How often do we feel compelled to choose between two seemingly conflicting alternatives without even considering that both might work? We assume only one option is feasible when the likelihood that both may be acceptable is staring us in the face: Here’s an example I recently encountered:
Kelly is six months pregnant with her first child. Her husband Pete has told her that he wishes to be alone with her during the delivery. As expected Kelly’s mother, Dorothy, is thrilled about the impending event and anticipates that she, too, will witness her grandchild’s birth. Pete fears that once Kelly’s mother is on the scene, she’ll take over and start issuing orders to everyone present, including him. (BTW, Kelly’s Mom serves on the hospital staff.) According to both Kelly and Pete Dorothy can be overbearing and protective of her maternal prerogatives.
Kelly feels stuck in the middle. She wants Pete to share the moment alone with her, but knows that if she deprives her mother from viewing the birth, their relationship will never be the same again.
To the rescue comes Kelly’s godmother, Gail. Gail described to Kelly how deeply she regrets not witnessing the birth of her only grandchild. That many of Gail’s friends have had that opportunity only compounds her distress of having missed this once in a lifetime moment.
She suggested that Kelly explain to her mother how important it is for her Mom to share the moment quietly with Pete. Instead of having to exclude either Pete or her mother from the delivery, all she now has to do is have a mother-daughter “heart-to-heart” and assure Pete that Mom will be on her best behavior