DEAR STEEL ADVICE: My husband and I are thrilled with the fact that we are expecting our second child. It is still early in my pregnancy, and we haven't spread the word to our family yet. My concern is how to approach the subject with an extended family member who suffers from infertility. She avoids baby showers and the like because of her feelings of grief and sadness. We don't see her often nor are we particularly close, but I think it is only right that the news comes from me and not another family member. I am concerned our joy will add to her sadness. How should I tell her our news?
-- OVERJOYED BUT CONCERNED
DEAR OVERJOYED: Be sensitive and tactful if you tell your relative about your pregnancy. Respect her feelings by letting her know in a phone conversation or note that you wanted her to hear the news firsthand from you. Do not make the announcement at a family event where she may be caught off guard and lose her composure. Your joy may be the catalyst that escalates her frustration and disappointment.
If your relative has not shared her infertility struggles with you and your knowledge of them is from family gossip, your private announcement may be perceived as bragging or intrusive. The woman may feel hurt if she thinks her infertility issues are being discussed in the extended family. Your good intentions could backfire, so choose your words carefully.
DEAR STEEL ADVICE: I have a 21-year-old son who lives with me. He doesn't tell me anything about his girlfriends or his job or anything. How do I get him to open up to me? It hurts me that he won't discuss anything about his personal life with me.
-- CONCERNED MOM
DEAR MOM: Your son is cutting the apron strings. His emotional distance and pulling away are indications he is growing up. Not confiding in you is a good sign. Your son does not want you as his best friend while he nurtures his independence. You should not probe or offer him unsolicited advice. Your son is on the right road to manhood. When you feel hurt because of his silence, remember that a man's character is not developed by sharing the personal or intimate details of his private life with his mother.
Need some Steel Advice? Email questions to: firstname.lastname@example.org or write to Mary Ann Wellener, Steel Advice Column, c/o Pittsburgh Post-Gazette, 34 Blvd. of the Allies, Pittsburgh, PA 15222. Follow Mary Ann on Twitter at @PGSteelAdvice. First Published August 20, 2013 4:00 AM