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Ask Amy: Mother wants another baby despite family’s wishes

Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: At 54, my mother, already blessed with two academically accomplished children in the eighth and 12th grades, says she wants to have a third child.

I am nearly 18 years old and will leave for college next year.

My father, who is 57, is adamant that he doesn't want another baby. He is a middle-school teacher and could retire within a few years. The idea of raising another child weighs heavily on him, having managed students his whole life.

Plus – would a 12-year-old want a father in his 70s?

Nobody except my mother wants another child. To accomplish this without enduring another pregnancy, she's exploring surrogacy. She says she is encouraged by medical professionals who believe her fertility levels can produce a baby.

I'm also concerned about my mom's demanding work schedule. She works extremely long hours, and yet still wants to add another child to our family.

Am I selfish in questioning the allocation of resources, as my mother contemplates funding a new life while lamenting her inability to pay tuition for a private college?

Is it OK for my mother to divide our family, considering no one’s wishes except her own?

– Anonymous

Dear Anonymous: Having a child through surrogacy is extremely expensive – especially if your mother expects to do so through having fertility treatments and contributing her own eggs for the surrogate’s pregnancy.

My understanding is that the chance of producing viable eggs at her age is extremely low. And would your father be expected to contribute his DNA to this process? If so, he has opportunities to refuse to do so. He should consider having a vasectomy to guarantee that he will not father more children.

Your mother has the right to make choices about her own body, but no – she does not have the right to bring a baby into the family against your father’s wishes. (However, to address your hypothetical, in my opinion, 12-year-olds do tend to love their parents, regardless of how old their folks are.)

Therapy is the ideal place for your parents to discuss this challenging issue.

Gauging this issue only on the basis of “allocation of resources” is selfish (for lack of a different word), but this perspective reveals that – academically advanced as you are – you are still a teenager, with a teenager’s tendency to put your own interests at the forefront. This is an appropriate perspective for you to have, but it is not one you should automatically expect the rest of the family to share.

Additionally, your parents do not owe you tuition for a private college. You should do some research to identify ways to lower the cost of your post-secondary education – through academic scholarships and/or challenging but less expensive schools.

Dear Amy: I am 15 years old and recently got my first boyfriend.

He’s really nice. Our parents know and like each other. I really feel comfortable around him. We go to the same school and have a lot of the same friends.

 

Last week we were hanging around with some friends before our last period class started. We were all joking around, and my boyfriend started making fun of the skirt I was wearing. It wasn’t too short or anything. It is just a skirt.

Anyway, during this time, he called me a “slut” and started laughing. I guess he was trying to say he thought my skirt was too short.

I was laughing, too, but later on I felt really hurt by this. After school I texted him that this hurt my feelings and he replied that he was just goofing around and it was a joke.

I am not sure if I should accept this.

– Teen Girl

Dear Teen: First of all, what is so funny about calling a girl a “slut”? Nothing. It’s just … not funny. It’s a put-down.

Your boyfriend was flexing in front of his friends, and later when you said honestly how you felt about it, he didn’t explain, acknowledge your feelings, or apologize.

In short, no – you should not accept this.

Dear Amy: “Impatient Ida” had reconnected with a former boyfriend, who had recently asked for “some space” due to a stressful event in his life.

You called out Ida for trying to control how this guy communicated with her, but you missed something: the high probability that he is making “space” because he is seeing someone else!

– Been There

Dear Been There: This is a definite possibility, if not a probability, but I don’t think it would have been helpful to suggest it.

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(You can email Amy Dickinson at askamy@amydickinson.com or send a letter to Ask Amy, P.O. Box 194, Freeville, NY 13068. You can also follow her on Twitter @askingamy or Facebook.)

©2023 Amy Dickinson. Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.


 

 

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