Dear Prudence, 18 June 2013:
Q. My wife and I just learned our daughter and her husband have decided to divorce. It’s for a reason discussed here before—he wants children, she doesn’t. We’re stunned and hurt because he was up-front about this and she has come to a conclusion which we feel is more about her social lifestyle than parenting. But it is what it is and it is her choice. Problem is that we’ve been crazy about the young man from the first time we met him (he’s everything you dreamed of your daughter marrying, i.e. funny, successful, outgoing) and now we are experiencing an incredible sense of loss. It just sounds too weird to think of trying to maintain a relationship with him, after all he’s got time to go meet someone else, marry, and have a family, and our daughter would never forgive us. But we’re experiencing severe depression over this, to the point where we’re actually communicating less with our daughter who we believe is the unreasonable party in this case. What should we do to go on from here?
Dear Soon-To-Be-Former In-Law,
Your daughter should have children against her will so that you can keep hanging out with your awesome son-in-law, the light of your life, a man whose reproductive desires should be accommodated by your daughter, a person you believe is too shallow to appreciate the value of child-rearing in the first place.
How heartbreaking it must be to have an adult daughter who doesn’t plan on using her body to produce the grandchildren you deserve. Would that she could see what you see, which is: her uterus, with a baby in it, just for you and the man who gives her value in your opinion!
What a loss for you—not only is your unreasonable daughter making foolish decisions about her future such that she and her soon-to-be-ex husband can fulfill their life goals as they see fit without enduring a lifetime of resentment and misery surrounding a situation in which there is no compromising, but she’s totally ignoring how her parents feel about the function and purpose of her reproductive organs.
Badger and guilt your daughter until she becomes the loving, doting grandbaby factory you know she can be. If she doesn’t (literally) deliver? Continue to dote on your ex-son-in-law; that way your daughter can really see the effort her mom and dad have put into parenting.