DEAR ABBY: I’m a single woman who has always wanted children. As much as I would’ve liked, marriage isn’t in the cards for me yet and maybe not ever, which I’ve accepted.
I have decided to not allow my single status to prevent me from becoming a mother. I have spent years hearing my friends and family tell me how great being a parent is and how I’m missing out. In fact, there was a time or two when I felt certain people were trying to make me feel inadequate. After careful consideration, I chose to utilize donor sperm.
I am now 40 and expecting my first child, and I couldn’t be happier. The only thing I find upsetting is that those same friends who spent years telling me how great motherhood is and asking when I would have children, now speak of nothing but the tribulations of motherhood — the pain of delivery, the fatigue, the expense, and how they couldn’t do it alone, etc.
I’m an educated woman in a profession that pays well, and I consider myself to be fortunate. I didn’t decide to become a single mother on a whim. I don’t know what to expect but want to think positive and enjoy my pregnancy. I’m confused and hurt by my friends’ reactions now that I am pregnant. Is it the pregnancy hormones, or do I need to distance myself from these friends? — CONFOUNDED IN NORTH CAROLINA
DEAR CONFOUNDED: Parenting involves many emotions — some of them conflicting. It’s a joy, an adventure, a challenge and a commitment. The experience is also an individual one.
You are a mature person and financially secure. If you need help with your child, you can get it. Please do not allow yourself to be intimidated by what these “friends” are sharing, and do not seek their validation. I’m not implying you should distance yourself and end the relationships, because you may welcome some of their advice in the future. Remember, this journey is one you have thoughtfully chosen.
DEAR ABBY: My husband is an only child. When his parents retired, his mother, who was always social, stayed home with his dad because he wanted her home with him. Because of this, she spent a great deal of time texting my husband.
My father-in-law passed away recently, and the texting has increased. It goes on all day, every day, even after we go to bed. I want to be sensitive to the fact that everyone is getting used to the new normal without my father-in-law, but the constant phone buzzing and interruptions are getting old.
My husband is defensive about the texting. We have a happy marriage, and I want to keep it that way. How should I handle this? — OVERLOADED IN OKLAHOMA
DEAR OVERLOADED: Your husband, rather than you, should handle his mother. Because your father-in-law’s death is recent, she may need time to adjust to being alone. If her constant, intrusive texting persists beyond a reasonable amount of time, he should suggest that she cut back. He should also encourage her to re-establish the friendships and activities she gave up for her husband and, if necessary, consider joining a grief support group. Her doctor or religious adviser can suggest one that would be appropriate for her.