When my friend Anna’s teenaged daughter decided to have her baby, Anna offered to raise the child as her own. That was back in the late ’50s, and her decision was a common solution to teen pregnancies.

Surprisingly since then, the numbers of grandparents raising their grandchildren has increased substantially. According to Statistics Canada, as of 2006, about 62,500 grandparents were raising grandchildren with no biological parent present. And in 2011, Statistics Canada reported that 75,185  children (27,280  of them in Ontario) are being raised by family other than parents, most of those grandmothers.

Numbers are even higher in First Nations communities where grandmothers like Celine of Brantford, Ont., find raising grandchildren a common role that is repeated through the generations. “My mother raised my sister’s child,” she says. “It’s what is expected.”

Why is this happening? Aren’t we done with raising our family?

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