Shortly before losing Noelle we got a call. From my baby Brother. I remember him sounding nervous which was unlike him. He and his beautiful bride have been married for four years now. A little background….my brother is 10 years younger than I and when we were young….I did not like him. This is the truth. I was the baby when he came and was the “new” baby! It wasn’t until my late teens that I began to really appreciate having him in my life and in my 20’s became very close to him. Today I can say that other than my Husband, my little brother knows more about me than any other. I have two best friends in this world. My Husband and my brother. There is nothing I wouldn’t share with him. There is nothing I wouldn’t do for him. I have cried over the phone to him these past three years and he has listened with open ears, encouraging from afar (Montana to be exact!).
My brother and his wife became unexpectedly pregnant. They knew for some time before sharing their news with us, simply out of respect for what we were going through. I cannot imagine how difficult it was for them to tell us, knowing that we would do anything to be in their shoes! He called my Husband earlier that day to tell him first and to be sure that was a good day to share the news with me. My initial reaction was envy and jealousy. I cried. Then I laughed as it was a true shock! I didn’t see it coming although I knew they would be great parents someday I didn’t think so soon. In fact, since our older siblings children are essentially “grown-up”, we often would talk about how we were going to raise our kids at the same time, cousins growing up together!
I felt such guilt because of the way I felt. It was so very hard to keep in mind that feeling envious was simply my anger and grief at my own situation in disguise. My feelings were normal. Although I was frustrated and sad, I was genuinely excited and absolutely thrilled for this blessing. The blessing of a beautiful child for them and a new niece/nephew for me to spoil!!!
For the first time in decades (literally) my brother and I found our relationship….strained, I guess is the only way I can put it. This was simply because it was awkward for me to express excitement and to actually ask how my sister-in-law was doing with the pregnancy. It certainly wasn’t because I didn’t want to know because I did. I had so many things I wished I could say to my brother and sister-in-law but simply could not verbalize my thoughts.
I (we, as in my brother and his wife) struggled for months….literally. I have seen a Nurse Practitioner that specializes in mental health once a year since I was diagnosed with depression in 2003. She and I had a phone meeting as Adam and I were on our way to Conceptions in Denver about my situation with my brother. She reinforced that I was normal. She gave me one of the best recommendations I have ever received and I am so thankful for her. She recommended I write a letter to my brother and sister-in-law. You have to remember that although I was hurting and finding the whole “situation” difficult, they were undoubtedly also struggling. I knew that if I didn’t figure out how to cope with my feelings soon that they would be hurt by me….and that was the absolute last thing I wanted to happen. I love them so very much.
Writing them a letter and putting all of my thoughts on paper, good and bad, would help them to not only understand what was happening in my heart but would also help them to know that I was truly excited for this baby. And, to also reinforce that I held no feelings of resentment towards them whatsoever. It helped. I felt such a weight lifted and I hope they did as well. In fact, I know they did. I recommend that in any situation (even if is completely different from this one) that you are struggling with verbalizing, writing a letter is an awesome idea. Even if you never send it, writing it will be therapeutic for yourself.
Shortly after I mailed the letter, things began to return to normal between us. I was able to become more excited for this baby that was soon to come. I literally (they will vouch for me!) bought a onesie referring “I love my auntie” or some similar version for every age from newborn until age two…..IN BOTH GENDERS!!! I was out of control, I tell you! But, oh how fun it was to finally feel that excitement!
I was able to go stay with them for a week shortly after Colt was born. I wept when I held him for the first time. He was absolutely perfect. Beautiful.
To this day I am so grateful to my brother and sister-in-law for the extreme respect they showed to my Husband and I during their pregnancy. They were very selfless and patient. We love you,
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