Pregnant daughter's choices seem alien to her mother
Q: My daughter is 24, one semester away from her degree, and pregnant. She went into deep denial for almost seven months. Finally, at 27 weeks, she came to me with her suspicion. There were no more options but to have this baby.
From the beginning, she has stated emphatically that she does not want to keep the baby. I am very sad and wish she would not do this, but I have committed myself to supporting her, period. Father is not involved, and she has very negative feelings about him. He will sign off his parental rights immediately.
She and I have met her chosen adoptive parents, and they seem lovely. My daughter likes them a lot. Otherwise, she has chosen to go this alone. She has told none of her friends. She has made up excuses why she is not around and confined herself to my home.
The baby is due soon, and I do not feel like she has thoroughly examined this situation. She has detached. I don't think she has ever thought that just maybe this is what her life was supposed to look like.
I don't want to add any stress, but I really want to ask her these very delicate questions. She just says she does not see herself as capable of being a mother yet, and does not want this at all. Am I out of line?
A: I can think of one argument in favor of pressing her to reconsider: She probably has detached, and hasn't thought that just maybe this is what her life was supposed to look like. Those 27 weeks of denying her own body make a persuasive case.
But here are the arguments against pressing her:
(1) She's 24, not 14.
(2) You've clearly already pressed; otherwise, how would you know what "she just says"?
(3) You have a raging conflict of interest. I'm confident you want to shield your daughter from regrets — but I'm positive you want to keep your grandchild close.
(4) After a less-than-decisive start, your daughter has talked to you, accepted her pregnancy, chosen adoption, apparently secured the father's cooperation, chosen adoptive parents carefully, introduced them to you, decided not to involve her friends, and executed that decision consistently. These aren't the disjointed motions of a sleepwalker. They're the purposeful, responsible actions of someone who knows what she wants.
These acts may bear no resemblance to what you'd do in her place. Her methods and motivations might even seem alien, especially if you're one to gather and share information, solicit advice and support, talk through your options and ultimately tailor the logistics to meet your emotional needs.
Still, we're not all wired the same; "alien" doesn't mean "wrong." If it's in your daughter's nature to tailor her emotions to meet her logistical needs, and to fly solo on big decisions, then she's making the right choice in just the right way for her. It's not your place to say otherwise, your very real pain notwithstanding.
Even if she is sleepwalking: You've said your piece, so it's time to let this play out. Should she come to regret her decision, she'll need reminders that she did what made sense to her at the time — not that she failed to do as you hoped.