I have a niece.

Yesterday, at 38 weeks pregnant, my sister delivered her baby. It’s a girl, though none of us knew that until the birth. She has the same middle name as Cupcake, which makes me grumble a little, but whatever. I waited on pins and needles all day yesterday, and then finally at 8pm, my brother-in-law phoned with the news. And after I said my congratulations and wished them all well, gave them all my love, did and said all the things I was supposed to, I hung up and felt my chest rip open with immense sadness.

It was completely unexpected and I can’t quite explain it. But I think it has something to do with this: my sister wanted a little girl desperately. So much so that she talked of adopting one down the road if she never had the chance to give birth to one. She would watch my daughter longingly and say wistfully, “This is why I want a girl so much.” So I should be happy — thrilled — for her, shouldn’t I? But you know what? In that moment, as I heard the news, I was not. I think a part of me wanted her to have a boy because then, I would still have the one thing that she wanted the most.

My sister’s life is not perfect. I know this. She has struggled with cutting herself, bulimia, depression, anxiety, and was taking meds for all of this until she got pregnant. She and her husband also have an enormous amount of debt (more debt than our house is worth!). But beyond that, I have always coveted what she has. A better house. A Master’s degree. A childhood that is not shadowed by sexual abuse. A father she respects and has a good relationship with. Fertility. It’s not fair that so many things have come so easy for her and, here again, she got exactly what she wanted: a baby girl. It’s just not fair and, instead of being happy for her, I felt sorry for myself.

I know this makes me a horrible sister. I know it puts me in a very ugly light and it feels like a brave thing to do to admit to how I feel. A very big part of wanted to ignore these feelings, or lie about them, but this is the one place I am completely honest, with myself and with everyone else. I am not proud of the way I felt, but I make no excuses for it either. It is what it is. My relationship with Sis is so complicated and I am just beginning to realize all the pain that still lies under the surface and all the muck there is to wade through before I am truly healed.

But please, make no mistake: I will still love this niece of mine. I hold no contempt towards her or her mother. Even today, with a little distance from the news, I am feeling better, happier, more ready to embrace the addition to our very unique family. Next weekend, we will take a road trip to meet the baby. I am excited to do so, but anxious as well. I am not sure what kind of hard feelings holding a newborn will bring up for me. It will, in fact, be my first time holding a baby since my loss and seems like a very big step to take.

My one consolation in all of this is the baby that continues to flourish inside of me. Skittle is the one who is holding me together right now, keeping my heart from being too heavy, allowing me to welcome my niece with joy. I heard the heartbeat with the doppler again today and so I can now face another baby shower this weekend with hope and relief. I am happy to carry this baby for thirty more weeks or so (please please please let it be thirty), but I cannot wait to hold this child in my arms. Hearing my sister’s birth story has only made me more desperate for another of my own. For my own child to enter this world in the same health and great expectation. I want that with every cell in my body. And I know I can do anything, I can get through this pregnancy and a cousin’s shower and holding a newborn that isn’t mine, as long as Skittle is okay.

And right now, s/he is and so I will go on.

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16 thoughts on “I have a niece.

  1. When Sis and I were pregnant with Lil G and Ladybug I really wanted to be having a girl and for her to have another boy, because she already had two boys and I wanted my baby to be the MOST special. Then I had a boy and she had a girl and the pregnancy hormones cleared and none of us could be any happier with the way it worked out. The point? Pregnancy hormones make you think and feel strange things, it’s not right or wrong, it just is. There’s no sense to judge yourself on these feelings. They don’t make you a good or bad person.

  2. You’re feelings towards your sister aren’t ones that each of us has…you’re just showing strength by putting the out there, so others can learn, listen, and know we’re not alone. We are human, and God doesn’t expect us to have the perfect responses and feelings every time. He knows we’re put on earth to face challenges, temptations, and upset, and he hopes we find the strength and support to carry on in faith. As you hear your skittle’s heartbeat with the Doppler, know that this is a small way God is letting you know he’s here beside you, supporting you, helping carry the load. Just take each day as another gift, every step you face a step of faith and hope. Prayers your way!

  3. You are not a terrible sister at all. In fact you are a wonderful, loving, caring, selfless one. Everyone feels these awful feelings, but not many people are aware of them and treat others badly. You take the time to not only recognize them, but acknowledge them! You are human. And a really terrific one at that.

    Keep holding into the fact that Skittle is perfect and you have two things I want most- a daughter and a niece! I have two nephews. Uuuugh!!!! Lol 😉

    Seriously, try not to beat yourself up, sweetie.

    Sent from my Samsung Galaxy II

    • Thank you so much. Your words really mean a lot. And I REALLY hope you get that daughter you want. Like really, really, really. Still praying and hoping for you!

  4. These feelings don’t make you a horrible sister. You’ve been through something your sister hasn’t. I imagine she’d have similar feelings if roles were reversed. Personally, I’m starting to feel less guilty about the “mean” feelings I have, as long as I handle it well outwardly. We feel what we feel, but we know better than to react to those feelings in a hurtful way. I’m glad you have that baby in your belly to make this time a little easier. And having a niece is awesome!

  5. last year when my sister in law “accidentally” got pregnant and knew we were trying, i was hurt. actually i was pissed and took it personally. and i knew she secretly wanted a girl, and i prayed and prayed and prayed it would be a boy. i just didn’t want her to have another single thing i didn’t. i found out we were expecting 4 days before she went into labor (they didn’t find out the gender during the pregnancy), and i knew it was truly a blessing from God for me to not sink into a depression over the baby’s birth. she had a boy. i know it wouldn’t have really mattered in the end, but yes, i was glad. so, the moral of the story is, i TOTALLY get those feelings. and they are ok. and you are normal.

  6. Try not to feel too bad all your feelings are totally valid and it takes a lot of strength to be honest about the dark and ugly feelings but that’s the only way to take away some of their power.

    • I totally think you’re right. By trying to understand why I was so upset by the birth of my niece, and by acknowledging my feelings, it has totally helped to diminish them. Just a few days later, I hardly even care now.

  7. You are not a bad sister at all for feeling that. My cousin’s wife got pregnant right away and has been saying she “only” could handle a girl and that is all she wants. I hope every single day she gets boy. When people get some things so easily (like the pregnancy) that don’t come easily to you, sometimes you just want them to have one aspect of it that is “hard”.

  8. When I lost my daughter at 8 weeks, all of my friends were either already pregnant or getting pregnant. Each time they revealed genders I really hoped they would have boys, but alas they are girls. It’s hard, especially with all you’ve been through. Way to be brave about acknowledging the hard stuff. I really wanted to but dang it, my IRL friends read my blog so I can’t even vent about it there!

    • Thank you for the support. And no one can blame you for holding back on your blog if people you actually know are reading it! I think it would be impossible NOT to censor yourself in that case.

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