I've always been extremely vocal about not wanting to have children. I've never been the “type,” if there is one.
That isn't to say moms don't come in all kinds of fun flavors, but I know I'm not one of them.
I didn't realize how true that statement was until my baby sister got pregnant last year and later welcomed my handsome baby nephew into the world in November. I'm now an aunt to this tiny human I will forever have in my life and will, at some point in time, have the responsibility to care for.
If you had told me at the age of 25 I would be an aunt to the amazing little bundle of joy I call my nephew, I would have laughed. Growing up in a pretty conservative, strict household, I always envisioned marriage and children — the adulting aspects of life — would come later.
Like, I'd be able to open a college savings for my nephew because I'd be that established in my career and life. The reality is, at the age of 25, I'm not only not able to open a savings account for him (since I'm a struggling graduate student), but I'm also not even in the same state as him.
When I got to go home, seeing my mother and sister interact with my nephew was the most beautifully bewildering experience of my life. I marveled at my sister with her patience, joy, love and adoration for this tiny human who wants everything.
He needs to be fed, to be changed and to be held. And he cries. It's quite overwhelming.
Had I had friends who had children? Sure, it's not like I was foreign to the concept of being around kids, but those kids don't reside in your home, so it's different. I never experienced the strain of a baby crying at 3 am or seeing my sister so exhausted I wanted to cry for her. I was exhausted just watching her go through her day-to-day activities that had to now incorporate my nephew.
Every time I go back home to my sister, I walk away from it with so much respect for her and my friends with children.
It's hard. It's so hard to not be selfish and to make every choice and decision around this little life. If anything, it has cemented the concept that I know I don't want to have children at any point in my near future. Because if I'm being very honest, I'm selfish.
Judge me if you'd like, but I'll admit that. I like doing what I want to do, going where I want to go, answering to no one and just being free.
Having children requires you to let go of all your own selfishness. It's not about you anymore; it's about them. It's the most beautiful, selfless act I have had the pleasure of seeing my sister exhibit, but I know I don't want that right now.
I aspire to be the best aunt in the world and build my career and life so I can give him the best of everything. I want to give him the world and I love him, and if I'm not a mother, that's OK. He fulfills that void in my life.
If I had any blip of a motherly instinct, I'll fulfill it when I get to babysit him and maybe even take him off my sister's hands for a summer when he's older.
Motherhood isn't for everyone, but that doesn't mean I can't be the best aunt I can be.