Dear Mesmerizing Meg: I just feel like I need advice. I’m a senior in high school, and I have a younger sister in 8th grade. My mom had a shitty boyfriend, and now she’s in labor with his baby, but he isn’t involved anymore. Right now, I’m on my bed crying because I’m terrified. I wasn’t thrilled when my mom told me she was pregnant, and I don’t think she wanted that reaction. I’m still not excited or happy about this baby coming into my life like this, and it’s like I don’t want to feel this way, but this is what I’m getting. I’m having trouble navigating these feelings, and I want to feel more positive about this, but I just can’t. I just feel really lost in this, and I don’t want this to happen but it is. I know that this is the reality of the situation, but I don’t know how to deal with it. I don’t know how to accept this baby as my brother. I feel like I’m going to fail everybody’s expectations, that I’m going to be a shitty sister to a kid who doesn’t deserve it, and I feel like I’m a shitty daughter for not being what my mom needs. Advice will be much appreciated. Thank you.
Kind querent: It’s okay. I think a lot of what you’re feeling is sadness for the baby, who won’t have a loving father; and for your mom, who won’t have a loving significant other; and for your family as a whole.
As a teenager, you shouldn’t have the burden of being there for your mom during this huge life-changing event. She should be there for you. But such is life.
Don’t force yourself to accept the baby as your brother. Don’t push the issue. Just see him as a baby who’s staying with you, and let yourself become closer to him gradually, if at all. It doesn’t make you a bad person. It’s just a lot to take in and process. I’m sorry your mom’s projecting her anxiety all over you. I’ve been there.
There shouldn’t be any expectations upon you to care for this baby, beyond helping out a reasonable amount. There’s nothing wrong with how you feel about this. I wish the best for your family!