This post deals with infant loss and may be triggering for some readers.
Being the eldest sibling of four daughters is engrained in my identity. Every single decision I have and will ever make is centred around the simple fact.
It doesn’t make me a better person, being an older sibling. Not in the slightest. I’m less accepting of mistakes I make, unlike my younger sisters. I have a mother who has pushed me to be the first in the family to go onto university, unlike my younger sisters. I’m less fun than my younger sisters. I do many things worse than my sisters, and occasionally just a little bit better than my sisters.
I like to believe it has a lot to do with being the oldest sibling.
Watch A tribute to the babies we've lost. Post continues after video.
But sometimes, I wonder, if fate hadn’t played its course, and my mother had not lost her first baby just three months into her pregnancy, how different life could have turned out for all of us.
I found out about his tiny existence when I was seven years old.
It began by begging my mum for a brother. I already had three sisters, and I was utterly over it.
I specifically wanted a brother, preferably seven to ten years younger than me. I wanted to dress him in purple and feed him milk from a bottle. I wanted him to be named the Māori word for alpha, 'Ārepa'. I wanted to be a tough big sister to an even tougher little brother.
What followed was a series of conversations, informing me my dream did once exist for her too. She’d been pregnant three years before my birth, with a man who I didn’t know.
My mother had been ecstatic when she learnt she was having a baby, despite being unprepared for it all at 22 years old. Her partner at the time, a 27-year-old guy, was just as thrilled.
They’d loved each other, and they were excited for what their love had created.