Thursday, July 5, 2012

On Becoming Auntwise


My sis opted for the 2nd trimester ultrasound:

You know that book, On Becoming Babywise? I used to think to myself....what is the allure? Why would a parent want someone to tell her exactly what, how, why and when to do something? Where is the common sense? If your baby cries, pick him up. If your baby roots, latch him on. If your baby gets too cold, snuggle him close in your sling. You don't need a book to tell you what to do and how to do it! And you especially don't need one that encourages you to ignore your gut instinct and your child.

Then, Purple Sister let me in on a great secret.

My favoritest, bestest, closest sister (don't tell my other sisters lol) and friend in life is having a baby! Suddenly, I panicked.

Yup, Guggie panicked.

What am I supposed to do? When? Why? It's like the Busytown Mystery theme song. Who, what, when, why, how and where?

How do I share without invading?

How do I advise without pushing?

How do I warn without scaring?

See, I'm used to giving out advise and sharing information and yes, even warning others. But, I do this for parents who ASK. I share with parents who, through fate/God's will, find me in this tiny corner of the internet and want to know more. We have the vast distance of the internet to keep autonomy and privacy in the hands of the parents. They can PM me, then move on if they don't want or need to hear what I have to say.

But, a close family member? Someone I love so deeply, it hurts just to close my eyes and imagine the bullying and abuse I hear about daily, occurring to her? Someone who is making me an auntie? (I refuse to close my eyes and imagine her little baby being hurt!) How do I take care to maintain her personal boundaries and autonomy in such an intimate space? How do I show respect for my new brother in law, and take into account his personal experiences?

What tough territory! To make it all worse, I wear the Big Sister logo on my shirt. Those who are a Big Sister, or who have a Big Sister might already be nodding your heads with understanding. It's a horrible logo that makes you seem as if you are just being the boss.

(And, hey, maybe when you were 8 years old, that was true!) 
So, I want the book, On Becoming Auntwise. I want someone to tell me what to say, when to say it, how to say it and why. I want a big book of instructions on how to navigate this new, exciting, slightly terrifying stage in life. I want a so-called expert to point from his pedestal, telling lowly-me exactly how to live my life.

(Hopefully no one passed out there.)

Really, can't someone make this easy? Why does life have to be so difficult, and slightly awkward?

Finally, after praying about it, and complaining to my husband about it, and fretting about it, and going overboard buying things for her, I've decided to take a deep breath and just be who I am. She's got to live with me for the rest of our collective lives, anyways, and she knows who I am, so who am I kidding? If she wants to disown me, so be it. I can take a clue, sometimes.

Let's be honest here.

Don't be cray-cray, Purple Sister! You are an amazing, beautiful, strong and healthy person. You are stronger than you think, and you won't even know what those words mean until your baby slides into your hands (or your husband's hands). So, just trust me on that part. Your body works! YOU WORK.

Don't listen to them. And by them, I mean anyone who is trying to say you can't do it or that they need to do it for you. You're going to hear these things, I absolutely guarantee it. You've probably already heard them. Maybe even in your own head, like a silent, dark tugging, pulling you down. Don't listen to them, because:

You are not too fat.

Your hips are not too small.

You don't need a surgeon for your normal birth.

Your boobs work, and they will make enough for your baby.

I hesitate. I know things such as routine circumcision and routine vaccination are not part of our childhood culture, nor are they part of your peace-loving personality. But, they need to be talked about, too, because I know what others will say in an attempt to shout out your instinct and inner mama voice.

Your baby is not defective.

Your baby is not defective, I mean it.

Your baby needs you.

Your baby needs you, really.

And baby needs daddy.

There are too many things to mention! And so much to learn, it's gonna take you months. Good thing you have about 9 months. Closer to 10. 

We have so much to talk about. I have to tell you that the moby wrap sucks and I know you'll think the same. It's too hot and too stretchy and too expensive. I bet you'd love a ringsling or boba. The ergo probably doesn't fit you because you're taller.  And there's stuff about ultrasounds and avoiding labels during pregnancy and intervention at the end. And carseats!!!

Oh, by the way. I have a birth pool for you.

And a lot of other stuff. A lot. I might have gone overboard, a little, maybe. I'm glad you love Ina's book. But, there's more on the way!

Carly Rae Jepsen's new song suffices here.

Who are we kidding, we know it's gonna be true.

This aunt stuff is hard. A little awkward and scary. But, you know what? It's a lot of fun, too. My closest sister and bestest friend is crossing that bridge to motherhood. I've already got shower and blessingway ideas. And some organic dark chocolate, and a bottle of wine for later. And (I can hear my friends laughing) I HAVE MAGNESIUM! Call me, maybe?

1 comment:

  1. No great advice here. My sister had her babies before me, one just turned 4, the other is 3 weeks older than my little guy. I cringe, cry, and try to gently give parenting advice as much as I can. However, we are very different people with very different outlooks. That being said, my sister and I are very close and I love my nieces very much :o) Sometimes you have to sit back and let your siblings make their own choices, even if you don't agree with them. Its hard. (I am the older sister too :D)