sister two more times to little girls.

Official Tally of Emilia’s Siblings: Sisters – 5, Brothers – 1.

I can’t speak for the other side of her DNA, but the sibling count on her mom’s side is complete. For a little girl who was a one-and-only just a few short years ago, she sure has become an amazing big (and little) sister.

Sometimes I look at her many siblings make up and still feel a twinge of guilt. My stepkids are full-blooded siblings, and so are my younger two daughters. The two little girls on the other side of Emilia’s family tree are full-blooded siblings as well. Everyone is paired up with another sibling who shares the exact same parents — except for Emilia.

I’ve expressed this sense of sadness to my husband before, who quickly points out that there is not a whole lot I can do about that at this point (nor would I want to). He reminds me that she is “one of a kind” and looks at all of her many siblings as completely, 100 percent hers. And they look at her the same way.

I watch my Emilia debate the smartest moves in Minecraft with her brother, or put on a made-up singing show with her (first younger) sister, or make the two youngest girls in our household howl with laughter and I think “Now THAT is a sister.”

I hear stories of her allowing her three-year-old sister to trail her every move, and cling to her, when they see each other every few months. This particular little sister idolizes her, and knowing that warms me. There is a reason for everything — everything — that happens in life. And even if you don’t believe that, there is always some amazing good that can come out of out of what looks like a crappy situation at the outset.

Emilia was a happy only child and she likely would have never been upset with me about that fact. Knowing that she has so many siblings today though brings me a sense of reassurance and of peace. She has her own people to go through life with and it is a blessing — to both of us.

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Category: Pregnancy

Tags: combined family