From hostile in-laws to spiteful ex-wives, these four Nigerian women share their various experiences as stepmothers.
Getting married at 27 is one of my greatest regrets. Not because my partner is awful, I just didn’t give myself enough time to discover myself before I walked down the aisle. Six months after I got married, my partner and I discovered he has four year old daughter. He and her mother had a thing before I met him and she had a child, but she didn’t inform him about the pregnancy nor the child. He went behind my back to have a DNA test that confirmed the child as his. This whole thing changed my life because I was raised by my step mother and it was the most horrifying experience of my entire childhood. My stepmother treated me with utmost disgust and is the reason I have low self esteem and no self confidence. I am just getting healed from my childhood experience and now I have to deal with being someone else’s stepmother. I am in a dilemma. Anytime I go out of my way to do something nice for the child, I get the strange feeling that I am doing too much.
My husband’s daughter is six years old now. Her arrival made me desperate to have a child of my own. Her mother is still in the picture and the child is with her mother at the moment, but the mother is getting married to someone else and that is why my husband wants to move her in with us. I do not know if I want the child to move in with us or not. I have my own son now, and sometimes I take my frustrations out on him. I sometimes shout at him and spank him. I feel like if I do that to her, I will make a horrible stepmother and I do not want to be that. I have always known stepmothers as wicked people. I do not want to be a wicked person.
I knew my husband had five children before we got married, it was a package deal. His ex-wife hates me and is constantly telling her kids to defy me. For example, she once told the kids I put jazz in their food and one of them ended up getting hospitalised because he did not eat for days. Sometimes things are going well, but other times the house is like a war zone. Honestly, I think she hates me because she wants to reconcile with her husband and she views me as a stumbling block. They were married for twenty years and have a lot of history together. She’s the mother of his children so he always tries to pacify her and he won’t stand up for me when the kids disrespect me because he’s guilty they witnessed the divorce. I feel like a stranger. I wish the children would genuinely get to know me and realise I mean them no harm. I also wish my husband would stand up for me when his ex pits the kids against me.
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My husband’s family have made it very obvious that they prefer his late wife to me. I expected the behaviour from his children, but not his parents, cousins and siblings. Whenever we have a family gathering, they always talk about how great his late wife is at hosting events. They will complain about my choice of food, decorations, everything. It feels like I cannot do anything right in their eyes. His children call me “daddy’s wife” and it always feels like they will never see me as any kind of mother figure. To them, I will always be their daddy’s wife and it makes me so hurt. I remember talking to my husband about this and he says they are just adjusting to the idea. It’s been two years now, and they still call me that. I really try to bond with them and spend time with them, but it just never goes well. I really wish I had a stronger connection with the children, and my husband’s family stopped comparing me to his late wife.
I had one child from my previous marriage, and my husband has one from his as well. His son loves the fact that he is a big brother, and he takes so much care of my daughter. While we were dating, we both agreed that if our children do not get along we would go any further. They do everything together and it warms our heart. I always wanted a daughter and I finally got one. My ex husband was hardly around because he spent all his time cheating on me, so it feels nice to have a family. My children are happy, my husband is happy, and so am I. We do not plan on having any more children and are content with the way things are now.
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