My sister had a baby. My best friend, the one person who I thought was very likely to never have one, had one. She didn’t even ask if she could – she just did it, and I was completely blindsided.
Both of us are very independent women, we’ve never been the ‘clucky’ type, and up until the moment she told me that she was pregnant, I thought we were very happy being those people.
I remember the moment clearly, it was a few days before Christmas 2015 and we, the gang (my husband, her husband, my sister and myself) were having breakfast. We were having a laugh and a joke as we always do and I was in the middle of thinking two things; 1) how much I love when the four of us are together, and 2) how awesome my avocado was (it’s always such a lovely surprise to have a great avocado!) and then BOOM, the baby bomb was dropped. At first, it was a quiet explosion that went off in my head and I can remember thinking, ‘what about my awesome avocado!’ and then, the gravity of what I had just been told started to sink in. I could feel tears come from somewhere and in the blink of an eye (literally) my world changed. It was seriously that fast. Within 5 seconds of being told, I couldn’t wait to meet her (I knew she was going to be a girl in that very moment and I instantly named her Lola – that was not the name that was chosen in the end much to my dismay!)…
Something strange happens to you when someone you love dearly tells you they are having a baby. My sister is my very best friend, I love her strength and her spirit, I love her humour and most of all I love that she is mine. Having a sister is probably the best thing my parents gave me, (well they gave me to her, she is older than me – so really, I guess I am the gift!). Don’t get me wrong, we despised each other growing up. I was the annoying little sister and she was the older sister who never had time for me. We fought terribly, and if you’d told me at 17 that my sister would be the one person in the world that I couldn’t live without when I was older, I’d have called you a liar to your face, and yet here I was many years later falling in love with the tiny jelly bean she had created.
And love it was. Instantly. Unconditional. Fierce and real.
I shared my sisters pregnancy as much as I could. We spoke every day, I was given weekly ‘belly’ shots and I went to visit as much as I could. It was very interesting to watch my sister become a mum. Even though her daughter hadn’t been born, she was changing and it was beautiful to see. My sister doesn’t give too much away, she isn’t an over-sharer like me, she’s more subtle with her words and actions, but I know her well and I saw all of them. Not only did her belly grow, but her heart did, too.
I thought about many things while my sister was pregnant, things like, how will this change things for me? How will the four of us, who are so close, handle a fifth member to the tribe? Will my sister like being a mum? Am I ready for things to change?
What I realised during this time is that mostly, we are never really ready for change, it just comes, in waves and so, we just have to ride it and see what shore we end up on.
I ended up crashing onto the shores of the birthing room. My sister had, early on in her pregnancy, asked me to be there when she had the baby and of course I said, yes. What else do you say when someone asks you that? Yes was my answer and while I could not have really been prepared for that moment in time, I’m so glad I was there. My sisters husband was also there, and wow, what a man he is. He did not stumble once. I saw the two of them in a beautiful new light and I had all the confidence that the two of them, soon to be three, could take on the world and win.
I didn’t think it would be possible for me to think my sister was any more amazing than I already did, but as always, she never ceases to amaze me. What a mighty human and a wonderful role model she will be for my niece. There were moments that I thought she’d say she’d had enough, and couldn’t do it, say that it was too hard. Nope. Not once. It was a full on experience and not the easiest birth, it was a little traumatic at times and not what I hoped the experience would be for her, but she never gave up. She had that baby there, in the birthing suite, amidst talk of a ceasearian and the added pressure and fear that brought along with it.
She was brave, and then, she was a mum.
The moment that little person was born was incredible. I saw her little face, (those tears came from somewhere again) and I knew, nothing I had worried about would matter, I felt like I already knew her and we were going to be great friends.
My sister has allowed herself to fall in love with this tiny human and that she probably been the best thing to see happen. It’s not always the most ‘natural’ thing to become a mother. For some it takes time, for others it is like putting on a comfy old shoe. Women have so many tough decisions to make when it comes to motherhood, I really do think we need to appreciate what they give up in order to have a family. I continue to be impressed with how she handles motherhood, she is so capable.
The tiny human is three months old now and all of the lead up, the birth, the days that followed feel like a fond, but distant memory. She is smiling and laughing and almost rolling over. She’s incredible.
My heart has expanded to a size that I didn’t realise was possible and that’s probably something I didn’t foresee happening as intensely as it has. Sure, I knew I would love her, but even I am surprised by just how much. Because she is my sisters baby, I love her like she was mine. No one told me how intense that would be. No one warned me that she would be all I talked about, or she’d now be what I spend all my money on, that my screen saver and all the memory on my phone would be consumed with pictures of her, or that I’d be excited about the prospect of baby sitting.
Who would have thought!