Hax Philes: Is you is or is you ain’t an auntie?

January 16, 2014

My brother-in-law recently impregnated his girlfriend. About two months before the baby’s due date, he broke up with her. She fled to her mother’s home at the other side of the country, ended communication and had the baby today.

As a mother of two and an empathetic woman, I’d like to send her a gift. I might be able to find her registry if she has one, and I have an address for her, although it’s unverified. Would it be acceptable for me to send words of well wishes and a gift? My brother-in-law has encouraged this gesture. What advice can you offer?

What do you say—if a gift, then what gift, and how?

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Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997, after five years as a copy editor and news editor in Style and none as a therapist. The column includes cartoons by "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis -- Carolyn's ex-husband -- and appears in over 200 newspapers.
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