Why My Children Will Never Be Half Siblings

Anyone who knows our family will tell you that Lewis was always destined to be a big brother. From the first day we told him, just two years old, that there was a baby in my tummy to grow with and love, he had beamed with excitement. And as we prepared for Joseph’s arrival, picked out his clothes, painted the nursery, and rehearsed manoeuvring the double buggy, Lewis had taken it all in, kissing my tummy and telling anyone who would listen that “Baby Joses” was on his way.

And I knew, without a single doubt in my heart, that he would be the best big brother in all the world.

I will always remember the moment we told Lewis that Baby Joseph had gone to the sky, when he had looked up at the stars and searched for him, his little face so confused as to where his baby brother had gone. I will never forget the feel of his hand in mine at the funeral, how he had stared at the tiny coffin being lowered into the ground, his eyes searching mine to make sense of what had just happened, and how he knew, even at two years old, that our world had changed forever.

And over the years I was often guilty of forgetting the fact that, however hard is was for me to be a Mother to a child I could not hold in my arms, it was equally hard for Lewis to have a sibling he could not grow old with.  Not only was he thrust into a world of grief and loss at such a young and impressionable age, but he had to learn to navigate a life that we had not planned for, without the brother he had spent his whole life waiting for. And that was hard, not just then, but with every passing year.

I lost count of the number of times when Lewis asked me, “Why don’t I have a brother or sister to play with?”. It broke my heart to see him sat beside me, watching other siblings play together, the beat of our hearts synchronised with that all consuming loss, the unspoken words that sat on both of our lips, I wish Joseph was here. 

When Lewis’s Dad and I divorced when he was just four years old, divided by grief with no way forward, I felt I had failed Lewis all over again. Not only would he never have the sibling he so desperately wanted, but he would live his entire life weighted down by a broken childhood, torn between both parents, so far removed from the life we had planned.

And so it was an unexpected twist of fate when Gaz came along and, despite experiencing a series of losses at the start of our relationship, our next pregnancy progressed and we learned we would have a baby girl. I will never forget the moment we sat Lewis down to tell him that he would finally have a sibling to love and how, at eight years old, the sadness reflected in his eyes was replaced by a flicker of hope. I can still remember how he had flung his arms around my neck, laughing in disbelief, and how my tears had turned to laughter when he asked, “Can we call her Jennifer Lopez?”.

And whilst my pregnancy was fraught with worry for all of us, it was Lewis who voiced those concerns out loud. Each night when I kissed him goodnight at bedtime, he would place his hand on my tummy, desperate to feel a kick, and ask me, “Will this baby die like Joseph?”. I can still remember how those moments took my breath away and how, even now, it breaks my heart that I hadn’t been able to promise him that she wouldn’t.

And yet the worst didn’t happen, and she was born healthy and well and breathtakingly beautiful. And when Lewis rushed into the waiting room on that cold winters night, his cheeks flushed with excitement as he peered inside her cot, that was the proudest moment of my whole life right there. And as we all made a fuss of what a wonderful big brother he was, as he proudly held her and kissed her and adored her from the offset, I knew that it wasn’t just my heart that had healed, but Lewis’s too.

And it’s crazy to think that, after eight long years of longing for another sibling, that four brothers and sisters arrived within the space of two years. With the subsequent arrival of Megan and Harry, and a baby brother for his Dad and Stepmum, we often joked that he had wished so hard for a sibling that all of his dreams had come true at the same time.

But he loved them, at eight, at nine, at ten, at fourteen. He completely and utterly adores them.

So last week, when Lewis became a big brother for the sixth time over, to a new baby sister born to his Dad and Stepmum, I was over the moon for him. And later, as I bought a congratulations card in our local supermarket, the cashier, chatty as ever, looked confused as I explained that my son had welcomed a new sister. “Oh!” she said, as it dawned on her it was not me who had given birth, “A half sister!”. And I had awkwardly nodded, packed my bag and quickly left, a bitter taste in my mouth at a term I have come to loathe.

