Tell Me About It, Carolyn Hax
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Drama and public fights - what's not to love?

(Nick Galifianakis for The Washington Post)
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Is that the way you regard other people who haven't, for whatever reason, been able to bear or adopt their own children?As broken losers?

I bet you wouldn't dream of being so tough on them.

I rarely need to turn the Golden Rule around like this, but: Think of the way you'd treat a close and beloved friend who was in your exact situation, and then start showing yourself the same kindness and generosity of spirit.

There are also some very good resources available for helping you make peace with your circumstances (and that is just what they are - circumstances; there's nothing more to be read into them). is one readers recommend whenever infertility comes up. If it's more than that, if you're unable to stop punishing yourself, then more formal counseling makes sense.

Just take care of yourself, please - and those stepchildren, too. You may not be "their mom," but you're a prominent part of their lives. If they're still minors, you have nothing less than the power to make or break their childhoods. Put your heart into your relationship with them, and that will bring its own rewards.

Tomorrow: Suggestions, and a wrinkle.

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