You Can Have the 'Right' Baby With the 'Wrong' Guy

scary spice mel bI’m happy for Scary Spice, aka Mel B. (Did I really just type that?) She’s had some ups and downs, including that whole Spice Girls zig-a-zig-huh interlude, but she says she has finally come to a place of peace and stability with a husband and a new baby. Here’s the thing: this is her third baby.

I'm not saying she shouldn't have admitted this. Facts are facts, and it's not like the kids can't see for themselves that she got divorced and had broken up with Eddie Murphy before their kid was even born. I just wonder how to handle this thorny issue? How does it feel to be the one baby your mom feels she got right -- and how does it feel to be one of the other kids?

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I’m a child of my mom’s second, “got-it-right” marriage, and I never felt there was a distinction drawn between me and my sisters. If anything, they got preferential treatment (long hair v. my dorky shag cut, horseback riding lessons) because she felt guilty about their broooken home. She certainly didn’t love any one of us more.

On the other hand, my husband’s mom was kind of nuts -- okay, she was really nuts -- and he felt that she treated him the best because his dad was the one who had been nicest to her. (I know. It’s kind of a sad story.)

As a mom, I know I don’t love one child more than another because of the circumstances of her birth. But I do worry that, for instance, I was more careful and attentive with Penelope because she was a preemie, and I worry less about Abby. Will this make Penny less resilient? Will it make Abby feel neglected? And what about my husband's older kids, the children of his first marriage? They move happily between two happy homes, but do they feel funny that they aren't "children of love," as a friend of mine put it in high school?

Then there’s the theory that we have different parents based on when we were born. In my family, for instance, my sisters had a distracted, heartbroken mom who was in grad school; I had an attentive, loving mom who could focus on me; my younger sister was also an only child for several years, as I left for college when she was 12. Take a snapshot of a family every five years and you have a different collection of people based on who’s working too hard, who’s mourning the death of a parent, who’s having a mid-life crisis. When you look at it that way, Scary Spice’s three kids can look at their family and say, “This is just the latest change, and good for us.”

But I think it still must be weird to hear your mom talk of your babyhood as a time when things weren't right, even if you know she loves you to the ends of the earth.

Would you hesitate to let your kids know you only “got it right” with one of them?



Image via Tawny Rockerazzi/Flickr

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