Dear Joseph,
My 17-year-old daughter is pregnant. She will not be marrying the baby's father. Since she is keeping the child, she would like to have a baby shower. My problem is, how do I show love for the sinner but not for the sin. I feel if I host this party, I will be condoning her actions. What should I do?
--Distraught Mother

Dear Distraught Mother,
While I don't find the language of sin--which seems to put the stress primarily on the act of premarital sex--to be helpful in this case, I do understand your unhappiness. It is, in my view, unfair to a baby to intentionally bring him into the world without both a mommy and a daddy to care for and love him (or her). In addition, your daughter's young age virtually guarantees that either she will have to give up her education prematurely, or that you, as the grandmother, will end up raising the child and paying for the baby's expenses.

Therefore, given that you feel it is morally wrong for your daughter to have gotten pregnant in these circumstances, I understand your desire not to host a baby shower. Nor do I believe that you are responsible or obligated to host such an event. Your daughter is the one who became pregnant. If she wishes to have a shower, let her host it (obviously, not at your home), or let her get a friend to do it.

Let me suggest, however, an alternative. Wait until after the birth of the baby and, if you then feel so inclined (which you might, once you see a tangible, adorable grandchild), make a party in the baby's honor. While hosting a baby shower for your daughter does not feel right to you and may send her the wrong message, a celebration after the baby is born comes across as a celebration of the life of this child; and every baby, whether born in or out of wedlock, deserves to have his or her life celebrated.

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