DEAR HARRIETTE: My friend just announced that she's having a baby, and she has asked all of her girlfriends to agree to help her raise this child. This is because she is not in a relationship with the baby's father, and she is currently unemployed. She asked us to sign a legal document that she had an attorney to write up that says that we -- her three close friends -- would commit to contributing a particular amount of money and time to raising this child over the next 18 years. I'm not kidding.
On the one hand, I have to give it to her for having the gumption to ask such a thing. Even though I do love her, I have no interest in making this kind of commitment. She is the one who got pregnant without any kind of planning for the future. I have no idea what my future holds. I do hope to get married and have children myself. While I would agree to be a godparent and help as I can, I do not want to sign this paper or agree to such dramatic terms. Do you think I'm being unrealistic? -- Flustered, Des Moines, Iowa
DEAR FLUSTERED: Your friend deserves credit for creative problem solving. Maybe others from your friend group will agree, in theory. You are absolutely within your rights to say no. Talk to your friend about her future. What are her thoughts about work, about health coverage, about where she will live? Get her to talk out loud about her plans so that she can hear what they sound like. If she has any family, ask if any of them would support her. Talk to her about options, including adoption. She should consider all alternatives, given her current situation.
Be upfront about your situation. Let her know that you would be happy to serve as godmother and support as you can, but that you are not all in with her plan.