Yay! She's having a baby!
Or wait . . . maybe that's not always a "yay" when you hear someone is pregnant.
A dangerous pregnancy with complications to the mother's health, or a mom who is very ill and pregnant. A teenage mother. An unwed mother. A divorced mom who has left her partner. A mom with financial issues. The other woman. A baby born into an abusive marriage.
These are just a few scenarios in which, sometimes, people don't bust out the baby shower invites and diaper cakes.
No matter how you feel though — even if the situation is dire — the baby is being born whether you and your loved ones like it or not. Most often, people refuse to support these pregnant women. Most often, people shake their heads and sigh with sadness. And indeed, in a lot of these situations, there is sadness and possibly danger. There are things to be worried about. No one would doubt or question it, but no matter what, that baby will be born in just a brief nine months, and this baby may be a part of your life. What do you do?
You support the mom, to the best of your ability.
Every time I see a pregnant teen, which isn't too often, I think to myself, "That's going to be hard."
When I have heard of moms who were clearly in bad marriages getting pregnant, I felt sadness and fear, not necessarily joy. However, supporting a mom who is having a baby in not the rosiest of circumstances requires you to put your feelings aside and instead show your loved one your support.
Maybe it's helping out by buying baby items. Maybe it's offering to attend a birthing class with the mom. Maybe it's being there at the labor or C-section.
Do something to make this mom's life a little better.
You may not approve of her choices at all, but the parade is still going on, so you can either leave this person's life — subsequently missing out on knowing the baby — or you can suck it up and realize you aren't in charge of this person's destiny, and pray for the best for this mother and her child.
You can support the teen mother by giving her information on how to care for a newborn and suggesting infant care classes. You can let her grieve the loss of her childhood, a childhood that is coming to an end too soon. You can offer her a hug.
For the mom who's abused and bringing a child into the world, you can be there to listen and offer numbers and information on services. You can, if you're kind enough, offer for her to stay with you. You can hope and pray that she will leave her abusive situation.
To the unwed mother, single parenthood is hard, but the baby is coming. Don't make it harder by turning your back on this person. Offer help however you can give it. Just because someone is a single parent does not make it a tragedy. Is it harder? Yes, but it is still a joy to love and have a child whether there's someone in the middle of the night to help you with a cranky baby . . . or not.
To the "other woman" who's having a baby: your pain and anger at this situation are indeed understandable, but the baby didn't have an affair. The baby didn't hurt your marriage or relationship. The mother and your ex-partner did. As hard as it is, if you are going to be involved in this baby's life, remember that the baby is the innocent party and simply the result of someone else's poor choices.
It's not easy, you know. For me, I have had to swallow words that sometimes came out anyway, when I learned about a pregnancy that was happening in not the best of circumstances, but ultimately a baby doesn't ask to be born into bad scenarios. Doesn't that baby deserve love and joy? Doesn't that baby deserve a bright beginning, just like the baby born from a mom who's in all the right situations?
And sometimes the situations that seem so dire to you are not as dire, seemingly, to the mommy-to-be. Our judgments are strictly that sometimes — judgments. This baby may very well be this mother's joy, miracle, and light, even if you're on the sidelines shaking your finger.
Children are our greatest gift no matter how they come to us. If someone has chosen to keep her baby in a precarious situation, this gift will bring you happiness if you allow it, even if the situation brings you, your family, your friends, and the mother-to-be great stress.
Believe me, the mother-to-be is not foolish. She knows that people are not easily asking about baby names and ultrasounds. She knows that people aren't gasping with joy at her nursery decorations. Women are smart. We have instincts — mother's instincts. The baby will be here whether you are OK with it or not — so are you ready to let your opinions, which may be rational and correct, affect how you interact with this child-to-be? Because if you shut out the mother, you shut out the child.
Decide today to be there for this mother if you want to be there to see this joyous child take his first steps, say her first words, and breathe her first gasps of air.
Life goes on, no matter how it should or shouldn't. Join the party. The baby needs you, and so does your loved one.