I had kids around the same time as my sister who is 10 years my junior. While she was just going along the naturally planned trajectory of her life, I had my children after a long battle with unexplained infertility. During her first pregnancy she asked me, a new mom, all sorts of questions like how I coped with nausea and vomiting, what vitamins she should take and when she might start to feel the baby move. She would text and call and swing by to borrow my pregnancy books and maternity clothes.
This was an extra special experience for me, something that I thought would never be part of my reality. The notion of someone asking ME for pregnancy advice at one point in my life seemed as likely as walking on the moon. I was the woman who for so long, stood behind the glass while everyone she knew, became pregnant and gave birth. While I remained frozen in time, I watched my peers having their first, second and sometimes third child. I was stuck on earth at the same time that they were off experiencing the miracles of the universe. Well, I did get to walk on the moon… twice and I have two beautiful sons to show for it.
Counseling my youngest sister through her pregnancies while thrilling, also stirred up some sad feelings for me. She is not my only sister. I have three other ones, two of which had children while I was in a very dark place - a place where it was hard for me to be happy for them. Despite the joy and excitement that a new baby brings to the entire extended family, it was as if they had to keep their pregnancies on low heat, simmering in the background while I held on, white- knuckled hoping that one day it would be my turn. I didn’t get to compare symptoms, discuss names, or research popular baby products. Being around big swollen bellies, even those that belonged to beloved family members, for me was akin to rubbing salt in a wound, one that would stay raw and open for so long. I wasn’t the best sister to them when they really could have used one and for this I will always be sorry.
When the babies were born, it got easier. There were these exquisite little creatures that I got to love and pour all my maternal energy into. I was an aunt before I was a mother, and I am grateful for all those special moments with my nieces and nephews.
I want to thank my sisters, as well as my sister-in-law and friends, for what they did for me. They offered me a life-line, helping me hang on until I was lucky enough to get to my moment. We swap stories now, and although it’s not the same, it’s still special. They stood by me during those tough months and years and now I get to experience the joy of seeing them interact with my children.
I view this relationship with my youngest sister as a sort of second chance. I can’t go back in time and be pregnant at the same time as the other two, but I can live in the moment, and accept what was my destiny. I’ve come to truly understand that a sister’s bond is a special one - friends from the beginning and friends through it all. I vow to be there for them no matter what life brings, like they were for me. After all, that’s what sisters do.
Lori is currently on a break from teaching to stay at home with her two sons, 3 and 1. She has a passion for reading and writing, enjoys a good documentary, and loves all things pop culture. She lives in Stoney Creek, Ontario with her husband and young family.
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