Dear Miriam,

My only sister recently had her first baby. Even though we are not all that close, I would have assumed that I would have been asked to be godmother, as the baby’s only aunt on the mother’s side. I was very happy to become an auntie and was looking forward to playing a special part in my niece’s life. Last week, however, I found out that my sister has asked her best friend to do the honours instead of asking me.

I’m very hurt by this. It seems like a deliberate snub. I’ve spoken to my mother about it and she eventually agreed with me that it was not very nice, but begged me not to make a fuss about it or to cause any drama with my sister as she gets used to motherhood. But it’s very hard to paint a smile on your face and to pretend that all is OK when you are genuinely hurt. The christening is coming up in a few weeks, but I hardly feel like going now, to be quite honest.

What do you think Miriam?

Hurt sister

Miriam responds

Dear Hurt sister,

Thank you for your email. I can understand why you thought that you were going to be chosen as godmother and why your feelings are hurt at this piece of news. You’re only human. But at the end of the day, it is your sister’s right to choose her child’s godmother, and if that is to be her best friend, I can’t really argue with that. The important thing to remember, however, is that decision does not have to limit your own personal relationship with your new niece.

Valuable role

While it would have obviously meant a lot to you to be asked to be godmother, as your niece’s only maternal aunt, you already have a valuable role in her life that can’t be replaced or filled by anybody else. Anything you might have hoped to do as godmother, you can achieve as her aunt. And to be honest, many people hardly see their godmother/godfather from one end of the year to the next, once the christening is done. While it’s an important role, I don’t see it as being any more significant than that of aunt, uncle, grandparent etc, especially on a day-to-day basis.

I suspect you would regret not going to the christening. Yes, you might make a point in boycotting it; but what would that really achieve? Your sister is hardly going to change her mind after already asking her friend to be godmother. And it will be one less opportunity to see your precious niece and be part of a very special family occasion. Ultimately, I expect that it might only make you feel worse and more excluded.

Whether you tell your sister how you feel about her decision or not, well that’s up to you. You might feel like it’s better for you to get it off your chest, but weigh up whether that is worth any resulting drama and if it really gets you any closer to who really matters: your niece. Hopefully the fact that you have been able to vent to your mother and to this page might have helped release and ease that annoyance that you feel. Sometimes we just need somebody to validate how we feel; then we can start to move forward again.

For your own sake, my advice would be not to get too caught up in the godmother title and instead focus on how you can start to build a wonderful aunt-niece relationship that will bring you great joy in your life. I hope that you find this helpful and wish you the best of luck.

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