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Lean In

Caregiving in the Face of Hostility

Photo: I am holding my son, then a baby, at my parents’ home in New Hampshire in 2004. At the time, my parents, grandparents and youngest sibling lived in the same three-bedroom townhouse. Growing up, I always lived with extended family or family members stayed with us for extended periods of time. -Elisa

Any day now, my baby sister, who is actually 28-years-old, will have a baby of her own and stay with me. She will be a single mother and I am her only family in the area.

She and the baby will be the 6th and 7th household members in my three-bedroom house here in the San Francisco Bay Area. Depending on your cultural background, this is a given – she is familia after all – or you will look at me as if I have three heads. What do your parents / husband / kids say about this? What the heck is she going to do? — as if single parenthood is the worst thing to befall on anyone.

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