Sense & Sensitivity

Pregnant Daughter Causes Family Questions

DEAR HARRIETTE: My daughter just told me that she is pregnant. She is a sophomore in college, and she has been on a fast track in her career. She does not want to have an abortion, but she has no money, and the father is not interested in being involved.

My husband and I want our daughter to complete her education. Otherwise, how will she be able to take care of this child? We are debating what to do. We are just now enjoying being empty nesters, but we wonder if we should take the baby and raise it until she finishes school and gets a job. Or she may put the child up for adoption. We are so torn about giving the baby away. It’s all so difficult. What do you recommend? -- Baby Talk, Cincinnati

DEAR BABY TALK: This is a decision that the three of you should make together. Starting with your husband, though, talk about what you are willing and able to do and what ground rules you would like to put in place if you were to take the baby for a while. Would you expect your daughter to participate in the child-rearing? Will she live at home with you and the baby? What would you expect of her?

Next, sit down with your daughter and talk it through. Find out what she wants. If her desire is to keep the baby and she accepts your offer to help, discuss the terms. Put them in writing so that you will have to them refer to over time. Recall that taking care of a newborn is hard work. It may not last forever, but know, too, that many grandparents end up being primary caregivers for years. If you are up for the challenge, go for it. But remain clear with your daughter so that she honors her end of the agreement.

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