Daily Southtown

Welcome baby with unclear paternity

- Copyright 2018 by Amy Dickinson

Dear Amy: My brother’s girlfriend is pregnant. She told him the baby might be his or one other man’s. There’s no way to tell who the father is until after the baby is born.

What do I tell my 9year-old daughter? I don’t want her to get excited about a new cousin and then have to let her down.

If it’s my brother’s child, I’d love to throw his girlfriend a baby shower and come to the hospital after the birth. If it’s not his baby, I’m guessing they will break up. I don’t have a very strong relationsh­ip with his girlfriend, but I want to be in this baby’s life if it’s my niece or nephew, and I know this will depend on the girlfriend’s willingnes­s to allow this.

Please help me navigate this. It’s not exactly something covered in etiquette books. Dear Maybe: This is a tough situation, to be sure. But what would happen if you just decided to love everyone anyway, regardless of the outcome?

You should be a supportive and positive presence to everyone involved. You are a parent, so you have a lot to offer. Talk to your brother about what involvemen­t he would prefer, but you should offer to welcome this baby into the world regardless of DNA.

Host a shower, pass along your favorite parenting advice books and let your child get excited about a new family member. Depending on what happens after the baby’s birth, you should roll with it — or be willing to roll with it, based on the parents’ comfort and depending on what they want.

The thing about babies is that they arrive, regardless of complicati­ons in adults’ lives. It is better for this baby to arrive into an open-hearted, loving family versus one that is waiting on testing to determine whether they will love it. And so be brave enough to love this baby, knowing you may at some point lose access to the child. If this couple ultimately parts company, you can explain things to your daughter, holding no regrets over your own actions.

Dear Amy: If a romantic relationsh­ip is emotionall­y draining, is this a sign of toxicity? Or are all romantic relationsh­ips like this, to an extent?

My girlfriend and I have been together exclusivel­y for four years, but she is my first girlfriend so I don’t have much to compare our relationsh­ip to.

Everyone says that “relationsh­ips are hard work,” but should I feel like it’s an emotional roller coaster? Dear Drained: Here are some life events that can be emotionall­y draining on a day-to-day basis: raising an autistic child, losing a loved one to dementia, caring for someone at the end of life.

Being in a romantic relationsh­ip should NOT be emotionall­y draining. Staying in an exclusive relationsh­ip can be hard work, certainly if you are experienci­ng other events or stressors that deplete you. But the relationsh­ip itself should not send you on a daily roller-coaster ride.

The romantic relationsh­ip should feed you. It should be your soft place, your refuge and that safe and comforting thing that helps to fulfill you when the world seems particular­ly crushing.

Even healthy, wellbalanc­ed relationsh­ips hit snags. But some people seem to enjoy relationsh­ip drama. For them, life might feel more vital when they are riding a roller coaster. Others don’t seem to know how to act in a way that is generous and loving toward their partner.

I suspect that if you ever left this relationsh­ip and subsequent­ly found yourself with someone who was a better fit for your temperamen­t, you would feel like that roller coaster you’d been riding had finally leveled out. You would feel like you were coming home.

Dear Amy: “Desperate” wondered what to do about the 10-year-old stepson she “couldn’t bear” to be around. My heart broke. I was once that confused and disruptive stepchild forced into a family with a stepparent who didn’t like me. It was awful. I’m still trying to recover.

Thank you for telling this woman that the child deserves better. I did, too. Dear Healing: I’m so sorry you were robbed of a healthy childhood. Yes, you deserved better — every child does.

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