DEAR ABBY: I am a young, recently married woman. My husband and I are about at the point where we're thinking of having kids. My brother married a close friend of mine soon after my wedding, and my sister-in-law has a medical condition that may prevent her from having children.
I am very close to my brother and his wife, and I can see the writing on the wall. She has mentioned surrogacy once in passing, as a possible alternative if she can't have kids. If I am asked to be the surrogate, what advice do you have? I'd be more than willing to consider it, but only after my husband and I have had our own children.
If I do it, would it be selfish of me to expect some compensation for my time and the toll it will take on my body? I want to be ready if and when I'm asked. What would be the best way to explain my reasoning to her? -- BACKUP MOM IN THE NORTHWEST
DEAR BACKUP: You may be jumping the gun, because you do not yet know how your body will tolerate a pregnancy. Not all women have easy pregnancies, and if you're one of them, you may be less willing to be a surrogate. As to monetary compensation for wear and tear, that's a question you should ask a lawyer because compensation may not be allowed in the state in which you reside.
You, together with your brother and sister-in-law, should also discuss with a mental health professional the emotional issues that may arise -- such as everyone's expectations about what will happen when the baby arrives, what might happen if there is a death, a divorce, a move, and what your role would be -- whether you will be the birth mother or a legal aunt, etc. All of this should be clarified if your sister-in-law asks you to be her surrogate.
DEAR ABBY: I recently retired for the second time. At 70, I applied for a job online, was interviewed by a company and hired. I could hardly believe it. Three years later, I was having a medical problem, so I thought it best to retire again if I couldn't do the work I was hired to do.
After a month of rest I feel fine now. My husband thinks I was overworked. I want to get another job. Abby, why do I feel the need to still work? Most of my friends tell me to enjoy life, sit back and relax, but my work defined me and I loved it. Shouldn't I try working again if my health continues to improve? -- NOSE TO THE GRINDSTONE IN GEORGIA
DEAR NOSE TO THE GRINDSTONE: Not everyone is happy in retirement. Some people need the routine of work and the stimulation of being around other people. Also, not everyone ages at the same rate.
However, it's important to listen to your body and pace yourself. There's a saying, "You can fool Mother Nature, but you can't fool Father Time." If your last job drained you to the point of illness, choose something that is less taxing (either full-time or part-time). You'll enjoy your life and last longer if you do.
DEAR ABBY: I am a Brit, now living in the U.S. When, upon departing, someone says, "Have a good one." what is the correct response? -- PUZZLED IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR PUZZLED: Some people respond, "Thanks, the same to you." Others have been known to say, "Thanks, I'm already having one."
The important thing is to always say "thank you."
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips.