My aunt always wanted to be a mom. I remember how much time she spent with me while I was growing up. She was buying me presents, she was taking me out, she was playing with me… I couldn’t wish for a better aunt.

But, she wasn’t able to conceive herself. And that was hurting her deeply even if she was trying her best to conceal her pain.

One day, I heard my mom say to me that it is easy for her to be good to me and play with me when she is not stuck changing diapers all the time. But, my aunt had already changed her share of diapers when she was taking care of me when I was a baby. So, her comment was rude and inconsiderate.

“You will never know what a true love is until you have your own child,” people would often say to her. But she knew love. She loved me as her own child. Yet, society judged her and diminished her value only on the premise that she didn’t have children on her own.

Why is this happening?

Why is motherhood considered to be the only source of happiness when in fact, one study on the relation of happiness found that US parents are the least happy relative to non-parents?

Moreover, many studies found that childless aunts have actually made the families happier. When they felt that they are welcome in the family, they were happier, and the parents were happier as well.

This is because when parents get overwhelmed with parenthood and are reaching their limits, aunts are there to support and take care of the children and enrich their lives in a meaningful way.

Yes, they are secondary caregivers, but with their material gifts, and their financial and emotional support, not to mention the positive influence they have on the children while spending quality time with them – it is safe to say that aunts play a primary role in the harmony of the family.

So, we should all take time to celebrate aunts as our second mothers!