Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Carolyn: My husband and I have been in a difficult situation for the past year. He lost his job and had to take one that isn't quite as good. I work only part time to save on child care for our toddler. My mother-in-law is very sympathetic and has given us a significant amount of cash to help with bills, and she baby-sits as often as she can so I can work occasional overtime.
We mentioned to her recently that we are trying to get pregnant. She exploded: "Why are you trying to get pregnant when you rely so much on me already?" I understand where she's coming from, but I want my daughter to have a sibling, plus I believe our situation will eventually be a lot more comfortable and we'll be able to sustain a two-child family.
We dropped the subject with her but are still actively trying for another baby. I'm wondering how you think I should handle it when/if we have news to share? I don't want to seem ungrateful for her help, or like I don't understand her concerns.
Then don't take her help for granted or fail to acknowledge her concerns. If your sister were in your exact position, and you gave her - thousands? - to help her weather underemployment and she announced plans for another child, how would you feel and respond?
Carolyn: I don't want to feel defensive, but if I had a sibling in my shoes, I would try to consider the long-term as well as the short-term. Our family will always be our family, and any children we have (or don't have) now will be our family forever. It feels shortsighted to make such a long-term decision based on our current bank account.
That's huge. To the extent my opinion matters, though, I think it's premature to expand your family when waiting a bit would find you in a more stable position - with your mother-in-law fully reimbursed, for example, and some money in the bank.
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