On life choices

Dear Coquette,

My 19-year-old sister recently told me that she is pregnant. She is unemployed, hasn’t graduated and has been with her boyfriend for about two months.

The rest of my family is being really supportive, as are many of her friends, but I can’t find the energy to be supportive. I recognize that she has every right to have children, but as a feminist and children’s advocate, I don’t believe the environment and situation she is bringing this child into are healthy or fair to the child.

Am I being a really awful sister by telling her that I don’t think she is making a good choice? Should I just back this decision 100 percent like the rest of my family?

Hell no. Don’t you dare back her decision. You know damn well she’s not ready to be a mother, so be strong and lay down some brutal truth. Don’t just tell her that she’s making the wrong choice. Help her through a very tough decision, and be there for her every step of the way if she changes her mind and decides to terminate her pregnancy.

You’ve only got a couple of months before it’s too late. This is one of those “speak now or forever hold your peace”-type situations, so get in there and plead your case. She is an unwed, uneducated, unemployed teenager about to turn a guy she hardly knows into an accidental father. She is in desperate need of a reality check, so do your best to show her she’s making a massive, life-defining mistake.

Tell her how incredibly selfish it is to bring a child into the world when she isn’t prepared to properly support it. Tell her that she has plenty of time to become a mother after she gets her life together. Tell her that you love her, but that she’s just not ready.

It’s ugly stuff to have to say, but your sister needs to hear it. If it causes a rift between the two of you, so be it. Remember, supporting your sister isn’t the same thing as supporting her poor life choices.

I believe my main purpose in life is to become a mother and raise children. Am I a shameful 21st-century 20-something woman for not wanting the high-flying career over babies?

Don’t let anyone shame you for choosing motherhood instead of a career (or vice versa). If you know what you want out of life, go get it, girl. Be the best damn mother you can possibly be, and ignore the politics. All that “mother vs. career woman” crap is a false dichotomy anyway. Feminism (and life) are way more complicated than that.

I have a friend whose company I really enjoy, but who permanently lets me down and is not there for me when times are hard and I’m not my best. I don’t believe in bearing a grudge and I do like having this person around, so when I’ve got myself back together again and the inevitable apology comes, I accept and then I am surprised/hurt when it happens again. Do you have any advice?

Quit being surprised.


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