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Mothers, Sisters, and Love

My sister came over last night. She's pregnant. Like really pregnant. No, you still do not get it, she's about the most pregnant lady I've ever met and she's about to POP. Like now. And, as most women I've known in her situation, she's kind of freaking out.

Those who know me, know that I can be pretty intense. When I do something, I never do it halfway. Ever. This is a feature I've noticed in the women of my family on my mother's side. My mother was good at everything she did, and if she could not do it perfectly, she did not do it. She was a very talented seamstress, and I remember watching her put in a seam to rip it right out, not once, but several times, because it was not just right. Her mom has some serious iron stubborn craziness, too (and you know I love you, and have boat-loads of respect you, Grandma). She gets things done. This goes for my aunts as well. We're a very special kind of crazy, and we lean a little to the obsessive side. I give you this background because Tiff was in a special kind of intense way in this moment and I recognized it because I've been in exactly the same spot.

She wanted a natural childbirth. I had all three of my babies without medication. I got the idea from a friend who had done the same thing. I researched everything. I completely indoctrinated myself in natural childbirth, the whys, the tips and tricks, and the benefits for mother and baby. I knew exactly what I wanted and how I wanted it to happen, and I was so incredible blessed that it turned out even better than I could have imagined. All of my babies were healthy, and beautiful. I did not need any pain killers to bring them into this world. Tiff wants exactly that, exactly the way I did it. But, of course, she's worried that she'll cave. She's not sure how she'll handle the pain, because no one on the face of this planet really knows, until you're in that moment, how you will handle that much pain. Some women say it does not really hurt, and they are blessed above all women. Mine did. A lot.

Tiff's been reading blogs 24/7, and she's on Pinterest, and she's worried her head off. I've read these books, and these blogs, and I KNOW proponents of whatever method out there mean well. But, I have a bone to pick with anyone trying to convince anyone of anything when they use fear, guilt or shame as a tool. Women are good enough at feeling guilty, worried, and fearing for their children. We do not need any help. And anyway they do it inadvertently … I sincerely hope so.

So my sister sat at my table last night and worried about how she can be more prepared, and who will deliver her baby, and whether she should be looking for another doctor … I sat and listened for a few minutes because this is what we are supposed to do when someone we love is bothered. I thought at first maybe she just needed to talk it out. Then I realized that she was spiraling, and I knew exactly what to do. I stopped her, and reminded her that whatever happens, her baby will come into this world to the most loving parents and family. He will be beautiful, he will be perfect, she will love him, she and her son will be in capable hands, and her husband and I will be right there to support her, no matter what. She will heal, as women have always done. She will bond with her baby, as women have always done. And these things will happen whether or not she has medication, or an epidural during her labor. And because I knew it was on her mind, as it is always on my mind, I told her our mom would be there. That she would be with her just as surely as I would be.

The relief on her face was palpable. I'm not very good at comforting people in distress. Which is to say I just suck at it. I so wish I was a natural comforter. I never seem to know what to do. But, I think I did okay this time.

When my mother was dying I worried that as the oldest, I would need to take care of my siblings, even though we were all grown. I knew I could not. She knew I felt that way, even though I never voiced that concern. She told me I did not have to take care of them, that I should not take that on myself. As it turns out, I was not in any way way to take care of much of anything after she died. Not myself, and not anyone else. I simply could not worry about it, because I was in my own overwhelming world of hurt. I still can not do just what my mother would have done, but I hope that I was an acceptable substitute in that moment. We fought a little together, and I was so, so deeply grateful for my sister, and for our mother who taught us to hold on to each other, even – especially – after she is gone.

Life is too short by far for fear and worry. Love wins every time. I am more and more excited every day to meet my new nephew. I am more and more excited every day for my little sister to become a mother, and begin the most unimaginable, challenging, and rewarding journey of a lifetime: parenthood.


Source by Elizabeth Spencer

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