Monday, January 22, 2007

Sink or Swim

I didn't know how to react on Saturday night when my 19-year-old sister told me she was pregnant, so I cried. I cried because she is so young and looked so scared. I cried because her part-time clothing store gig that is lacking benefits is not going to be enough anymore. I cried because her boyfriend already has a little girl somewhere in Michigan that he never sees, and because neither of them has learned how to take care of themselves yet, let alone a child. I cried because I could see her at some free clinic, signing up for free insurance, and a free crib at the completion of her Well Baby Classes. And as selfish and caddy as it may seem, I cried a little because the frightening word "infertility," and possibility of, was still floating around in my head from my last gynecologist appointment.

I immediately gave myself a mental slap, wiped at the tears that had started down my cheeks, and began asking her about the facts in order to get over myself. I had no right to make her feel even worse than she already did. The last thing she came to me for was a guilt trip no matter how unintentional it may be. I got over myself very quickly.

Apparently the doctor at the clinic believes she is four months along, but my sister is convinced it is less than that. She says it is a mother's intuition, but I wouldn't know anything about that. She did sign up for the free insurance and classes, and she went as far as to consult our older sister, who is in the low-income housing business, about places for single mothers. I have no idea where her boyfriend stands in this, but given all of the steps she has taken thus far, it seems she expects him to run.

As of Saturday she had told her boyfriend, our mother, our older sister, and me, which left our father and three brothers. I think she was trying to rally as much feminine support as she could before letting any of the male family members know. I suppose I can't blame her, but even for someone as quiet as I am, this information is a little hard to hold on to. I told Jon after she left, though I'm pretty sure she expected that.

My sister is five years younger than I am. She is the baby of the family, and has always reaped the benefits of being so. She still has an enormous amount of growing up to do, and I suspect she will have to do so very quickly now. She still lives at home, though we aren't sure for how long after our father is given the news. To say that I am jealous of her pregnancy is probably an understatement, but I wouldn't wish to be in her predicament in a million years. God sure works in very mysterious ways.

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