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Witnessing Births, Witnessing Transformations

As a 4-year-old, I may not remember the specific details of my brother and sister’s births, but I truly recall those days, how they made me feel as a little girl, and how they have impacted me throughout my life, which is in the end what truly matters. When my mom found out that she was having another baby, I remember innocently telling the first person we met afterwards with such excitement, and my mom quietly nodding, confirming the news. As her pregnancy progressed, my parents showed me videos of different home births and explained the possible scenarios that I might witness. They explained that if my mom seemed uncomfortable or in pain, I need not worry because it was part of the process. At the same time, when a birth scene came up in a movie or on the TV, my mom never missed an opportunity to tell me that it was not real and that most births did not look like that. 

One day, my father came to pick me up early at school and told me that my brother was arriving that day. When we got home, there was the midwife, my parent’s best friend, and my godmother. I just remember my house being very quiet and calm. As I saw my mom navigating through her contractions and my dad supporting her, I just felt at ease and excited that I was going to meet my baby brother soon. On January 28, 1996, I became a big sister, a role that I have always carried with great pride and responsibility, and which is very much ingrained in my identity. 

My sister was born the next year. It was April 17, 1997, and in addition to the people who attended the first birth, there were other family members in our home, some of whom did not consider it appropriate for me to be in the room while my mother gave birth, contrary to my parents’ wishes. I remember crying from the other side of the door because I was not by my mom’s side, like I was the first time. Soon after, my parents called me in, and I met my baby sister. As I put on her yellow onesie, fulfilling a desire to be the first to dress her, I remember feeling so grown-up and important because, from that moment on, I got to help take care of her and my brother. 

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