When my sister was pregnant and the grief over my childlessness was so consuming, I was consoled by the fact that I would, at least, be an Aunty.
Over two years in and it is clear I was so consumed with my grief and loss, that I didn’t fully grasp that Aunt Life would have its challenges too.
I cannot, it seems, play with my nephew in any capacity. I cannot read to him. The enthusiasm required to hold a conversation with a toddler is lacking. I cannot go out for walks, even with mobility aids. I cannot babysit him alone. I can rarely babysit him with help.
I remember trying to play ‘peek a boo’ with him before my relapse last September. I could manage only 3 goes of pulling the duvet back from where he was hiding and giggling. He was desperate to carry on but my arm had given all it’d got and my voice was lost from the effort of speaking aloud.
My second nephew was born last month and now that he’s grown to 9lbs, he is now uncomfortably heavy for me despite my desperation to hold him.
And it hurts. It’s disappointing.
When they’re a little older, we will, as a family, tackle the ‘Aunty Anna isn’t very well’ bit. But for now my two year nephew is too young to know anything more than “Aunty Anna doesn’t play with me”.