My friend’s daughter needs help—but is she taking us all for a ride?
It’s always best to err on the side of generosity, counsels our elder.
A church friend of mine’s daughter is having her second baby. She is a young unmarried woman. Her first son was born less than a year ago. She left the father of her babies after the first one was born claiming that she felt he was unsafe for her and her baby to be around. Now she is back with him and pregnant with her second child another boy due in October. She has no money and has been struggling with things financially. She and her son have been evicted from one apartment.
Her mother has helped her to set up three baby registries and a registry for her son’s upcoming first birthday (all toys, no necessities). She and her mother have been asking for stuff. They are also throwing a shower too. With the first baby, a bunch of us got together and did what we could to help her as far as purchasing and sending her stuff for the first baby. I feel for her as she is having a rough situation to deal with. Her life is a lot of drama. I wanna help; I do. However I also feel major reservations about giving her any more help with the baby stuff. It just feels like they are using my and others’ generosity to get more stuff. She has to have some things already, right? How much do I help her? Should I get her a gift for the baby?
Elder Folk replies
Your friend’s daughter sounds like she’s made some unfortunate choices. But it also sounds like she’s in a very tough situation. She’s pregnant again for the second time in two years by a man who is unsafe for her and her children to be around, she has no money, and she’s been evicted. To help her out, your friend has reached out to members of her church on her daughter’s behalf. She’s set up up gift registries for both her grandsons and is throwing her daughter a baby shower. You genuinely feel sorry for your friend’s daughter and want to do what you can to help. But at the same time, you suspect that your generosity is being abused. After all, you already helped out once before by giving the daughter stuff for her first baby and now, less than a year later, you are being hit up again for more stuff.
I think you should do whatever feels right to you. If you feel more comfortable giving necessities as a gift, instead of toys, go ahead and do that. If you’re a mom yourself and have some items that you can clean up and pass along instead of buying new, do that. If you prefer to drop your donation off at your friend’s house instead of attending the shower, you can do that too. Your friend isn’t forcing you to help out, after all—she’s just asking you to. If you feel that her daughter made a mistake in going back to a man she says was unsafe and don’t want to support that choice by giving anything at all, you don’t have to. I mean it when I say: You should give only what you are comfortably giving. Personally though, I have to admit that I kind of admire Grandma for finding a way to celebrate the birth of her new grandchild despite her daughter’s unfortunate circumstances.
The way I see it is: a new baby is coming. And the new baby didn’t ask to be born to a mom whose own bad choices landed her in a rough situation. To my way of thinking, your friend isn’t using her daughter’s circumstances to try to squeeze more stuff out of people. Instead, she’s trying to make the best of a bad situation by making sure that the new baby has what he needs, and that her other grandson has a happy first birthday.
For what it’s worth, I think your heart is in the right place. You want to help, so follow your instinct. If I were in your position, I would go to the shower and and bring a gift that would help the mom and the new baby. I would also get a birthday gift for the one year old. In my own experience, I’ve found that it’s best to err on the side of kindness and generosity. Sure, it’s possible that people may sometimes take advantage of me for this, but that’s on them, not on me.
I hope this helps. If you can, write back and let me know what you decide to do. I will be thinking of you. And remember we are always here if you or any of your friends ever need advice or support in the future.