the fertility advocate

Talking, writing, educating, and change making in the field of fertility for more than twenty years

Savoring The Role of Auntie

Many women who are going through infertility avoid their pregnant sisters and sister in laws like the plague. New babies at family holiday dinners that don’t belong to us – are often looked at with jealous glances. But what if while we are reaching to build our own families if we could embrace the world on being a beloved Aunt.

I have written before about the “Auntie Brigade – A View of Childless Women by Choice or Fate ” here on the Fertility Advocate before.  The fact is that the role of Aunt in the family can be incredibly important. What if we didn’t run from the role while we were trying to conceive and instead embraced it? Is that possible? This is something that often comes up with my fertility coaching clients as their extend family grows – and they are at often at a  loss for how to cope with feeling left outside of the family unit. What is we could step in? And love it? What if our role as an Aunt can be just as important as our role as a mother?

Nearly 50% of American women don’t have biological children; yet, so many of these these women still enjoy the presence, privilege, and love of children in their lives.  This is not only possible – this is important to the family structure and the children as well.

This all-important tribe of women are the Aunts—and they are a vital part of the American Family Village.  As the original Savvy Auntie and founder of massively popular web community,, launched in July 2008, Melanie Notkin has quickly emerged as the voice of an ever-growing movement. And every movement needs a face!

So if the idea of embracing your Auntie possibilities makes your nervous why not pick up  SAVVY AUNTIE: The Ultimate Guide for Cool Aunts, Great-Aunts, Godmothers, and All Women Who Love Kids (William Morrow; On-Sale: April 26, 2011; Hardcover; Price: $24.99/$32.99 Can.), which encompasses tips on everything from “what to expect when she’s expecting,” how to facilitate “QualAuntie” playtime with your niece or nephew, and disenfranchised grief for those who do not have children but want them, to create the first all-inclusive guide to aunthood.

When Melanie welcomed her first nephew into the family, the overwhelming love and devotion she felt as she stood in the delivery ward, carefully cradling her newborn nephew, inspired her to learn more about the influential role aunts have in helping shape a child’s life. But she was hard-pressed to find resources for non-moms who have children in their lives by relation and by choice. After realizing that there were many women just like her, Melanie took it upon herself to create a unifying lifestyle platform for the modern, cosmopolitan American woman. She dubbed these women PANKs®: Professional Aunts No Kids.

Drawing from sound psychological guidance, expert testimonials, and practical anecdotes from real aunts: SAVVY AUNTIE smartly explores the evolving role of the aunt and the changing nature of family in a modern era—it is a true celebration of aunthood.

The Savvy Experts Include…

  • Dr. Miriam Greene: Hosts Doctor Radio on Sirius Channel 114 and XM Channel 119. Fun fact: Dr. Greene also played an ob-gyn on TV. She delivered Miranda’s baby, Brady, on Sex and the City!
  • Carley Roney: Founder of The and
  • Rosemarie Truglio, Ph.D: VP of Education and Research for Sesame Street.
  • Stephanie Baffone, LPCMH, NCC: A grief counselor who discusses disenfranchised grief for childless women.
  • Dr. Christiane Northrup: Bestselling author of Women’s Bodies, Women’s Wisdom: Creating Physical and Emotional Health and Healing.
  • Alexis Martin Neely: Founder and CEO of the Family Wealth Planning Institute.
  • Lyss Stern: Founder of New York City’s social network,, and editor-in-chief of Observer Playground Magazine.
  • And many more!

Mother’s Day is fast approaching….perhaps checking out your own ability to be a Savvy Auntie might be a welcome exploration while you are exploring your path to parenthood.

About Pam Madsen
Talking, writing, educating and change making in the field of fertility for more than twenty years
1 comment on this postSubmit yours
  1. Hi Pam,
    WOW, I loved this post! Not because of the great mention in regard to my contributions to the Savvy Auntie community and book but because this was my life story. I struggled for years to be a Mom but what saved me was the role of auntie. I am so blessed.
    Thank you for this!

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