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The Birth of a Sisterhood

When I was pregnant with baby number 2, I often wondered how D, my daughter, a hereto sweet little girl will react to the new baby? She was almost seven. This 6+ year gap was not intentional. I needed time to recover from our first pregnancy and we decided on a three-year gap. But nature gave us six.

The instant we got the green signal from our gynecologist I began to pore over pregnancy websites. I specifically read up on introducing a new baby to an older child, sibling rivalry, the pros and cons of a 5+ year age gap between kids, and how a new baby will affect an older child. The more I read, the more I wavered between confidence and fear.

My only comfort was that my daughter had been asking for a sibling ever since she started play school. We lived in an older neighborhood where most of the residents were retirees and she didn’t have any playmates nearby. My D had always wanted a sister, had a penchant for dolls, hence the demand.

So one evening we sat her down and told her about our little bump. She listened...and simply said "OK". She didn’t talk or ask me anything about the pregnancy in the following days. I was particularly concerned because after we told D about the pregnancy, she never talked about it to anyone outside the family. But as days passed and my bump grew, she became invested. She would watch my bump for the next kick or the bounce. The little acrobat inside at times managed to make her gasp in wonder, while I groaned.

Soon, it was birthing time.

The day baby number 2 was born we gave D gifts from all of us. A photo album filled with pictures right from her birth, a cross-body purse, and chocolates (a tip from a mom and baby article). D wanted to be with me and I let her cuddle on the hospital bed. At the end of visiting hours, she was hesitant to leave. She wanted to spend the night with me and the baby. The first day she stood in awe of the baby. By the second day, she was more confident and wanted to hold her. We let her and she beamed, a look of pure wonderment and happiness on her face.

The change in D was amazing. Overnight she morphed into a wise, nurturing little person. A happy helper when I needed a minute. She was not only attentive to the baby but to her mother also. One evening, I was too tired to do anything much, my energy was lagging. ‘Amma’, my little girl came to me with a plate of sandwich ‘I made a sandwich for you'. My mother’s heart burst! A sweet parenting moment that makes all those sleepless nights and hazy days worth it.

This said I am not saying everything was smooth sailing. Once the novelty wore off, she realized that having a baby at home was not always fun. The baby was demanding and time-consuming, taking up Amma’s time and attention. But we managed to muddle through.

Fast forward one and a half years, and we have two little girls, sisters through and through. There are silly squabbles and petty jealousies. More importantly, love and affection.

Our baby girl M is fascinated by her little sister. No one can coerce baby to laugh out loud like my little girl. It is peals of laughter and we smile with her. Our little D is the baby's first playmate. The baby has taught our D empathy, tenderness and has woken up her protective instinct. My girls have gifted each other the treasures of sisterhood...❤️

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