Dilemma: What would you do?
Moms View Message Board: General Discussion: Archive June 2004:
Dilemma: What would you do?
My 24 y/o niece informed me last night that she is pregnant. She doesn't have a job, lives at home and is pretty far along. She also told me she has decided to give the baby up for adoption and her boyfriend is very supportive of her. My problem is: she hasn't told her parents. I tried talking to her and impressed upon her how important it was that she tell her mother (my sister). She is afraid of her mom's reaction and tells me she is emarrassed and ashamed. I tried to tell her that her mom may be angry or hurt intially, but that it won't last. If she doesn't tell her mom, my sister will be even more hurt and angry for not being told.
My problem is that I know and I think my sister should know. My niece said she didn't want to say anything to me because she "knew" I would tell her mom, so then I started wondering if that isn't what she really wants. I offered to be with her when she tells her mom, but she is afraid that will make my sister angry. (I know my sister well enough that she would be very hurt - which would quickly turn to anger - if she knew I was told and she wasn't) How would you handle this kind of situation? What if my niece doesn't tell her mom, should I force the issue? I told my niece I would call her in a couple of days to see how everything was going. I'm hoping she will have told her by then.
I guess you could tell her you are going to tell her mother if she doesn't.
Your niece is 24 years old. We're not talking about a pregnant teen here. SHE should tell her parents. Yes, be a loving, supportive Aunt, but it's not your place to break the news. JMHO
I agree with Trina, be there for her for support. She is a grown woman now, and not a kid, she needs to tell her mom, not you. I also don't think that it would be a good idea for you to be there when she tells her mom because then that might cause a conflict between you and your sister.
I agree with Trina. If you tell your sister you will have two people angry with you - your sister because you knew first and it is her sister telling her instead of her daughter (surely there is some family history between you that will fuel that fire), and your niece because you told her mother. IMO, stay completely out of it.
Is it possible that your niece has been trying to manipulate you into being the one who tells her mother so that her mother's anger will be directed toward you instead of her daughter? I would guess the last thing you want in your life is a quarrel with your sister, because those kinds of family fueds tend to take a long time to heal and can be especially hurtful.
She really is being silly, imo. You say she is fairly far along and lives at home, so it is going to become obvious before long unless your sister is totally blind. If your niece doesn't tell her mother, time will tell. And it's not as if she is putting herself in any potential danger - she is living at home and since you don't express any concerns I am assuming she is in good health and not at any risk.
If it were me, I'd tell the niece - look, it is your situation and you have to be the one to tell your mother - I am going to stay completely out of it. And hope that your niece doesn't try to deflect her mother's feelings towards you by telling her that you were told first. If she does, the only thing I can think of that you might say to your sister is - yes, she told me, and I told her she has to be the one to break the news, because it wouldn't be appropriate for me to come between the two of you.
Also, is she getting prenatal care? That would be the issue I would "force" with her. If she isn't wanting anyone to know about the pregnancy, then maybe she hasn't even been to the doctor. That would be my #1 concern.
She's a big girl....it's up to her to share the news IMO.
I would be really hurt if my sister knew something this important and didn't tell me. Yes, it should be up to her daughter but she has put you in the middle of it and no good can come of it now. Either way she is going to be upset with you and I'd rather have been honest with my sister and have that be a positive on my side. JMHO, of course
I agree with Trina too. When I was 22 I had a surprise pregnancy. My situation was quite different though. Still, I was terrifed about telling my parents but I felt that since I was an adult, that they could be as angry as they wanted but it wasn't going to change anything. My parents reacted completely differently than I would have expected. I thought that my dad would be furious and ashamed. He was so excited about being a grandparent and HE was the one who excitedly told our extended family. When we told my grandmother that there was going to be a wedding I got a huge hug and when we said that they were going to be great grandparents too she jumped up and down! Basically, the whole point is that she may think that she knows how people will react but she could be completely wrong.
As Ginny said, she can't hide it forever. I think that you should not tell her mother because 1. it is her responsibility and 2. Right now you could be her only support system and if you betray her trust she may have no one that she feels comfortable talking to. Until she is willing to make the pregnancy public knowledge you may be the only one who is there to make sure that she is seeing a doctor, eating right and to help her with the adoption processes. 3. You don't want to hurt your own relationship with your sister.
I know all of you are right. I wouldn't be surprised if her mom suspects, but hasn't come out and directly asked (which is how I found out). I got the impression while talking to her that she desperately wants to tell her mom, but the fear is holding her back. I won't put myself in the middle - I've been in that position before - but I also hate being in the position I'm in now.
Yes, she is an adult, but she is living in her parents' house and is still very dependent on them. I wish I could get her to understand that she needs their support and help, which i have no doubt they will give her, but she has to be upfront with them and let them know what's going on.
I have to agree with Trina on this one also.
I was pregnant when I was 18, I was scared to death because of what I thought my parents reaction would be if they ever knew. My BF of 3 years wanted me to keep it, I couldn't I couldn't stand the thought of what my parents would say. As a result I decided to have an abortion. Later of course I wish I would have gone with adoption and just kept it hidden from my parents. Telling my parents was NEVER an option. Now I wish I would have told them, it seems like a "dirty little secret" that I keep.
