“B will be a great mommy for her baby. Because she makes me feel happy when there are monsters.”
I love the way my nephew puts things to words. So much so that I kept a running list of all his adorable sayings throughout my pregnancy. It’s been a joy to watch your wild child grow in his excitement over my baby coming to the world. Touching my belly, asking to talk to her and feel her kick, asking when (and how) B’s baby would come out. Now that she’s here, I guess we all know that things have changed a bit.
I persistently (perhaps annoyingly) require the boys to wash their hands before they touch the baby, trying (and perhaps failing) to stifle my anxiety over their school-kid, dig-in-the-dirt germs. I can’t play with them like I used to because the baby needs me. And it’s harder for me to go places with you, sister. A crying baby and a blowout are all it takes to send me back to the car.
But who am I kidding? Things started changing as soon as I got pregnant.
When I first announced my pregnancy, you were perhaps the most excited. “I knew it! I knew it!” you shouted over and over. You were so excited you couldn’t hold still, pacing the kitchen with joy. And yes, you had known it – you were right about my weak stomach and unexpected tears during car commercials. My dreams of motherhood were coming true at last!
Throughout my pregnancy journey, I vented to you, a lot. Stress, bloating, fatigue, nausea, constipation, mood swings, you name it. It was nine months of continual change and adaptation, softened by your maternity hand-me-downs. But all the discomfort was nothing compared to the extreme intensity of labor and delivery. Again, I chronicled my experiences to you. We communicated throughout the three-plus days leading up to the birth until I could not communicate anymore. And when my baby and I finally emerged victorious, and I called you to show you her face for the first time, I could tell you were deeply moved and deeply joyful.
Now I like to tell you about the little things.
The things I am learning about being a mother. The new ways I am learning to be a wife. Her sleeping patterns, her likes and dislikes. Trials and successes with breastfeeding and bottles. Exhaustion and burnout. How beautiful and difficult it all is.
A year ago, you wrote about your ambivalence towards my future as a mother. You were worried how things might change and whether I might outshine you. We haven’t always been close, and we haven’t always gotten along (I imagine that’s pretty normal for sisters). And things have certainly changed since I got pregnant, even more so since my bundle of joy arrived. I’m no longer just an aunt and a sister, I’m also a mother.
That new identity has definitely taken the lead. But hopefully, you see now that, if anything, my becoming a mother has only bonded us more strongly as sisters. And together we can make the changes a bit easier, by doing things like swapping kids so I can play with your boys again, sharing clothes, sharing ideas, and sharing experiences. It’s so good to become a mom with your sister by your side.