I never had much of a meaning for the term “angel” until my sister arrived in my bedroom at five in the morning after a seven-hour drive to be by my side right after I had just given birth for the first time. She had driven up just a week before, too. Midway through her drive, I told her that this looks like a false alarm, yet she continued to drive up anyway. I felt guilty for pulling the alarm, but I was scared and confused and anxious — and she got it. She has two kids of her own, a partner, and a crazy work schedule… but she was there.
She has two kids of her own, a partner, and a crazy work schedule… but she was there.
Then when it was really go time the following week, not only was she there again, but she took all the weight off our shoulders that comes with the first postpartum week for both myself and my husband. She washed all our towels (we had a home birth), deconstructed the birthing tub with my husband, ran to get bedside snacks, and not making me think more than I wanted to (the ultimate gift!).
She was constantly reminding me of how I needed to rest and not over do it — over and over and over — and held me when I cried from feeling frustrated by that. She sat me down kindly when breastfeeding wasn’t going so well and helped me learn how to pump for the first time. To me, she is and will always be my angel because of the love and generosity she showed me through this incredibly vulnerable experience.
This is often something a mother can do for their daughter as they become a mom themselves for the first time, but our mother hasn’t been alive for over 20 years. I had already accepted long ago that I won’t have that bonding mother-daughter experience when my first child came, but I felt like I did have that experience in my sister.
To me, an angel shows you love you didn’t even know you needed or could have. An angel asks for nothing in return (even when they SO totally deserved the same treatment but you’re the younger sibling and didn’t have kids then and you had no flipping clue how unhelpful you were… but they forgive and love you anyway). An angel walks you through a tough time you have no idea how to navigate and they show you that you are not alone. Elisa, I’m so fortunate to have you as my sister and my angel — I love you.
Comments on A love letter to my postpartum angel, my sister
My sisters were my pregnancy/post partum angels. One was at the birth, giving me all kinds of support. I can remember her coming in the shower with me after the baby was born and helping me to get cleaned up-it was an act of incredible love and care. My other sister came after the birth to take care of me by cooking, providing emotional support, and running interference with my in-laws. I don’t think I could have managed to cope without them.
Sisterhood, blood or not, is powerful. <3
Oh, I love this! My older sister’s name is Elisa too, and you might be an Al(l)ison, and our mom died 25 years ago. The only reason my sister didn’t come to me when I was pregnant is that I was living on another continent at the time. (Also, I had both my kids before she had hers, but that’s trivial.)
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