Half sibling.

Because let me tell you, having watched Lewis with his siblings over the last six years, there is nothing fractured about his relationship with his brothers and sisters. Having seen the way they look up to him, and the ways in which he looks after them, there is nothing lacking, nothing missing, nothing lost. When I see him with Eva, Megan and Harry, or hear him speak about his little brother, his eyes light up with amusement and love, and occasional annoyance, and they are everything he waited for and more.

When he reaches for their hands as we cross the road, or calls their name when they wander too far ahead, when he nervously reminds them, “Be careful!”, I can see just how protective he is of each of them. When he patiently explains to Harry how to work the Play Station controller, or compliments Eva on her latest artistic masterpiece; when he allows Megan to jump on his back for piggyback rides round the garden, or drinks imaginary cups of tea served in pink plastic teacups, I know that he would do just about anything for them.

When he gives in to Harry’s demands to play dinosaurs, or Eva’s pleas to share his chocolate; when he lets Megan use his iPad, or lie in his bedroom to watch his telly, I know that they have him wrapped around their little fingers. When I bombard his phone with photos of the three of them, or send him videos of them being crazy, when he uses those photos for the home screen on his phone, when all of his friends have something way cooler, I know that he is resolutely proud of them.

And when they rush into his arms when he returns from his Dads, when he allows them to climb up onto his knee and rest their head against his cheek, when he wipes away the slobber from one of Harry’s smothering kisses, I know he waited his whole lifetime for those moments.

And when he told me about his new baby sister this week, his eyes lighting up with excitement and love, when he showed us her photo and told Eva, Megan and Harry about her chubby cheeks and her squishy little legs, about how utterly adorable she is, I knew that his heart was so very full.

Because there are no half measures when it comes to these relationships. Their bonds are unbreakable, in all of their entirety, and they are real, and they are beautiful, and they are whole. 

And together as a family, with seven beautiful children between us, and four parents who want the very best for all of our children, we are far from broken. 

Why My Children Will Never Be Half Siblings | Having children with different fathers or mothers is very common these days. Blended families are not unusual. This post is from a mom who writes about why being a sibling is more than just blood, and why she will never say her son's brothers and sisters are his half siblings www.fivelittledoves.com

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94 Comments

  1. candy
    August 29, 2018 / 11:57 am

    I love it when families don’t start a sentence with this is my half brother, step sister, adopted son and so forth. When children come into the family they are just that part of the whole family.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 12:44 pm

      Thank you Candy. I loathe that phrase, half implies that there is something missing and there is nothing at all missing from their bond. xx

  2. Ally
    August 29, 2018 / 12:10 pm

    That must have been such a devastating loss for you and you are so strong for pulling through it! I am so happy that your son has so many siblings to grow up with now, you guys have such a solid family foundation its inspiring.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 12:45 pm

      Thank you Ally. We have been so lucky to go on and be surrounded by so much love. Lewis is the best big brother, I knew he would be. xx

  3. lisalisa
    August 29, 2018 / 12:22 pm

    WOW, this post really touched my heart! I too am so happy to see your with his siblings, what a beautiful family you have and he’s such a lucky guy to have siblings he can grow up with! I don’t believe in labeling a child as half, every sibling is loved and considered family no matter what! GREAT POST! I’m so sorry for your loss!

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 12:49 pm

      Ah thank you Lisa, I totally agree. There are no halves, they are very much a whole. xx

  4. August 29, 2018 / 12:32 pm

    I love this! Yeah, I wouldn’t ever use the term half either. They’re just siblings who love each other and that’s enough. These are the sweetest photos.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 12:51 pm

      Thank you Amber. Exactly that, I won’t ever hear it any different. xx

  5. August 29, 2018 / 12:45 pm

    My biggest bug bear, same goes for our family.
    I still remember Lewis asking for a baby brother when we met in 2012.
    Little did he know he had 5 siblings to come!!

