Adapted from a recent online discussion.
Dear Carolyn: A relative I don’t particularly like has a pattern: He gets a girlfriend pregnant, announces how thrilled he is to be a father, then breaks up with the girlfriend before the baby is a year old and has little or no contact with the ex or child going forward.
He has done this twice, and now a third girlfriend is pregnant.
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Members of my family are doing things like baby showers, and I’m not sure I want to participate. I find it a little nauseating to hear him go on and on about what a wonderful blessing God gave him with this child, when I know he has not seen either of his other children in at least a couple of years, plus I believe he has weaseled out of paying child support as well.
I mentioned to another relative that I might not attend the shower because of these reservations, and the relative said I was being judgmental.
Do you agree? Do you think I should suck it up, attend the shower and treat it as a happy occasion?
Another Baby Coming
Conscientious objectors are technically judgmental about war, no? But it’s accepted that Quakers, say, protest war out of a deep sense of duty.
So, yes, you can be a conscientious objector to the baby showers celebrating an established deadbeat dad.
I do feel for these poor kids, though. Maybe you can get your family to channel their enthusiasm into 529s or other future-minded investment vehicles that go directly to the kids?
And certainly the next time this idiot waxes faux-faithfully about the blessing of this child, you can ask him if that same God is looking after the other kids he himself has abandoned?
And you can mention to baby-vessel-No.-4-to-be, when he inevitably brings her around, that three past baby mamas would love to meet her for coffee? Perhaps at the diner across from family court.
Dear Carolyn: My sister-in-law is having a destination wedding in an area that pregnant women are recommended to avoid because of Zika. Several people warned them that it would be an issue for pregnant guests.
Now that the save-the-dates have gone out, a substantial number of their guests are pregnant or trying and won’t go. The couple spend a lot of time talking about how everyone is blowing the risk out of proportion.
I’m pregnant now too, so my family won’t attend. I know there is nothing I can do about the fact that my sister-in-law will be upset, but I’m super nervous about telling my husband’s family. They tend to get vicariously upset for my sister-in-law, because she perceives herself as receiving the short end of every straw. Thoughts?
No problem gets solved by pandering to fools.
Your husband tells his family himself. Negative reactions get the “Seriously?” treatment.
Complaints to you directly get the more politic: “I’m sorry to hear that.”
Any scoffing at the risk gets this: “When it’s your fetus, you can choose differently.”
Once. After that, resume, “I’m sorry to hear that.”
Seriously. Your sister-in-law’s martyrdom is her responsibility to manage, not yours.
Congrats on your pregnancy, and please don’t worry about people who make it about themselves.
Email Carolyn at firstname.lastname@example.org, follow her on Facebook at www.facebook.com/carolyn.hax or chat with her online at 10 a.m. each Friday at www.washingtonpost.com.