DEAR AMY: Thirteen years ago my son and his wife used an egg donor and a surrogate to become parents of twin girls. They are my son’s biological children. The girls have been told about the surrogate, but not that donor eggs were used in their conception. I have encouraged my son and daughter-in-law to tell the girls about the egg donation before they get any older. Secrets like this have a way of being revealed in time and doing damage. My son is reluctant to tell them. Should I just mind my own business? I’m afraid that if this eventually becomes known to the girls accidentally, the question will be, “What! You’re not my real mother?!” Please advise.
DEAR GRANDMA: If your granddaughters have been told that their birth was as a result of surrogacy, then they already know that they grew in another woman’s uterus and were born from another woman’s body. Surely if they know these things, they have likely already wrestled with the concept of who their “real mother” is.
In time, there will be valid reasons for their parents to describe exactly what this process entails. The girls’ genetic and medical history should be thoroughly investigated and disclosed to them.
This information is not relevant to the question of who the girls’ “real” mother is. Their real mother is the mother who is raising, loving and taking care of them.
Importantly, for you, this is very much an issue the parents alone should handle. Your concerns seem overblown (to me), but if you would like these parents to behave differently, then you should attempt to influence them, and not directly intercede with your granddaughters.
DEAR AMY: I’ve been dating an amazing woman for about two years. She’s beautiful, fun, outgoing and charming. Whenever we are together, we truly enjoy each other’s company. That said, she has a bit of a wild side. She likes to drink and party and often ends up sitting on bartenders’ laps, in addition to other slightly inappropriate behavior. Whenever I mention to her that these actions make me uncomfortable, she says I’m crazy and claims everything she’s doing is “harmless.” If I ask her to alter her behavior and act more like my wife, she calls me controlling. I’ve tried everything I can to move our relationship from girlfriend to wife, but I can’t see myself married to someone who behaves like this and I can’t seem to get her to change. Do you have any advice, or is the situation unfixable?
Perplexed in Philly
DEAR PERPLEXED: You’ve asked your girlfriend to act more like your wife (ick, by the way).
And, when she proceeds to act like your wife (which is to say, she is acting like herself), you respond by asking her to act like a different wife.
I agree with you that she is behaving in a way that would make many partners uncomfortable.
I agree with her that you are trying to control her.
To a minor extent, everybody in a relationship (family, friendship or love relationship) allows the other party to “control” them. You don’t interrupt your friend at work because you know it bothers him, you call your mom on Sundays because you know she likes it, etc.).
You have asked your gal to change her behavior because you consider her behavior unsuitable for wifely status. You haven’t asked her to stop pole dancing with bartenders because it hurts your feelings.
Perhaps if you were more honest about how her behavior makes you feel, and less focused on forcing her to change in order to win your hand, she might consider the impact of her choices, and decide to behave differently.
DEAR AMY: “Mother of the Groom” was insulted by being left out of all the professional wedding photos at her son’s wedding. In addition to, perhaps, the bride and groom getting lost in a moment and forgetting his mother (unlikely), another individual should also share the blame. Any professional wedding photographer worth his or her salt would never overlook the groom’s mom or dad. Period. It is a standard part of “the shot list.”
Jeffrey, in LA, CA
DEAR JEFFREY: Of course! Thank you.