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 12:57 pm

      I know!! How did he become 1 of 7? It’s insane!! xx

  6. August 29, 2018 / 12:46 pm

    I don’t suppose the cashier meant anything by their comment but I can fully understand why you loathe it. In a world where so many families are more complicated now children do need to really just need to be children or brothers or sisters or cousins etc etc.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 12:57 pm

      No of course, I think half sibling is a phrase used by many but I definitely wouldn’t use it in our house. They are simply his brothers and sisters. xx

  7. August 29, 2018 / 12:56 pm

    I agree my family has always known each other as just siblings and not half of anything. What a wonderful post.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 1:04 pm

      Thank you Hollie. And that is exactly as it should be. xx

  8. krish
    August 29, 2018 / 1:00 pm

    Beautiful narrative…pure , full of emotions, touches the heart……You have conveyed the emotions so subtly…the relationship between the kids…kids have a pure heart….pure humanity..
    Thank you…

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 1:03 pm

      Thank you so much Krish. That’s so lovely of you to say. xx

  9. August 29, 2018 / 1:20 pm

    I’m going to print this out and share it with my friends of blended families. I also want to share it with my friend who is bitter about her divorce and her ex’s remarriage. So happy you embrace all your family!

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 1:36 pm

      Thank you Terri, that’s so kind of you. A blended family is certainly not a broken one, I think that’s important to remember isn’t it? Xx

  10. August 29, 2018 / 1:31 pm

    So very true and such a heartfelt blog post. The bond of siblings is so often unbreakable 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 1:37 pm

      Thank you. Their bond is so lovely – I knew it would be. Xx

  11. Mary Edwards
    August 29, 2018 / 1:35 pm

    You have a gorgeous family. I believe this holds true for half/step/adopted siblings. Siblings are siblings, just like kids are our kids. You raised a great kiddo. You can see the love for his siblings in these photos

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 1:39 pm

      Thank you Mary. Yes absolutely, a sibling is a sibling. There’s no need for any other label. He’s a great kid Mary, I am so proud of him. Xxx

  12. August 29, 2018 / 1:39 pm

    This is such a sweet post. I’m happy that you have such good relationship within your family. And I’m especially happy for Lewis.
    By the way, did you name the baby Jennifer Lopez? 😛

  13. August 29, 2018 / 2:09 pm

    My mom was married once before she married my dad. They had two boys and her first husband died. We were all raised by the same mom and dad and even though technically they are half-brothers, I have always just called them my brothers. That is just how family works.

    Jennifer Lopez! Love it!

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 6:31 pm

      Ah that’s lovely you feel that way. I think that’s the way it should be. And yes, Jennifer Lopez cracks me up! xx

  14. August 29, 2018 / 3:15 pm

    Love this! I honestly never knew what half-siblings were until I was an adult. My parents never raised us that way. I siblings on my father’s side. However, I never refer to them as such unless someone asks for a breakdown.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 6:31 pm

      Ah that’s how it should be. I can remember someone telling Lewis that Eva was his half sister and I went crazy! There is no need for any other label than family. xx

  15. August 29, 2018 / 3:53 pm

    What an astounding story. 🙂 I admire your son for being the loving brother that he is among his siblings.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 6:30 pm

      Thank you Sam, he is the best brother! xx

  16. Joline
    August 29, 2018 / 4:44 pm

    This is such a heartwarming read. Your Lewis is a stand-up guy. PS: I almost fell off my chair with your Jennifer Lopez bit lol!

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 6:30 pm

      Haha Joline, it still makes me laugh now! xx

  17. Melanie
    August 29, 2018 / 4:59 pm

    We have several blended family situations in the larger landscape of our family, including adoptions, etc. We always refer to them as “cousins” and never anything half. We are all family!

