Morgan Campbell knows all about the term modern family. A Postpartum Doula who has spent years educating families and helping them flourish as new parents, has welcomed a child of her own. After meeting her partner via Instagram, she was introduced to his two children that he created with two women, through two completely separate circumstances. Morgan’s tribe is anything but conventional, but her story of love, compassion & understanding is one to appreciate and learn from. We had the chance to sit with Morgan and learn a little more about her life, read our interview below.
O | How did you meet your partner?
M | I met Christian via Instagram. Thank you IG. Someone who was an acquaintance posted a photo that he was in. Instantly I knew he would be my husband. I know I sound crazy, haha, but it’s the truth. My parents always said, you know when you know. After I had liked basically ALL of his photos, he commented on a photo and from there it was direct messaging and from there phone conversation. I hadn’t been on a real date in years, at least not one where I was genuinely excited about the person. We made plans for dinner and I backed out. I was certain everyone around us would know it was a first date and that terrified me. I also hate going on dates. After I bailed, we made a coffee date and I cancelled again. I’m sure he thought I was a flake at this point, but we continued talking all day every day. This was only over the course of only like 5 days since our Instagram interaction, haha! The day after I cancelled, I called him and said, what are you doing right now? It was mid day on like a Tuesday. He said, I’m at home but have to leave to get my son soon. I replied, ok great, can I come over? In my mind, if I went over and we liked each other, then wonderful and we can see each other again. If we didn’t hit it off, then it was 30 minutes of our time and that would be it. I knew he wasn’t a murderer and regardless would be a nice guy. Anyway, I went over and basically never left. Six months later we got a house together. Year and a half later we got pregnant, just shortly after we had decided to “try”. Years later we were engaged, even though we both said we could care less about marriage when we met. Nearly three years later, here we are. One big happy family.
O| How did you initially feel knowing he had two children and the circumstances of how he became a father twice before? How do you navigate the relationships with his best friend and ex partner?
M | I loved that he had children. I loved even more so that he donated sperm to his best friend and that they shared a child. I think that says so much about his character and relationships with people. I am not much for “normal” so the thought of having a non-traditional family was totally fine. I was nervous to meet both his best friend and ex in the beginning, but it went really well. I always put myself in others shoes to understand why they act the way they do. His best friend and I are extremely close, which is why we joke that we are sister-wives. I would do anything for her and vice versa. It’s a beautiful relationship that we have and I’m so grateful for that. As far as his ex, we don’t have much communication right now, but I will always live my life with compassion, understanding and love. That is all I can do and continue to do.
O | How do you navigate being a stepmom and parenting your partner's child from a previous marriage? What are holidays like? Any advice you can share with another mother going through this?
M | Navigating being a stepparent is no easy task. It can be really hard, but it teaches us so many beautiful lessons and forces us to rid ourselves of ego. Being a parent in general is hard, but being a stepparent is harder, in the sense that you cannot parent like you would your own child, are expected to show up in so many ways, but often don’t get any “reward”. That being said, there are millions of reasons why being a stepparent is amazing. When I met Christian, we were inseparable. The only time we were apart were the nights that his son was staying with him. We took a couple months before I met his son, and right from the beginning he was loving and welcoming. I am sure it was weird, as I think it would be for any child who is meeting a new partner of either of their parents, but he was very sweet. Shortly after meeting, we actually took his son to Park City, UT to ski/snowboard for NYE. Everything went smooth and we had an amazing time together. Since then we have had numerous family vacations the 3 of us, as well as with his little brother and Christian’s best friend. The whole tribe - haha! We have gone to see family in France, traveled to Luxembourg, Belgium among many other fun places. I am very conscious of making sure that he spends one on one time with his son no matter if we are at home or traveling. I never wanted him to feel that I was taking his papa away, as I think a lot of children from fractured families often feel. My parents have been together for 44 years, so I don’t know that feeling of having separated parents, but I have friends who do and it isn’t always easy for them. My way of step parenting is to love his son as I would want someone to love my son if I were ever a divorced mother. Unconditionally.
My advice to other people who are new to step parenting would be tread lightly, always communicate with your partner about everything and know your boundaries. Do not try to be the “parent” especially in the beginning. Of course as time goes on dynamics change, especially once you are living together, and more involved in the child’s life. I always tell Christian what I think and usually take the back seat in letting him parent. I love that he respects my input as well and always discusses everything with me. There have been times where I have also stepped in when needed. From time to time his son comes to me for advice or to confide in me and I deeply cherish that.
O | What about the child that Christian had with his friend via IUI, are you actively involved with that child? Is Christian considered the father?
M | Yes. I am actively involved in Christian’s son’s life that he has with his best friend. His best friend is an amazing mom. It’s been wonderful and inspiring to watch her raise their son. He lives with her full time, but we see them often. Christian is considered his papa and he is actively involved in his life. He goes to all things a parent would for their children. Now that his son is getting older, he is definitely wanting more time with Christian, so we all spend time together every week. We take vacations together, celebrate holidays together, etc…We function as one big tribe. The saying, “it takes a village”, we are a perfect example of that. His best friend is a stylist and travels a lot so there are times when myself or Christian takes care of him after school. We all work together to makes things flow smoothly. We aren’t the traditional family, but we are a family full of love, acceptance and understanding for one another. Honestly, I wouldn’t have it any other way. I love our tribe.
O | Are all of the kids considered siblings? How will you communicate about their relationships to them?
M | The boys all consider themselves brothers and they are together every week. We do activities together and function as a modern multi-household family. We don’t use the terms stepbrother or any of that. They are brothers and it’s never been any other way.
O | How has becoming a mother changed the way you look at these dynamics?
M | Since becoming a mother, the way I look at these dynamics hasn’t changed much, as I have honestly felt like a mother my entire life. Of course, when you actually become a mother you discover a new love that you hadn’t experienced before…but for me, I felt as though I have always had that kind of love. As far as relationship dynamics, all you can control is your actions and reactions to behaviors of others. I live every day with the purpose of love, understanding and giving. Giving without expecting in return. Which I think is why Christian’s other sons are so loving with me and also why I am a Postpartum Doula. I have a way with people that allows them to feel at peace and safe with me. So in a way, I have been a “mother” all my life. Those are two traits I hope that Kenzo feels every day with me for as long as he lives.
To follow Morgan’s modern family adventures and see adorable photos of her new baby Kenzo, give her a follow @morganecampbell