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Want differs from need with mom

Dear Carolyn: My husband and I are in our 40s, have twin girls and would like one more child. We are working on the third child and the only reservation is telling my mother.

Here’s an example: About 9 months ago, I unexpectedly became pregnant naturally after years of infertility. We were excited and joyful, although a bit scared due to the rate of miscarriage for older women. She acted like we were careless teenagers and when I miscarried, she asked me what I was planning on doing to “prevent this from happening again.”

We make over six figures each, have no debt, own a home and have lovely, well-mannered daughters, whom she enjoys.

For the record, my mother is an only child but seemed to really enjoy parenting her own children.

I don’t expect her to be joyful, but I need some help formatting a response to her sarcastic and unwelcome comments and attitude. – Hoping for One More

If your relationship is otherwise warm and you just want a little stinkin’ joy from her here, then please see that as a frill you’ll have to live without. You can stand up to her, sure, and say, “What’s so terrible about a wanted child we’re well-prepared to raise?” But speaking up will have to be an end unto itself, since Mom sounds unlikely to soften.

If instead what you want is your mom’s approval for once, or if you just want to put to rest this power she has over you, then you need to think bigger than a poorly received birth announcement.

Instead, you need to look at why your own approval isn’t enough, even at 40-something; why the one thing that eludes you is apparently the one thing that preoccupies you; why you’re not content to say, “This is the mom I’ve got, great at some things if not others, and that will have to do.” Pinpoint the want – and you’ll see that it’s not a need.


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