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 6:29 pm

      Exactly that. I mean lots of people do say half and that’s fine for them, but for me, and for many, it’s just family and I won’t have anyone say other. xx

  18. August 29, 2018 / 5:45 pm

    Thank you for sharing such a heartfelt story! I bet Lewis is the best big brother to all of his siblings. I agree with you, there are absolutely no half measures when it comes to family relationships. Family bonds are forever!

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 6:29 pm

      Thank you Gill, those bonds really are unbreakable aren’t they? xx

  19. August 29, 2018 / 5:45 pm

    You are very lovely hun. You always touch my heart with your posts. Your children will be fine and will be happy forever.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 6:28 pm

      Thank you xxx

  20. August 29, 2018 / 6:22 pm

    Tears of sadness and joy both rolled down our cheeks…. beautiful family… both looks & by heart

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 6:28 pm

      Ah thank you so much, that’s so lovely of you to say xxx

  21. August 29, 2018 / 6:33 pm

    It seems you’ve got just wonderful kids! Your oldest son is certainly a great big brother and a true inspiration for his younger siblings. It’s great to see such a family like yours! 🙂

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 7:28 pm

      Thank you Natalia. They all look up to him and he dotes on them, even when they are super annoying! It’s lovely that they all have each other! xx

  22. Hazel Anderson
    August 29, 2018 / 6:53 pm

    I have a big brother that is technically my half sibling. If antone dares call him my half brother they will hear me. He is my big brother, he was brought up in my house with me and we have always been brought up as full siblings.

    My boys have 2 big brothers who are half but we just don’t use that word in our house.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 7:27 pm

      Yes, exactly that! They are just brothers and sisters, and they are so incredibly lucky to have each other! xx

  23. August 29, 2018 / 7:00 pm

    First of all, you have very adorable kids. And your older son is surely a big brother, the younger siblings will look upto. Its great to have such a family.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 7:27 pm

      Thank you so much. I’m very proud of them all xx

  24. MrsH
    August 29, 2018 / 7:03 pm

    I’m one of 5 sisters, we don’t call each other whole siblings so why would we say half sibling? That’s just weird!! If anyone is ever remotely interested in my family makeup I just explain the youngest two have a different dad… but I would never ever relegate them to a half!!!! My children dont refer to my youngest sisters as half aunties either by the way!!!!

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 7:27 pm

      Yes!!! Exactly that! I hate when people say half, there is nothing broken about those bonds! But that’s a great point, nobody would say Half Auntie, or if they did I would find that really odd!! xx

  25. August 29, 2018 / 7:24 pm

    True, loving, heartfelt blog post! ANdddd you have the cutest kids!!

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 7:26 pm

      Thank you Lucy, they are pretty cute! xx

  26. August 29, 2018 / 7:49 pm

    Such a beautifully written blog. The bond between siblings is unbreakable. You have a wonderful family.

    • Laura Dove
      Author
      August 29, 2018 / 7:53 pm

      Thank you Sonali, it really is unbreakable and an honour to witness. xx

  27. August 29, 2018 / 8:11 pm

    Your views on family and ethics are something to admire. They are all lucky to have parents like you!

  28. August 29, 2018 / 8:26 pm

    He is going to be a great dad someday. He is a boy with a big heart.

  29. August 29, 2018 / 9:18 pm

    Love this Laura and all 4 of you should be proud of the boy you’ve raised. It says a lot about you all, just as much as it does Lewis. What a lovely boy he is and you can see how much they all love each other. xx

  30. August 29, 2018 / 9:25 pm

    What a beautiful post. I’ve always loved seeing how close all your children are and agree there are no half siblings about their closeness at all. My son has a much older brother he doesn’t know about yet (he’s a little young to explain it to just yet) but I do hope his brother can be a part of our lives in the future and not considered a half-brother. If they can have half the relationship Lewis has with his siblings ill be happy.

  31. August 29, 2018 / 9:52 pm

    I love your outlook. I think it makes perfect sense to drop those modifiers (step brother, step sister, etc.) It’s so refreshing to see blended families that work so well!

