T.L. asks from Altadena, CA on January 17, 2011
Pregnant Teenage Niece
I have two sisters whom I am not really close with since I live across the country from them. My sister is separated from her husband and raising 3 teenage girls. My sister's oldest teenage daughter (17) is pregnant. According to my sister, her daughter will not agree to any other option than having the child even though her daughter does not have a job, still lives with my sister, and routinely leaves to stay/sleep with the boyfriend whenever she pleases then comes back like this is totally normal. The boyfriend has no job, lives with his male cousin, and basically hangs out (he is not in school). Neither my niece nor the boyfriend are making any plans for this child (how to feed, clothe, shelter, etc). My sister has converted her den into a pseudo apartment for my niece so she and the boyfriend can have privacy and has given her two baby showers so she can have everything she needs. She has placed the youngest niece (12) in a babysitting class so she help with the baby. My niece is still covered under my sister's health insurance so I assume the delivery costs are my sister's to pay. Well, she called to tell me I have a new great-nephew. She wasn't in the delivery room like she wanted to be even though she is footing the bill because the niece wanted the boyfriend there, so she said No to Mom being there. Now my sister wants to know when I am flying in to see the new baby. Seems my other sister has already made plans to get there asap. I think all this is ridiculous and my sister is being a doormat being dictated to by an unwed, teenage brat. When did it become acceptable to glorify poor decision-making? What sacrifice or hardship is my niece having as a result of her decision and why, oh why, should we all fly in to celebrate this? I have already sent 2 shower gifts and received no thanks from the niece or the boyfriend (or my sister for that matter). If the niece were moving to her own place and needed help setting up, I'd be more than happy to fly in and bring lots of supplies as well. But this setup is bizarre; it's going to be like a 3rd shower/party/celebration and I know I won't be able to hold my tongue. What is this teaching the younger nieces? Has my sister lost her mind? Am I wrong not to be booking my flight right now?
So What Happened?™
This is not about loving the baby. The baby won't know if I'm there or not. Of course, I will be as involved with the new baby as I am with the current nieces and nephews. This is about going along to get along. Is it ever worth it (going along to get along) if you feel like a hypocrite while doing it?
T.N. answers from Albany on January 17, 2011
If my neice had a baby (under the best or worse circumstance) I could not WAIT to get my hands on him!
But you're you, and I'm me, so the best thing for you to do is what feels right to YOU!
2 moms found this helpful
S.B. answers from Redding on January 17, 2011
Well, what your sister puts up with is up to her.
All I can say is that if you fly there, neither the girl, nor your sister, are going to want to hear what you think.
It sounds like your sister is trying to make the best of a bad situation and your niece wants the gifts and attention that stem from having a child she's not really prepared to have.
I'm trying to put myself in your shoes. If my nephew was having a child under these circumstances and my sister was in your sister's shoes....I wouldn't travel to see the baby and make a fuss. I would try to be as supportive of my sister as I could possibly be from afar, but that would be it. Not that I don't love my nephew. I could tell him I love him and I hope things work out....by phone.
If you choose not to go, I'm behind you on this one.
You being there won't change anything.
I wish your family the best.
6 moms found this helpful
A.V. answers from Washington DC on January 17, 2011
I think that if your attendance requires a flight, send a gift and stay home til the kid arrives.
I've had to bite my tongue regarding some unexpected babies in our family. I think that while you can love the kid, it can be hard to support a gimme attitude from the parents, and that is your option.
I also wonder if your sister is focused on this so she doesn't have to deal with issues with her husband. Frankly, I think enlisting the younger daughter to babysit (a 12 yr old with a newborn?) is punishing HER for her older sister's mistake. I don't think your sister is thinking clearly, either.
5 moms found this helpful
M.G. answers from Chicago on January 17, 2011
I can completely understand how you feel, except the pregnant girl was my brother's girlfriend, and she already had two kids by 20 (so my brother's baby was #3). I was very angry, disappointed, and many other emotions. How I reacted created an unrepairable rift with my brother.
The baby is here. It doesn't matter how it was conceived, who conceived it, or what lessons should be taught. There is a newborn little boy that needs love an attention from his family (that also includes you). Your sister also needs support from her family. Her world has now changed, and as much as you want your niece to learn a lesson (trust me, I didn't hold my tongue with my brother and it didn't do any good), it is not your place. She has a baby now, and she will be learning many lessons along the way.
