Childless Aunt Love

by Brandi Lytle
Photo of a single light pink balloon against a pale blue sky on "Childless Aunt Love," on Not So Mommy..., an infertility & childless blog
SENSITIVE POST WITH POSSIBLE TRIGGERS:  Real, honest talk about momhood, baby showers, “p,” littles, love, infertility treatments, and more…  (Includes a photo of me holding our youngest niece when she was an infant)

One of the top searches that brings people to Not So Mommy… is “childless aunt.”  Personally, I think this is because one way we childless women redefine momhood, love with a mom heart, attempt to fill the longing is by being a special aunt–by sharing childless aunt love.

Being an aunt is not the same…

Now, there are some (perhaps many) who feel the need to express that being an aunt is not the same thing as being a mom.

Of course it isn’t.

But I would assert that being an aunt isn’t the same thing as being a childless aunt, either.

Why do I say this?

Well, because some think an aunt’s love isn’t as real or true or deep as a parent’s love.  Personally, I know that to be false.  I also know that unless you are childless and love a little that is not your own, you may not understand my feelings, my belief about childless aunt love.

Our Youngest Niece…

I’ve been thinking about Our Youngest Niece (OYN) a lot lately.  She turned 14 recently and has proudly claimed for several years that she is my favorite niece.  Our middle niece is a lot like me.  Our youngest, however…  Well, she is outgoing and spunky and can talk to anyone.  (A trait her introverted Tia wishes she possessed.)  She’s a cheerleader.  (The bane of my existence when I was in middle school!)  And she’s been a fashionista since before she could walk.  (Honestly, OYN has much more in common with my mother-in-law than with me.)  Yet, despite our differences, we have grown closer as OYN has gotten older.

Before we met…

As I thought about our relationship, I realized that my childless aunt love for OYN began before she was even born.  The third child, my sister-in-law insisted that no baby shower was needed.  Talking to my hubby, I expressed concern that as OYN got older, she’d see photos of the multiple parties we had before her oldest sister was born.  She’d also see pics of the party we had before our middle niece was born.  I was worried that OYN would wonder why we didn’t have a party for her, to celebrate that she was going to be born.

So, I planned a surprise baby shower for my sister-in-law.  Because OYN had to have a party.

Our first photo…Photo of Brandi Lytle, of Not So Mommy..., holding our youngest niece on Not So Mommy..., an infertility & childless blog

OYN was born just three short days after my endo surgery.  I was still in pain, but nothing was going to stop me from visiting her in the hospital.  This year, on her 14th birthday, I sent her the first photo ever taken of us.  I have on very little make-up (if any).  Sitting in a rocking chair, I’m holding her.  Dane had to place OYN in my arms, as I wasn’t allowed to lift anything heavier than a milk jug.

Thinking of this memory brings both joy and sorrow.  In that moment, over 14 years ago, I didn’t know that infertility treatments wouldn’t work.  I didn’t know that I’d forever be a childless aunt.  I did know that I loved this little more than words could express…

Childless Aunt Love . . .

To be honest, it’s a bit scary to love a niece or nephew so deeply.  I mean, what if that love is not returned in equal measure?  (Perhaps that’s why one of the most viewed posts here at Not So Mommy… is “The Problem with Being a Childless Aunt.”  You can read that blog here.)

But we childless aunts…  Well, we love anyway.  We hug and share special moments and pray for the kids in our lives.  We feel pride.  I smile as I think back to watching OYN at dance recitals and band concerts.  I also grin remembering difficult moments with this ornery, strong-willed kid…

Childless aunt love…  It’s not the same as any other kind of love.  And that is what makes it so beautiful.

Childless aunt love is a special kind of love.  Embrace it, fabulous one.  And don’t ever let anyone (including yourself) diminish its value.

 

Photo of a mountain rising up from the water with sunlight shining behind on "The Power in Being a Childless Aunt" on Aunt/Infertility Blog on Not So Mommy...

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Photo of blue and orange confetti on "On Being Childless: Aunt & Uncle's Day," on Not So Mommy..., an infertility & childless blog

Click image to read…

 

 

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6 comments

Katie May 12, 2024 - 10:56 am

Thank you so much for this read. It hit home and I needed this today, and everyday.

Reply
Brandi Lytle May 22, 2024 - 11:50 am

I’m grateful this post resonated with you, Katie. HUGS…

Reply
Mali July 14, 2020 - 11:47 pm

Yes, I totally agree that being a childless aunt is different to being an aunt who has her own children. I’ve written about this too – https://nokiddinginnz.blogspot.com/2014/10/gifts-of-infertility-series-17-joy-of.html

Reply
Brandi Lytle July 15, 2020 - 11:07 am

Thanks for sharing! I’ll give your post a read. 🙂

Reply
Sherry July 13, 2020 - 4:08 pm

You are THE BEST AUNT ever!!!!!!! Your nieces and nephew will be better people for having you in their lives. That’s a fact!

Reply
Brandi Lytle July 13, 2020 - 4:15 pm

Awww! THANK YOU! These sweet words made me smile! 🙂

Reply

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