An incident happened in my extended family. A younger unmarried cousin got pregnant. She was only 27 weeks along before giving birth last week. The baby, a girl, only weighed 2.7lbs at birth. Thankfully the baby is hanging in there and gaining weight, but because she was so pre-mature it is still possible she might not make it. However, I know that neonatal care has come along ways, so I have hope. My cousin has a long road ahead of her.
This incident has caused me to examine my views on pregnancy and parenthood outside of marriage. Unfortunately I am not close with my extended family so I had to do some Facebook research to get more details. What I found out made me sad and a little mad. Not too many friends seemed to know that she was pregnant. When my own parents found out about the pregnancy, they said they would keep it a secret. Why? How?
We no longer live in a culture where unwed and pregnant women are whisked off to convents or special homes in the middle of the night to stay until they give birth. Yet people still stigmatize pregnant unwed mothers. There is even an emphasis placed on the unwed mother marrying the baby-daddy. Again I ask why?
I am told that my cousin’s baby-daddy is one of her better boyfriends. When I asked if he was down with the baby and my cousin I was given a blank look and some speech about how he’s not ready to be married. That’s not currently the issue. The concern is whether or not the baby-daddy is helping take care of my cousin and her baby, not if he is ready for marriage. If he is not manning up to his responsibilities then my cousin shouldn’t be interested in marrying him anyways.
Just because a guy can make a baby doesn’t make him a father. I know of several examples of where men have stepped up and took on an unwed mother’s children as their own. A former co-worker married a gal with three kids of various ages. Wil Wheaton married a women with two children from another relationship. Joseph became the father of Jesus (Matthew 1:18-25). And a good example of a guy who married a girl just because she was preggers and the thing went up in smoke…my brother.
Right now my cousin and her baby need love and support, not stigmatization and a not so awesome baby-daddy who might not be worth marrying anyways.
P.S. The baby’s name is Mallory. How cute is that!