I feel I grew up and learned more about myself when my brother became a father in the manner he did. I realized that babies will come no matter how we feel about them. It is up to us to choose how we react, and we can choose to offer love and support, or we can choose to distance ourselves and judge. Either way, there is a beautiful new baby boy that needs as much love and support as he can get. Make the choice that is best for the baby.
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A.N. answers from Bloomington on January 17, 2011
It is not the baby's fault that it was born. I say that anytime a person is born, it is cause to celebrate. It sounds like you are saying you do not care to see the baby because of the choices the parents have made. Not that I agree with the choices at all - and if it were my daughter I would not have handled things the way your sister did. But don't fault the baby because of it.
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C.S. answers from Milwaukee on January 17, 2011
Not to take sides, but I'm with you.
My brother's daughter had a baby when she was 16, (she's 28 now). My B and SIL were divorced at the time and my SIL did pretty much what your S has done. It was like she got so excited over the baby that she forgot that her daughter was the mom and had some hard lessons to learn if she wanted to be a good mom. Since my B refused to talk to my niece because of the preg, my mom catholic guilted the rest of us into 'being' there.
Well-flash ahead 12 years and my niece is still a selfish brat who feels the family, state and anyone else she meets owes her something. I have since stepped out of the picture with it. I feel for my great-nephew, but helping him is helping her-so except for doing things that he can directly benefit from I don't participate in the guilt game anymore.
To keep it from semming like you are the aunt who just doesn't care-state your case. You've sent gifts-you've shown concern for the child..but spending $ on a ticket to indulge your sisters new chance at motherhood..I don't think you should feel responsible for that.
4 moms found this helpful
L.A. answers from Austin on January 17, 2011
Even though I was raised Catholic and learned all about celibacy, I was amazed how many of our great Aunts and uncles, grandparents etc.. had children because of premarital sex. This was for generations. Even in my husbands family of Southern Baptist Preachers, if you added up birth certificates vs. marriage certificates it does not always add up.
That being said, what is done is done. Your sister is doing her best. She sounds like she needs someone to vent to. If you do not want to be that person. let her know so she can find someone else. If you do not feel like you can love this great nephew, then stay away. He will have enough negativity in his life.
Yes, it is always terrible when children make life changing poor choices, but that is now their lives and no chance of going back. You can mourn the loss of her childhood and be disappointed in her lifestyle and her entitlement, but in reality, this is now their lives. They need to work it out and decide what they need, want and willing to put up with.. I would never expect a thank you note in the future, so decide if you will continue to send them gifts..
You do not have to be pulled into it, just stay 2 steps back and take a lollipop ( that is what I do) in case you tend to spit out what is exactly on your mind when not asked.
Hopefully the younger kids will learn their lesson.. A crying infant, fighting parents, dead beat boyfriend, silly self centered sister.. They are going to want to keep their legs closed and get the heck out of that house..
4 moms found this helpful
K.M. answers from Chicago on January 17, 2011
So, are you choosing to not love this baby due to the way he was brought in? You do not have to like the parents or any one else to be a loving person ... give your neice and sister tough love but not the baby he does not deserve that.
This is the feeling I got after reading this ... it may not be your intention to present your emotions in this way and I respect that but my blurb above is what I got from it.
You do not have to visit right away by any means but I would suggest you do so with in 6 months of his birth (summer so the kids can come) or something to that effect would be a good enough reason to hold off. You can also say due to cold/flu season you want to wait to bring too many people from out of state who are possibly bringing with them germs from MANY places ... blah blah blah if that is what makes you feel better about holding off.
3 moms found this helpful
E.K. answers from Minneapolis on January 17, 2011
My response may feel strongly worded. Please remember, I am sharing an opinion in response to T.'s question. We are discussing feelings here -- Feelings are never right or wrong, which is what makes them so very painful to work through.
Stay right where you are. Times are tight for everyone right now. You can maybe model good decision making skills by saying, "We just can't risk the expense right now. You never know what kind of emergency could come up and we might really need that money."
Besides -- You sent gifts already. Now you can simply follow up with a congratulatory card and a request to see pictures or skype soon.
Adoption is such a great choice for everyone touched by such a situation. Did you know only 2% of teenagers choose this? Preposterous. I watched a friend recently go thru this w/her 17 year old and it has been devastating. But she stayed so strong. She made her DD go online and find an apartment, a part-time job, sign up for whatever medical coverage she could get for herself and baby. She had to make a plan to replace the full-scholarship she had recently been awarded to a parochial college. The daughter's cell phone bill was rerouted to her as was her car insurance and gas card. Having a baby is something adults do and I thought it was refreshing to see a parent follow thru with consequences she had been discussing with her daughter since she was 12.
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