The only reason I am saying all this is because I want to impress upon you the fear and isolation I felt at the time and I'm sure your niece is feeling even if she is older. The fact that she told you took a lot of courage on her part but I agree with everyone else it isn't your place to tell your sister. I would offer to help her tell if she wanted you to but otherwise I would just be there for her. I would remind her that Parents never react the way we think they will. I think if I had someone there to help me tell them it would have been a lot easier. What she is about to do is going to be one of the hardest things she will ever have to do she can use all the support she can get. I would also hate for the only reason that she is putting the baby up for adoption to be that she doesn't want to tell her parents she will regret that. I also agree with someone above, perhaps she told you thinking you would tell her mother but like I said there is no way I would do that. Good luck!
Has she been going to the doctor?
Is she doing an open or closed adoption? Is she picking the parents herself?
I would tell her that if she doesn't tell your sister that you will. It may be hard for both of you and it may not be your place, but if your sister finds out that her grandchild was put up for adoption and that you knew about it and she didn't she'll probably never forgive you.
I wouldn't tell and when the question comes back to you, "Why didn't you tell me when you knew?" I'd say innocently enough, "I kept thinking your daughter was about to tell you."
I have an extended family member who became pregnant young and dependant and still at home with her Mom.(This was in the 1980's)
Well,she told her Aunt before her Mom (the Aunt's sister) and bonded with the Aunt and this bond made the Mom feel alienated. The Aunt (with good intentions) tried to include the Mom and encouraged the young woman to marry her BF (Both 20) and keep the baby. And the Aunt, not the young pregnant woman, did tell the Mom--because the Aunt felt "in the middle".
Well, there was a wedding, and there was a baby, and then later, there was another baby and then after years of an unhappy marriage and several financial and personal crisis there was a divorce.
Well, today is Memorial Day and we went to the Aunt's house to visit my extended family. It was nice and we enjoyed ourselves. But, the reality is that "The baby" is now a young woman(17) and has been raised by the Aunt and her younger sister (9) is also being raised by the Aunt. And the Aunt is 68.
The Mom and Dad are divorced and both work outside the home and neither one of them wants custody so they signed the kids over to the Aunt who is spending her retirement years raising them.
The alienated Mom visits. She visited today. And she is a loving grandma, but the Aunt who "got in the middle" and "took it all on" is the one who wound up with the kids.
And I suppose it is for the best, the Aunt is very good to them and is very financially comfortable to provide for them. Her husband died young, unexpectedly in a car accident so it is just her and the two girls and they are reasonably happy.
Neither of the girls' biological parents visited today and both of them were off work for the holiday. But the girls still seemed to have a good time.
But beware, if you decide to "take this on" you might be raising kids in your retirement years.
Ditto Trina in saying that she is an adult women regardless of the immature choices she is making....ie living off mom and dad!
I wouldn't say anything to my sister, because eventually she is going to find out. And truthfully, most moms have that sense when their daughter is pregnant.
*My mom knew before me...sigh*
I'm not sure how you feel personally about adoption, but if that was my niece I would sit down with her and discuss why she really wants to give this baby up? Is it because she's scared? Is it because the bf isn't supportive? I highly doubt her parents would kick her out since she still resides in their home. I guess I just have a hard time relating because I was 15 when I got pregnant with my first child and didn't give her up. Even though all "odds" were against me, and I didn't know if the dad would stay or go, I didn't know if my parents would accept me or the child....etc
I guess what I am saying is just make sure that she is making the right decision for her before she really regrets what she can't change.
Update: My sister called me. She had suspected my niece was pregnant and it was confirmed when the doctor's office called and left a message on the answering machine. She asked me if I knew and I told her that I have known since Sunday. I said that I felt as if I had put in a difficult situation by my knowing and wanting her to know, but instead waiting for my niece to tell her herself. She said that she understood and wouldn't have wanted me to betray my niece's trust. She hasn't talked to her daughter yet, but she was calm, level-headed and eager to see that her daughter gets the care she needs. I'm hoping that my niece will take all the help and support we want to give her. I'm also hoping that she decides to keep it, as it would be a welcome addition and surrounded by love.
I am so happy to hear that! It sounds like your niece and sister will do okay with this. I'm glad you didn't have to do the telling.
Great news! Thanks for the update. Perhaps your niece will have a change of heart concerning adoption when she learns how supportive her family will be. Either way, it's their decision (niece and BF) and they will need support regardless of what they decide.
Sounds like a win-win. I'm really pleased for you.
An answer to prayer.
Glad it all worked out.
The Aunt in my post is raising two girls in her retirement, but as I said, she is able to financially provide for them and they all seem reasonably happy.
Good Luck to your family.
I'm glad the mom knows now. I'm sure it must be obvious by now, anyway. Maybe she will change her mind on the adoption now.
What a releif for everyone! Now your neice can openly enjoy being pregnant and feel the love her family is ready to offer. I bet this will change her entire life now.
I hope everything works out for the best. And it sounds as tho she has a lot of love and support.
That is excellent news. I am glad that everything worked out.