Writer Nora McInerney says her kids aren't step-siblings—they're just siblings

"I took the lead from the big kids because really right away without being asked, they called Ralph their little brother," McInerney shares in the newest episode of Motherly's podcast.

Writer Nora McInerney says her kids aren't step-siblings—they're just siblings
Nora McIerney

Nora McInerney is a podcaster, an author and a mother who has been through it.

In 2014 McInerney was a new mom when she suffered a miscarriage during her second pregnancy, lost her father to cancer and then lost her husband to cancer. Her story is about the power of resiliency and honesty. And if you ask her how she's doing, she's going to give it to you straight.

On social media, in her book, It's Okay To Laugh (Crying Is Cool Too), and through her podcast, Terrible, Thanks For Asking, McInerney shares her story and helps other women share their own and be okay with the bad days.

During the fifth episode of The Motherly Podcast, McInerney tells Motherly co-founder Liz Tenety about becoming a mother, a widow, and a step-mother and how, in her house, there's no such thing as step-siblings or half-siblings, there's just family.

When McInerney's first husband, Aaron, died of brain cancer in 2014 the couple's toddler son Ralph was an only child, as McInerney suffered a miscarriage six weeks before her husband's death.

But when McInerney's heart made room for her second husband, Matthew, it also made room for Ralph's future siblings. He lost the title of only child but gained loving siblings even before McInerney and Matthew welcomed another child together.

According to McInerney, Matthew's kids (who were 10 and 15 at the time) made it clear from the beginning that they weren't into labels like step-brother. "I believe that I took the lead from the big kids because really right away without being asked, they called Ralph their little brother," she tells Tenety. "They'd be, oh, this my little brother, and they've never said step-brother and they've never called the baby their half-brother, and kids don't naturally think about love in degrees."

Neither does McInerney, whose heart, like the Room of Requirement in Harry Potter, has expanded in just the right way. "And I think this is different for different step moms and different situations, but I don't love these kids differently. I truly love them the same as the ones who came out of me. Their pain is my pain and their success is my success," she shares.

McInerney's family looks different than she once thought it would, but it's not broken, it is filled with love. In her second book, No Happy Endings (currently available for preorder), McInerney explains that there are no happy endings in life—but there will be new beginnings.

It's a message so many mamas who want to move forward, but not move on, need to hear.

To hear more about McInerney experiences in motherhood and blending her family, listen to The Motherly Podcast, sponsored by Prudential, for the full interview.

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