QuestionI’m a mom of two girls, who are both adults and married now. My eldest, who is 32, has been trying to have a child for a few years now but has had no luck. She and her husband even tried IVF but it’s expensive and they can’t keep doing it. She’s so sad now and tells me she feels empty and a failure. My youngest, who is 30, has twins and recently told us she’s pregnant again. Her sister was happy for her but I know it must have been very painful to hear the news. I feel so bad for her and I don’t know what to do. How can I help her? No words are good enough.AnswerThere’s nothing that hurts more for a parent than seeing their child suffering and unhappy. As a mom or dad you’ll try to assist but when things aren’t going well and you can’t help your child solve the problem then you might feel like you’ve failed them. This isn’t the case. Remember, you’ve done all you can to raise a confident woman. Your duty now is to support her through her challenges. Don’t forget these are circumstances that are beyond your control, even as a mother who seems to have had all the answers when you were raising your girls. This is a very serious matter for your daughter and her partner. Emotionally you can support them, but practically they will need to rely on the services of medical professionals.QuestionI fell in love with someone and we had a baby girl together. After nine years we separated for no real reason. I’m not saying I want to get back with her, I don’t, but I miss my kid and she misses me too. The problem is my daughter no longer lives with her mother – she stays with her granny, my ex’s mother – so what can I do? Do I have a right to ask her to live with me?AnswerWhen a relationship sours and there’s a child in the middle of it all it’s often a real challenge. This happens in a lot of broken relationships and unfortunately the child is the one who suffers emotionally because of the parents’ actions. Both partners should know the child should never be used as ammunition to hurt the other. The Children’s Act No 38 of 2005 Amended 2007 Section 21 talks directly to the rights of unmarried fathers. And as a father you have the right to care and contact. So even if the child stays with the maternal grandmother, you and the mother can agree on when your daughter can come to visit you. This is called a parenting plan. The family advocate office under the department of justice can assist you to draw one up. There are also other organisations like Famsa (011- 975-7106/7) who offer mediation services. The plan will stipulate exactly when your child should visit you and when she will to stay with her grandmother. Topics such as school holidays, birthdays, weekends, medical issues and school fees are covered in the parenting plan. To safeguard both you and your partner and the best interest of the child, this plan can be taken to court and made a court order.QuestionWhen I have sex with my partner it’s good but sometimes I get the feeling he isn’t there – heseems far away. This is the only time he’s passionate – he never says he loves me and I don’t know how he really feels about me. I do all the planning in our lives and he just goes along with whatever I organise. I love him and I want to make things better so how can I get him to talk to me more?AnswerThis sounds like you’re in a relationship with yourself! The fact he’s unable to even tell you he loves you and doesn’t take any initiative to keep the spark in your relationship alive is a great cause for concern. Intimacy shouldn’t only feel good but there should also be an emotional connection, which by your own admission isn’t there. If your partner was that serious about you and wanted a future with you, his intentions should be clear by now. But if you feel there’s still something to salvage then talk to him about how you feel. Hear what he has to say and take it from there. Remember to always trust your gut – your sixth sense will never lie to you.