Childless Aunts Are The Most Undervalued Women In America
By Sara Wylie
“You will never know what true love is until you have your own child.”
How many childless women out there have heard these words or anything along these lines in their lifetime?
I know I have.
I believe there is truth to statements like this; I’ve seen my fair share of mothers soon after they’ve given birth and have seen the way they look at the beautiful new creation in their arms. It’s a look of pure love, connection and devotion that is rarely seen – if at all – in the eyes of anyone else during any other life experience. That instant connection between mother and child is truly indescribable.
Be the Proud Aunt
I’m a proud aunt of the children of my siblings and have been there for every single one of their first days in this life. Each and every one of them met my eyes when I held them for the first time and with every passing day, I can see the beautiful power and potential they all have to change this world.
As their aunt, I get the amazing opportunity to be a part of their lives and watch as they learn and explore the world around them without the same fear, hesitancy and shyness you often see in grown adults. Children are some of the most inspiring beings on this earth and have so much to teach us about what it is to embrace this life experience and take it on heart first. I love my nieces and nephews and am so grateful that I get to be a part of their lives.
What If I Don’t Want Kids?
With all that being said, I don’t actually want any children of my own. Even though I may be biologically designed to bear children, I don’t feel raising children is my calling in this life, and I know I’m not alone. I also know that there are a great number of women who want so badly to raise their own children, but aren’t actually capable of conceiving, or have some other circumstance where it isn’t safe or right for them.
A lot of these women are aunts, just like myself, and are people that more often than not hear comments like the one at the beginning of this article and are actually hurt by them. These sorts of comments about the love and joys of raising children aren’t always made with any rude intent, but there can often be an unintended air of inconsideration and even condescension at times, especially when made to childless aunts like myself and the number of others who are out there.
People who make comments like these – especially with the negative implications in their voice, which does happen – don’t know, understand or even realize that childless aunts can actually play remarkable roles in their families. In fact, there are studies that have shown that childless aunts can actually bring more happiness into the lives of their families.
An example of why this is those times when parents become overwhelmed with parenthood and realize they have a childless aunt in the family who would love to come help with the kids. Sometimes even the most loving parents desperately need a well-deserved break. The childless aunt (obviously) has no children of her own draining her energy and maternal reserves and has plenty to give when it comes to stepping in and helping care for the growing children in their family.
Especially when childless aunts are present in the lives of their nieces and nephews, they can naturally fall into the role of secondary caregivers and help be a nurturing influence in their lives as they learn and grow. Not to mention they get to be the favorite aunt when the kiddos get older and need that figure in their life that’s a lovely balance between family and friend.
Childless aunts, regardless of why they may be childless, have a role in their families that’s just as important – and just as vital even, in some cases – as any other role in the family that so often gets overlooked or criticized. They deserve to be acknowledged and celebrated for the remarkable individuals they are and the heroes they can become in the eyes of the nieces and nephews growing up right within their heart’s reach.
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