Labor (Pains) Day: Giving Birth With My Mother And My Sister By My Side

As we all know, giving birth for the first time is a little scary. Sure, it’s natural and women have been doing it for centuries, but that doesn’t mean a whole lot when you feel like the bottom half of your body is trying to wrench itself from the top. At that point in time, you really need to have people that you love and trust supporting you.

For most women, they have their spouse or partner. Even if the guy has no idea what to do, he can feed her ice chips and rub her shoulders, right? He can say adorably reassuring things and fail at distracting her while she curses his name. I don’t know. I actually have no idea what a caring father does during their child’s delivery. My daughter’s dad slept through my labor. Well, he slept through everything in the beginning, all the contractions and nerves and IVs. By the time the epidural came around, I had thrown every spare pillow I had across the room. I kicked Bedtime Bear out and clung to my sister as the anesthesiologist  put in my epidural.

I had two amazing people who mean to the world to me in my delivery room. My mother and my sister held my hand and tucked my hair behind my ear. They helped me breathe and told me when to push. The talked me through my delivery better than any doula could have. I didn’t have the love of my life sitting behind me, in awe of my strength. But I did have the two people who know me best.

I had been with my sister during her delivery, but so was her husband. It felt different. I was with my sister because I love and care for her and she couldn’t shoo me out of the room. My sister was with me because I didn’t have anyone else. I mean, I’m sure she wanted to be there, too. Or if she didn’t, she would never admit it to me. But the fact is that my amazing family stepped up when my daughter’s dad bowed out. To be honest, they’ve been doing it ever since.

It seems fitting that my mother and sister were the ones with me through Brenna’s birth. My daughter sees them more than her father, feels closer to them than her father and knows them better than her father. They haven’t missed a single step as my daughter gets older. This weekend, when we go pick apples from an orchard, my mother and sister will be there. When my little one turns four this winter, those two will be there to sing “Happy Birthday.” And years from now, when she needs to talk to someone besides her mother about a boy she likes or when she stars in a school play, my mom and sister will be there. I’m so fortunate that my family has fulfilled what could have been a void in her life.

Of course, my husband will do those things too and my daughter has never felt like she was missing out on a positive male presence. But the women in my family have a very special connection. Even though it didn’t happen the way most people expect it to, I’m glad that I got to share the most wonderful moment of my life with the two women who have meant the most to me. And if I get pregnant again, even though I’m married to a man who worried dream of snoozing through childbirth, I’ll still want my mother and sister with me.

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