DEAR ABBY: I am a 33-year-old single mother of two, in the process of moving to a new state to be near my family. My older sister and her husband have asked me to be the surrogate mother of a child for them. They have been trying to conceive a child for a long time without success. I agreed without reservation.
My problem is my boyfriend, "Pete." He doesn't understand how I can do it, and why I didn't ask his permission before deciding. We have been together only since September, and I didn't feel it was a decision that I needed to run past him.
Although I am excited about being a surrogate for my sister, Pete is making me feel guilty about it. He insists he is just worried about me. I love Pete, but I don't want to feel guilty about the wonderful choice I have made. What should I do? -- SURROGATE SISTER
DEAR SISTER: Arrange an evening with your sister, brother-in-law and Pete. Perhaps if he hears firsthand from them about the pain of not being able to conceive a child, he will better understand what you have decided to do. However, if it fails to give him the necessary insight, you may have to choose between your wish to be a surrogate and your current boyfriend.
DEAR ABBY: Two years ago I got involved with a man who was going through a divorce. I'll call him Tom. Our relationship was great. We got along well and enjoyed each other's company.
Shortly after I learned I was pregnant, he left me to go back to his wife. It has been a constant game of back-and-forth ever since.
Our son arrived in June, but Tom has made no effort to help support me or the baby. However, he has made an attempt to see his son.
I live with my parents, work and go to college. They threaten to kick me out because I talk to Tom and want our baby to know his father. I wonder if I should let him see the baby, if I should try to move out on my own, or if I should stay here and continue to live under my parents' control.
Do you think it is fair for them to give me an ultimatum? On the one hand, I don't think it's right to keep him from seeing the baby; on the other, it's not right that he doesn't help with support or anything.
What advice can you offer? -- DEPRESSED IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR DEPRESSED: Your parents may be heavy-handed, but they have your best interests at heart. The best way to assure your child's future is to stay where you are and finish your education.
I agree that your former boyfriend should contribute to his son's support. To ensure that he does, talk to a lawyer about what his legal responsibilities are. Visitation can be arranged at that time. If it is court-ordered, I'm sure your parents will comply.
DEAR ABBY: The wife of one of my co-workers just had a miscarriage. It's her second one. If the baby had been born, I would send a sympathy card. But what should I do in a case like this? -- STUCK IN INDIANA
DEAR STUCK: Send a card or a short note expressing your sympathy to the couple. I am sure it will be appreciated.
When couples learn they are going to be parents, they begin to make plans for that child. They have dreams about what they will do with and for that child. If the pregnancy doesn't come to term, they suffer a tragic loss and it should be acknowledged.
Good advice for everyone -- teens to seniors -- is in "The Anger in All of Us and How to Deal With It." To order, send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $5 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Anger Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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