  32. August 29, 2018 / 9:57 pm

    I absolutely LOVE this! My siblings and I aren’t necessarily all blood but we grew up together and I’m their big sister. I’m so glad to see other families adopting the same idea. It is heart-warming!

  33. August 30, 2018 / 3:13 am

    I agree with this so much! I technically have a half brother that was born when I was 12, my only sibling. I was so happy when he was born and became his little Mother. We have never considered each other half, he has always been my little brother. He is even a different race than me, our Mom is white but his Dad is African American, so my brother and I do not look a lot alike. However, he is still simply just my brother. I am so happy to see your family has embraced this idea of no half siblings.

  34. August 30, 2018 / 3:20 am

    Definitely the way to go. I was adopted by my grandmother – but I always called her “mom”. Family is what you make it, not what other people have assigned.

  35. Julietta M
    August 30, 2018 / 3:27 am

    Awww this is so sweet! I love the fact all your children are so close to each other!

  36. August 30, 2018 / 6:29 am

    This is a beautiful post. I’m so sorry for your loss, but so heartwarming that you have gone on to extend your family. Family is what you make it, there’s no half’s when it comes to the love you have for each other.

  37. August 30, 2018 / 7:23 am

    Such a pleasant and heart touching read. Siblings are the best part of childhood memories which can never be lost. I loved the 2nd picture of your blog so so much <3

  38. August 30, 2018 / 10:58 am

    My best friend can totally relate with this. She has “half” and “step” siblings but they are siblings. And that’s that.

  39. August 30, 2018 / 11:35 am

    This is a lovely post. I am with you on this. I am not a fan of the half/step terms at all. Your son wanting to call his sister Jennifer Lopez is so funny ?

  40. August 30, 2018 / 12:08 pm

    I love this! It absolutely made me tear up, you have such a beautiful family, such a loving heart. You raised Lewis to have his heart full with love, ready to shower all his siblings with it as well. A family like isn’t broken, they shouldn’t be half siblings, you are full. One big happy family!

  41. Clare Low
    August 30, 2018 / 12:15 pm

    This post gave me all the feels and had me nodding YES YES YES. I have a “half sister” except I have never ever thought of her of anything but my sister. We may not have the same father but it doesn’t matter to us one bit, we have a bond as strong as sisters should and I never ever call her anything but my sister. I wish these “half” terms didn’t even exist!

  42. Elizabeth O
    August 30, 2018 / 12:17 pm

    This is a superb post that I really enjoyed reading. It sounds like your son completely adores his siblings! I am not a fan of the half/step tags at all.

  43. August 30, 2018 / 12:39 pm

    My husband has two children in his previous marriage but unfortunately, they don’t want anything to do with us and my kids. I tried to reach out to them when we first got married but no luck.

  44. August 30, 2018 / 1:30 pm

    I’ve never been fond of the terms “half-sibling” or “step-sibling”. Yes, while they may not be my blood, they are still my children’s siblings, and I always will refer to them as a brother or sister.

  45. August 30, 2018 / 3:21 pm

    You are very blessed to been able to build a very loving family. And you as a person is very loving that makes you very healing to the ones experiencing loss

  46. Peter
    August 30, 2018 / 4:21 pm

    My oldest would be considered a half. He’s nothing short of being the big brother of the house, he has nor never will be considered a half brother or step son to anyone. He is mine they are mine we are all family. Plain and simple

  47. August 30, 2018 / 6:08 pm

    My older two have a different dad to my younger four and we have never, ever called them half brothers / sisters – to the kids they are simply there brother and sister and that is how I like it. They know they have a different Daddy, but that doesn’t make a difference to their relationship at all

  48. August 30, 2018 / 9:43 pm

    Your family looks great – so clean and all american.

  49. August 31, 2018 / 7:08 am

    I absolutely love what your saying about the term half siblings. I think a sibling bond is a bond and it shouldnt be put in a box or be undervalued.

