As-salamu alaykum dear sister,
You have a lot going on sister, and as a newly married woman, I am sure it feels over whelming at times. As I understand, you recently got married, your precious mom passed away (I am so sorry for your loss, may Allah swt forgive her, bless her and grant her jannah), you acquired new step-children who are not warming up to you yet, and you lost your ability to have children and you also feel responsible for your dad and unmarried sister. That is a lot of stress and sadness in one year with the exception of your marriage. However, even with a happy event such as marriage comes some stress as you both get to know each other and adjust to a new life together.
Sister, your step-children are basically grown according to Islamic standards, even though they have not reverted. Thus it sounds as if you are approaching them correctly in regards to trying to befriend them as well as provide guidance as such. At the ages that they are (15 for the two boys and 20 for the girl), they are for the most part already raised, insha’Allah. Often times when families are blended such as yours, it takes time for the children to form a bond with the parent’s spouse (you).
This is common and a normal process. Depending on if your husband has divorced or if his wife died the children may have different reactions. In the case of divorce or loss of a parent, children often have a hard time adjusting to that loss and it can be reflected in the relationship with the new spouse when their parent remarries. Additionally, as your husband is a new revert to Islam, the children may still be adjusting to that especially if it has drastically changed their way of life within the household.
You did mention that your step-daughter was not very friendly and was “oblivious” to your presence. She may be going through some resentment issues of her own either regarding the reversion of her dad to Islam, the divorce of her parents or loss of her mom if her mom died. These issues really do not have anything to do with you sister (except you are on the receiving end of her coldness) and they are something she must work out herself as an adult. It is not something that can be forced.
Insha’Allah sister I would kindly recommend that you give it more time. A year is really not that long to form bonds with children who are grown/almost grown. Continue being polite and kind as well as providing friendly guidance where and when you are able. Seek out your husband’s advise on how to best approach the children as well as try to plan family outings in which everyone can enjoy each others company and slowly begin bond building.
Insha’Allah they will begin to relax, and see you as the wonderful step-mother that you are and begin to let their guard down and draw closer to you. Once they begin to see you as their friend and ally and not someone with whom they must compete with, insha’Allah you will all begin the processing of bonding. It may take time sister but trust in Allah swt and make duaa that He grants ease.
Another point to remember is that they are older, thus the bond you are seeking may be different than what you expect and hope for especially as you had to have a hysterectomy. Please do look at what type of bond you are seeking and try to be honest with your feelings. I am not sure if you have children of your own already by birth but if you do not, I can imagine this was a most heartbreaking surgery as you will not be able to have children with your new husband. However, I am sure the hysterectomy was a critical part of saving your health and your health is what comes first. So as it may be heartbreaking to you, please do look at it as a blessing insha’Allah as you are still alive and healthy. Allah knows best.
Regarding your stepdaughter’s pregnancy, it is natural to feel a degree of resentment over the fact that your step-daughter is pregnant and you cannot have children anymore. In fact, I am sure you feel tinges of resentment hurt, pain when you see other couples with babys or hear of other women who are pregnant. It really is not about your step-daughter being pregnant (I am sure you are happy for her) but it comes from a place of deep pain within yourself at your loss.
Please try to look at that resentment for what is it-pain, not malice. As your hysterectomy is a rather recent event as well, you too are going through a kind of grieving stage due to this loss. Sister a lot has happened in a year. You got married, you lost your mom, you acquired new step-children who are not warming up to you yet and you lost your ability to have children.
Please do seek refuge in Allah sister. He knows of your pain and hurt better than even you do as He created you. Do dhkir, read Qur’an, make duaa and let Allah’s most merciful healing begin. By letting go of these feelings of loss, sadness, disappointment and pain and bringing them to Allah swt for help and healing, you will feel much relief over time and you will be blessed abundantly by your seeking Allah.
I can imagine it is so hard sister and I am truly sorry for your loses and what you are going through. I kindly advise that you also seek out the support of your husband insha’Allah and talk with him about how you have been feeling, especially in regards to the loss of your mom as well as the loss of your ability to have children. Insha’Allah he will prove to be a warm, loving supportive husband during your time of need. Seek out sisters at the Masjid to do things with.
We all need close and dear friends in this life and our sisters can be a wonderful source of support and comfort. As far as your dad and sister, please do what you can to help them but also remember to not overextend yourself. When you do spend time with them sister, try to make it a joyful occasion. Maybe go out to dinner, take a walk in the park-things that will be healing for all of you as I am sure the loss of your mom is still hurting them as well.
Lastly, if you feel you are depressed beyond your ability to overcome these feelings and it is interfering with your daily quality of life, please do seeking out counseling from a therapist in your area. Often times, when we are dealing with multiple losses, seeing a counselor on a regular basis can be of great benefit.
We wish you the best dear sister, you are in our prayers.
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