Almost two years ago, I became a mom. And almost two weeks ago, I became an aunt. Both beautiful occurrences that have filled my heart to overflowing. It’s been interesting to reflect on things and think about the differences. So many instances in my younger sister’s pregnancy/labor/new mamahood made me remember how I was feeling less than twenty-four months ago. This time, I was the (slightly) older, (slightly) wiser woman with experiences of my own to share. In fact, something I had to be careful of was to not overshare! I know as women we love to share our pregnancy and labor stories with each other, and it’s amazing how vibrantly we remember some of the details — well, amazing and terrifying! I guess pushing a tiny human out of your body is just something that really sticks with you! Anyways, I had to remind myself pretty often to not overshadow my sister’s experiences with my own. It can be easy to do when you’re the oldest sibling and the first to go through everything, but I also knew that her experience wouldn’t be exactly like mine, and I wanted to give her the chance to soak it all in — the good and the difficult.
Probably the biggest difference in becoming a mom and becoming an aunt was that I didn’t get to make all the decisions or even any of the decisions! So much of impending motherhood involves making choices from the very beginning: will I find out the gender or do I want to be surprised? Will I drink caffeine or die a slow, uncaffeinated death? Will I eat lunchmeat? Should I give birth at home? Should I have a doula? Do I want an epidural? Am I going back to work or stay home when the baby comes? And the thing about being the aunt and not getting to make any of these decisions is…it’s great! It’s very freeing. You get to be along for the ride and listen to all of your sister’s stories and worries and joys, but you don’t have the burden of making decisions. All you have to do is lend an ear and a smile, and advice if they want it. If this is what being an aunt means, then I’m all for it.
Another difference, in my case, was the shopping. I’m pretty sure I’ve already bought more for my niece than I’ve ever bought for my son. I had the first grandchild on both sides, and we were blessed to receive so, so many things for him. But for my niece, it has been so much fun to spend time browsing the baby section for all things pink, gold, glittery, cheetah print, bows, you name it! Little girl clothes and accessories are SO CUTE. For myself, I wanted a boy and was overjoyed to get one. But I have loved getting to buy all the sweet little girly things for my sister’s baby girl. It’s a whole different world from boy clothes!