Dear Amy:

My son and daughter-in-law are expecting their first child in five months, and I am beside myself with excitement. This will be my first -- and maybe only -- grandchild.

I was hoping to share in the excitement of this pregnancy, but I feel shut out by my daughter-in-law. Every time I ask her about her pregnancy, she either says it's private or she doesn't want to talk about it.

With her mother, sisters and friends, she has no problem talking about her pregnancy. I am hurt and feel as if she is playing favorites and excluding me.

I have told my son to talk to her about making me feel more included, but he says that it is up to her.

I am afraid that if this cold shoulder continues, my daughter-in-law will not share the baby with me.

How can I get my daughter-in-law to share her pregnancy with me?

Excited Grandma

Your daughter-in-law is four months pregnant, for goodness' sake. Give her a break. Let her adjust. She is trying to establish some boundaries, and, as a mom, that will be her job. Unless you relax and step way back, she will worry that you are going to dominate and hover over her. No new mother wants that.

When you speak with her, ask her how she is feeling and let her answer you in any way she chooses. In a couple of months, you could prepare a little scrapbook of baby photos of your son to give to her as a way of sharing your excitement. As the birthday draws near, you could offer to host a shower for her. In the meantime, you must remember how you felt when you were a new mom and give your daughter-in-law plenty of breathing room.

Dear Amy:

I am responding to a recent letter from a young woman who was worried about marrying a man who had a disabled sister who she knew would always need care. The woman didn't want to take on the responsibility.

When I first started dating my fiance, we had a serious conversation about how he would always need to live near and take care of his father (who has the use only of his right arm as a result of a brain aneurysm).

This meant that we would always have to live in the same city and could possibly mean that one of us might have to quit a job to take care of his father.

We had been dating for only three weeks when he told me this -- but he wanted me to know so that I had the option of "getting out now." Knowing that I was in love with him, I immediately told him that I was up for the challenge and would be more than happy to take on the added responsibilities of his family members.

I still feel that way today and would hope that this young woman could begin to feel that way as well.

Meghan McGreevey

Your letter makes an excellent point, but surely you also understand that not everyone is up to the challenges of caring for an in-law. That's why it's good to think about it clearly and completely -- well in advance of a marriage.

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