By Alma Gill (NNPA News Wire Columnist)

Dear Alma,

My younger, non-married sister is pregnant and she is going to ruin our standing in the community. I don’t know what she thinking or how she could let this happen. She is only thinking about herself and being totally selfish. My father is the pastor of a very large church. My parents are very strong leaders, loving and supportive parents who taught us to be ambitious. I will graduate from college this year with a business degree and plan to return to assist my parents in the ministry. My brother is a sophomore in college, majoring in architecture. And here comes my baby sister, a high school junior, pregnant. I just can’t believe her. After she told my parents, my mother called my brother and me to let us know. I immediately rushed home and could see the pain and trauma on my mother’s face. This is the worst thing that could ever happen to my family and I’m not sure if we can recover. I am so angry right now, I just cannot speak. Help me to explain to her that she has ruined, ruined our family. And Alma, how can I assist my parents in this terrible situation?

A Sistah’s Shame

Dear Sistah’s Shame,

You know what, I need you to turn all the way around and sit yourself down. I hear your story and I see where you’re coming from, but you need to slow your roll and calm down. Let’s realistically review what your sister’s pregnancy is – unplanned, sure, unexpected, yep, traumatic…Aaah, I don’t think so.

Fortunately for your family, this isn’t your problem to solve. This situation will be managed between your parents and your sister. I know it’s hard for you to believe or perceive, but your sister’s pregnancy is a mere pimple on the face of your family. A pothole on your kinfolk’s path of perfection. Does that make it right? No, but it does make it better than most. Without a doubt, your parents will see your sister to the finish line. She will be provided with support, reassurance, medical treatment, food and shelter.

You’re suffering from embarrassment, sweet pea, and there’s no need to call the doctor, because it won’t kill you. If you can’t offer the love and support that’s needed at this time, step back, and allow yourself to be seen and not heard. For the next nine months, this isn’t about you or your parents, it’s about your little sister.

Here’s a newsflash: From our problematic projects to our pretentious gated communities, every family in America is hosting homemade shickity behind closed doors. Yours isn’t immune. Don’t let your child’s eye view of various manicured lawns dupe you. A young, single woman who finds out she’s pregnant without support is hopeless, heartbreaking and traumatic.

Have a heart to heart talk with you mom and let her know how you feel. She’ll reassure you that these feelings of disappointment will pass, and your family will rise to the occasion, continuing to be and serve as an example of forgiveness and love of family. Once you and your family lock eyes with that petite package of sweet baby smiles, you’ll feel more than just joy in the morning.

Alma Gill’s newsroom experience spans more than 25 years, including various roles at USA Today, Newsday and the Washington Post. Email questions to: Follow her on Facebook at “Ask Alma” and Twitter @almaaskalma.

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