Carolyn Hax: Is Metro too risky for a pregnant woman?

Adapted from a recent online discussion.

Dear Carolyn:

My wife is a brilliant, savvy woman who has always ridden Metro to work. She is five months pregnant and I now feel more protective of her than ever before; I want her to find another way to get to work, and she thinks I’m being controlling and silly.

Recently there have been delays, track problems, bizarre accidents, crime in stations, as well as the usual fare of homeless, drunk and unsavory passengers. I keep imagining her stranded on a platform after dark, or caught amid a bunch of brawling teenagers . . . am I out of line here? If so, please help me reorder my thinking.

Don’t Want to Be a Controlling Husband


Your wife’s risk of injury or death is significantly higher in a car than on Metro. Even when you factor in crime and “bizarre accidents.”* Car accidents aren’t bizarre, they’re daily.

That’s one side of the answer. The other side is that you need to get ahold of yourself. I get that you’re feeling protective; I think everyone, not just baby daddies and not even just men, is wired to read vulnerability in a pregnant woman. Even though they’re not really necessary, holding doors and giving up seats and priority parking are pretty normal responses — at least it seems that way until you’re eight months gone and looking for a seat at rush hour.

Anyway, your impulse is normal. That doesn’t mean it’s okay to blindly act on it, though.

Pregnant women for the most part are as capable as they were before they were pregnant. Many are even stronger and healthier. Certainly do your part to help her avoid undue risks, but that’s what you should do for her when she’s not pregnant, and what she should do for you. And, if riding Metro is an undue risk, we need to get the word out to the monument-chasers, museumgoers and the rest of the hundreds of thousands who ride Metro on any given day.

Even if you look at your wife as two people you love now instead of just one, these two people have to be in and of the world, both when they’re traveling as a unit and after the baby is born. The sooner you wrap your mind around that — in and of the world — and accept that you can’t create a bubble around them, the better a husband and father you’ll be.

*Happy reading:

1.usa.gov/ritastat

bitly.com/wmatascore

bitly.com/trafsafe

Dear Carolyn:

How do I tactfully tell my daughter and her husband that I really do not like the name they have picked for their baby? I have suggested many other names to them, and this name has no special significance (it is, however, the name of one of our dogs).

Anonymous

You don’t. It’s not your child. Besides, you’ve hinted plenty, and “tactfully tell” is the opening volley in too many in-law wars.

If you had, say, painful associations with the name, then I could see appealing to the couple kindly. Otherwise, you might as well start practicing: “This is my new grandbaby, Scruffy.”

Full disclosure, one of my sons is named for a dog (who was named for a relative). An honor, I say.

Write to Carolyn Hax, Style, 1150 15th St. NW, Washington, D.C. 20071, or tellme@washpost
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Carolyn Hax started her advice column in 1997, after five years as a copy editor and news editor in Style and none as a therapist. The column includes cartoons by "relationship cartoonist" Nick Galifianakis -- Carolyn's ex-husband -- and appears in over 200 newspapers.
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