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Ask Amy: Grandma-to-be doesn’t want to host baby shower for unmarried couple

4 min

Dear Amy: I know I’m old-fashioned, but I still think I’m right!

My son has been dating a young lady for about six months. They live together. She has a 3-year-old child and no relationship with that child’s father. Now she and my son are expecting a child of their own. I am not thrilled. He is 29 and she is 24.

They would like me to host a baby shower for them. I’m sure I will love the baby, but I am not comfortable asking friends and family to celebrate this pregnancy. I don’t want to alienate them, but I really don’t want to do this. I did offer to host a wedding for them. I think parents should be married.

— Reluctant Grandma

Reluctant: If you don’t want to host a shower for the baby, then perhaps the child’s mother has someone in her life who will step up.

If you refuse to celebrate this pregnancy, and you won’t ask, expect or encourage others to celebrate this pregnancy, then — aside from the couple’s marital status — this baby is already starting life disadvantaged.

Baby showers are intended to create a circle of support for expectant parents, but they are really supposed to be about the baby. Your old-fashioned standards are putting quite a burden on a baby that didn’t ask to come into this world and hasn’t been born yet.

Imagine the difference for a child that is born into an accepting and welcoming relationship with its grandmother, vs. a grandmother that disapproves of and is disappointed by its existence because of the parents’ marital status.

It is understandable and natural not to be thrilled by an unexpected pregnancy to unmarried parents who haven’t been together for very long. But the time to start the process of learning to love this baby is now.

Dear Amy: I am a 37-year-old wife and mother of two children. I have had rheumatoid arthritis for eight years. I have a handicap placard for my vehicle, which I try to use only on those days that my rheumatoid arthritis makes it difficult to walk a distance in the parking lot of the businesses I visit.

On several occasions, older people have seen my family and me getting out of the car and have made rude comments suggesting that none of us is handicapped and so I should not be parking in the space. I had one person even ask me if I had a handicapped child in the back of my Suburban that would allow me to park in handicap parking!

How do I respond to these hurtful, frustrating comments in a kind way, or should I just leave it alone?

— Doing My Best in Oregon

Oregon: I am so sorry this happens to you and your family. Rheumatoid arthritis is a serious, progressive and painful autoimmune disorder that leads to extreme fatigue, joint inflammation and pain.

You should not have to explain this to anyone for any reason. You have the right to use your handicap placard any day you want — not only when you are feeling your worst.

When I hear stories like yours, I think: People … we’re the worst! And yet — you’ve asked for a “kind way” to respond to this rudeness, which restores my faith in humanity.

The way you've signed your question (“Doing My Best”) actually suggests a great response to this sort of aggression, and it is certainly a response that could be used in front of your children: “I'm doing my very best today. Are you?”

Dear Amy: Recently you published a question from “Perplexed,” asking about the propriety of sending holiday cards featuring photos of a deceased person. I’m the person who wrote that question. My friend’s husband passed away several years ago, but she continues sending cards featuring photos of the two of them together.

I read your response along with another response in my local newspaper. Your answer made a lot of sense. I never looked at it that way.

After that reply from you, I wrote to my friend to thank her for sharing her memories with me. Thank you for opening my eyes.

— Perplexed

Perplexed: In my response, I suggested that you look at these photos not as a morbid reminder of a person who has died, but as your friend’s choice to celebrate a relationship that for her is very much alive.

Thank you so much for getting in touch. I’m so glad you were inspired to reach out to your friend.

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