  50. August 31, 2018 / 8:02 am

    Sounds like he is the perfect big brother x The sibling bond is strong is your family and it comes across in your writings and photographs x

  51. August 31, 2018 / 8:59 am

    After your pain of losing a child, we’re so glad you found love and gained a family extension. Love and happiness to you all as a a single unit…family. ? ♥️ ?

  52. August 31, 2018 / 1:59 pm

    I love reading this post. It just shows that there is no hindrance whether you are siblings with different parents. I also don’t like being termed as “half”.

  53. August 31, 2018 / 2:13 pm

    This was such an emotional piece. I’m so happy he received the siblings he always wanted and I’m excited for the future for their adventure as siblings. thanks so much for sharing.

  54. August 31, 2018 / 3:07 pm

    Awww Lewis!! What a brilliant big brother he is. This brought tears to my eyes Laura. I’ve never really thought of the implications and feelings that could be attached to labelling a sibling as a ‘half’ rather than just a sibling. Beautiful post xxx

  55. August 31, 2018 / 3:15 pm

    Oh Laura your posts are so beautiful and emotive, I’m sure so many will relate to this and the journey youve been on.

  56. August 31, 2018 / 4:38 pm

    we humans label things too much… family is people you have in your life that you really love unconditionally! I love the message in this post! you have a beautiful family ; )

  57. August 31, 2018 / 9:21 pm

    This is such a lovely read! I would really have to agree with you. There are no measures when it comes to relationships. They are all siblings. The bond that they have is so special and their love is unconditional.

  58. September 1, 2018 / 11:18 am

    Such a beautiful read. I technically have half sisters but I would never ever dream of calling them that. It leaves a bitter taste in my mouth too

  59. September 1, 2018 / 8:05 pm

    This is beautiful. Just as the relationships Lewis has with his siblings. I must admit when I read your posts the term half sibling has never entered into my brain. I think thats all credit to the parents, all four of you are the person Lewis is. As on my side of the fence I am not close to my step siblings and that is because of the way it was managed by the parents xx

  60. September 2, 2018 / 8:28 am

    I loved reading this beautifully written post and I agree when it comes to siblings no matter what the family dynamic is there is nothing fractured about their relationship and I really don’t like the term “Half-sibling” – there is nothing half about it

    Laura x

  61. Sundeep
    September 2, 2018 / 6:57 pm

    One good thing about India is our big family structures and always having siblings around to help and support in every thick and thin. Your blog is heart warming.

  62. kim
    September 2, 2018 / 8:21 pm

    That is so awesome that Liam is such a great and loving big brother – nothing “half” about that. I also love your attitude toward the whole situation. Definitely some lucky kids!

  63. Prerna
    September 2, 2018 / 11:56 pm

    OMG touchwood and god bless you good looking family. Glad you did not say half brothers, etc. They must always learn to be siblings – a complete family.

  64. September 3, 2018 / 7:21 am

    Oh Laura, you made me cry again! Gorgeous post xxx

  65. September 4, 2018 / 9:46 pm

    Our family is this way as well – this is such a lovely post.

  66. September 5, 2018 / 6:35 am

    I like how you are teaching them they are all siblings. In the end, they are.

  67. September 5, 2018 / 5:10 pm

    Oh Laura, you’ve done it again – you’ve written a beautiful post that has me welling up and swallowing a lump in my throat, a post so wrought with love and emotion. You’re absolutely right, siblings shouldn’t be categorised or labelled “half” or “step” just because they’re not 100% biologically related. My parents we’re foster parents when I was growing up, and I had so many extra brothers and sisters, that I still call siblings, even if they only lived with us for a few months x

  68. September 5, 2018 / 8:04 pm

    Oh gosh, him asking if the baby would die had to be so hard to hear. I love that he wanted to call her Jennifer Lopez though! lol

  69. September 17, 2018 / 9:21 am

    Such a beautiful post and yes that is a lovely way to bring them up. He is a very lucky big brother to have so may lovely little sisters and brothers!

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