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Dear DS: I Don't Want to Intrude, but ...

Dear DS,

My daughter is 38 and married without children. I’d like to think that we are close, but we do not discuss private matters. I haven’t asked, but I think she wants a family. I don’t want to come right out and ask her about her plans, but I am worried for her. I had two miscarriages when I was young and I might have some useful family medical information to give. How do I bring up the topic without intruding?

Concerned Mother

Dear Concerned,

Let’s start by making sure your heart is in the right place. Is she your priority here, or are you feeling a major longing to be a grandparent? Both are beautiful sentiments, but your position will make a difference here. If you decide to talk with her, she’ll want to know why. This is hard to say, but most adult daughters don’t want to hear it from their moms. Most of our moms have made it clear—they want to be grandmas.

Why don’t you start with some general questions? “Do you think you’d like to have kids someday?” Then let her answer. No matter what she says, try this type of reply: “If you need anything, let me know. I remember my own family planning pretty well, so if you’d like to discuss anything, I’m here” Sure, it’s a little canned, but you’d be surprised what people like to hear. You’ll open the door to conversation without pressure.

Lastly, if there is a serious family medical concern you should tell her. “I’m not sure if you plan to have a baby, but if you do, there are some things about our family’s reproductive history that you should know.” (For the record, DS is sorry about the trouble you had getting pregnant all those years ago.)

Mothers and their adult daughters can have tricky relationships. If you are kind and nonjudgmental, you’ll do just great. Good luck!