Dear Amy: My wife and I just welcomed a baby girl into our lives a few days ago, and we are overjoyed. The delivery was successful with no complications, and the baby is very healthy, but my wife's labor was long and very painful. It will take months for her to recover.
Because it was such an ordeal, during our hospital stay we decided it would be best not to share our happy news until we were home and settled.
However, when I did break the news to my family — my mother in particular — the response was not joy but deep hurt that they were being told the news after the fact.
From her perspective, I have no excuse for not calling or sending a text immediately upon the baby's arrival.
Was I wrong to wait? How do I convey to my family that it was my decision based on how intense our situation was in the hospital, and not a deliberate act of leaving them out?
Distraught New Dad
Distraught New Dad: Congratulations on the arrival of your new baby. Now it’s time to Dad-up and admit that you may have blown it with your folks.
This is a huge and momentous event for you and your wife. It’s also a huge event for the people who love you. Grandparents feel honored when they are notified immediately following a birth and can feel equally disrespected and left out when they are not.
Unless doing so would seriously compromise your wife’s right to medical privacy, once she was out of the woods, I assume you could have found a moment to text your folks from the hospital: “Baby Sarah was born! We are ecstatic but it was a long and tough delivery. I’ll give you a call and send pictures once we get home and settled.”
Your “excuse” in not doing so is that you and your wife jointly decided not to notify your family members. As parents and partners, this was your choice — not an excuse — and you don’t need to justify it. As a parent, one of your jobs now is to find ways to manage your various relationships. This is just the beginning.
Send your folks updates (include pictures), and assume that your mother will come around. She’ll have to, because she now has a new baby granddaughter to love.
Dear Amy: I am in my 60s and retired from the financial services industry.
I have been afflicted with an arthritic knee for several years. My mother suffered with this, and I have two siblings who have had knee replacement surgery.
My gripe is, why do people have to be so nosy and blunt about my condition? I never complain about it.
I know that I will be a candidate for knee replacement surgery in the future. But I am so tired of people pointing out my problem and then proceeding to tell me they know the best orthopedic surgeon in the next city or town who can help me.
How would one of those people react if I pointed out a wart on their nose and said I know of an excellent plastic surgeon who could remove it, or someone's gray hair and recommended a salon to fix it?
I don't want to be nasty or rude to the queries, but the truth is that I'll have knee replacement surgery when I get damn good and ready to. Do you have any snappy comebacks?
Limpin’ Louie: You cannot compare a bad knee to gray hair or a wart. Those are cosmetic conditions. People see you in pain (you described your own mother as “suffering”), and they are responding to that by evangelizing about the life-changing miracle of successful orthopedic surgery.
A wiser and less-defensive person might welcome as much information as possible before limping into joint replacement surgery — an experience you already acknowledge is inevitable. In the meantime, you might respond to these nosy intrusions by saying, “Thanks, but I’m working on it.”
Dear Amy: You published a response from a woman who said she has taken on the nickname "Gypsy."
Amy, "Gypsy" is a racial slur for the Romani people and should definitely not be used as a nickname, regardless of how much this woman has traveled.
Disappointed: Many readers responded as you have. I know this word is a slur, and I should not have published this response — or at the very least let it stand, unchallenged. I sincerely apologize.