The big sister I never had

One of my good friends from my last company has been an invaluable support to me since before I even got pregnant and while I was on my IVF journey. She and her husband have graciously and generously given us literally a boatload of lightly used baby items, ranging from big, essential items such as our bassinet to our baby lounger to our car seat cozy to swaddle blankets. These are items that we have literally used every single day since the baby has come home. And instead of getting us a baby gift, she and her husband gifted Chris and me a delicious food delivery order from a food startup that tries to support refugees and spreads the word about their diverse cultures represented in New York City.

On top of that, she has given me a ton of reassurance every step of the way. For example, two days after the baby was born, I noticed that there were hard lumps on both of my breasts, and I immediately just assumed that I was experiencing clogged milk ducts. I freaked out a little bit, took a bunch of sunflower lecithin pills, and proceeded to massage them out with heat. It actually hurt, too. I told Chris, and of course he was sympathetic and tried to tend to the baby as much as possible while I kept on massaging my breasts. I was already getting scared that I was going to get mastitis, and I texted her to tell her. She told me that given it was so close after giving birth, there was no way that I could already have a clogged milk duct. The lumps that I was experiencing were likely just signs of my milk coming in, as that often times is what it feels like. It can also feel like your breasts are just getting rock hard. These are all good signs, she insisted to me. Your milk is coming in! I was immediately relieved and got really excited. I really wanted to be able to breast-feed my child and know for a fact that she was actually getting milk when she was at my breast.

Last week, she knew that I was feeling overwhelmed with Chris back at work, so she offered to come over to help relieve me by helping with bottle feeds and anything else that I might need help with. She proactively offered to do everything, from chopping vegetables to even cleaning my apartment. There was no way I was going to let her clean my apartment, so I asked if she could help with bottle feeding the baby. She knew that I was missing my Asian greens, so she went to Flushing the morning she came over and picked up four different types of Asian vegetables just for me, on top of stopping by one of my absolute favorite Chinese restaurants to get me some shengjianbao, or fried Shanghainese dumplings, as well as HK style noodles. I felt really overwhelmed by her generosity and kindness. It was like she was trying to take care of me when she knew that I was feeling inadequate and in need of some TLC. When she came over, we caught up and talked about a lot of things, mostly around motherhood, balancing child care and having a child in general with having an actual life. I often times look at her like the big sister I never had; I am so grateful that I have her.

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