My 23-year-old, unmarried niece is pregnant. It really wasn't a surprise, as we've been expecting this from this particular child for several years. She has a dead-end job with no insurance and because of where she lives, there isn't much hope for anything better. She attended college for 2.5 years, but got kicked out because of bad grades after her last semester. In short, she has made bad choice, after bad choice, after bad choice. When I asked if she was going to marry her baby's father, she said, "We're not ready for that kind of commitment yet."
After I hung up the phone with her, I called Little Big Man (who is now 18 and at university). I said, "In the immortal words of Jillian, you'd better be 'wrapping it or slapping it' my friend."
"Yes mom," he said.
"Every time," I said.
"Yes mom," he said.
"Right answer kid," I said.
I understand that only 2 generations ago girls were sent away for getting 'in the family way'. I understand that punishing them (and not the boys they were having sex with) was wrong. What I don't understand is why the stigma is completely gone. Oldest niece reported that she signed up for medicaid and WIC (Women, Infants, and Children) without a hint of shame. She's shacking up with this boy and playing house like it's a Sunday stroll. Picking out names and registering for gifts without a care in the world.
I worry what will happen when the reality of taking care of a baby 24/7 comes crashing in. When the fairy tale of 'having a baby to love' turns into changing the diaper of a screaming baby at 3:00 am after only having 6 hours of sleep over the course of a couple of days and then trying to nurse with cracked nipples.
"But he's ready to be a daddy and I'm ready to be a mommy Auntie," she assured me.
All I could say was, "I hope so. I really hope so."
*My mother is very upset that I refer to the unborn child as a bastard. "But they're planning on getting married eventually," she whines.
"If they aren't married when the baby is born, it's a bastard," I reply every time she brings it up.