Monday, January 22, 2007
Recently, my husband and I were surprised with the news that I was several months pregnant. We also learned of complications that seriously compromised the viability of the baby. We discovered that the baby, if it survived, would likely have severe mental and physical disabilities.
We chose to terminate the pregnancy. We told only a few people.
I am certain that we made the right decision, and am getting better, but there are times when the whole thing unexpectedly hits me. I can't help thinking about it, and I know this is part of the process of moving on, but at times I've gotten very emotional.
One of my co-workers is expecting a baby and is having a shower thrown in her honor. Only one of my co-workers knows about my situation, and I'd like to keep it that way, but it isn't easy to explain my random weeping, especially because I am not normally that way.
Should I go to this event or give her a gift beforehand and say we can't make it?
I don't want to avoid these things forever, or develop a complex about them, but it's just difficult right now.
Trying to Move On
For now, avoiding baby showers doesn't mean that you will develop a complex about them or avoid them forever. Many women find attending baby showers difficult and emotional for all sorts of reasons. You could send a gift along with a note saying, "I'm so sorry that I won't be able to make it to your shower, but I want to shower you with good wishes all the same."
Your complicated reaction to what you have been through is not only understandable but also expected. Losing a pregnancy is a very emotional experience, even if it was your choice and even if you feel certain that you did the right thing. Your physician should have advised you to expect this -- she or he could refer you to a support group if you think that it would be helpful. (I do.)
If you find yourself weepy at unexpected times, don't feel compelled to explain. Just say, "I'm sorry, I'm feeling emotional. Just give me a minute to get it together."
I am a 16-year-old girl and consider myself to be an attractive, intelligent, kind person.
I have never had a boyfriend or been kissed. It has never bothered me that much before because I have always filled up my time with extracurricular activities and hanging out with friends.
I have started to wonder if this is abnormal or weird.
My relatives always ask if I have a boyfriend, and I have to tell them no. It makes me feel as if something is wrong with me.
I am attracted to guys, and I've had several crushes, but I am also kind of shy and not very good at talking to boys.
Is there something wrong with me? Am I a hopeless case?
Dateless in Florida
If, like most kids, you glean your knowledge about the world mainly through television programs, then of course you would think that being kissless and dateless at age 16 is abnormal. (This is one reason that television shows such as "The O.C." drive me crazy.)
Trust me -- you're more normal than you realize. You're way normal. (It's also normal to wonder if you're weird.)
Your family means well, but they should remember what it's like to be a teenager and back off.
Continue doing what you've been doing. Being active, happy and kind is not only the best way to live your life, but it also makes you attractive to others.
Someone in our office planned a congratulatory potluck party for an employee's promotion. Everyone brought food. The office closes every day from noon to 1 for lunch, so I was anticipating everyone gathering around the table to eat, talk and congratulate the promoted employee.
Wrong! People filtered in and out, filling their plates beginning at 9 a.m. By 10:30, the food was disappearing, so the receptionist went back, filled her plate, returned to the front office, where she continued to answer the phone and greet people. Others continued working but also ate alone at their desks.
The few of us who worked until lunchtime had the unspoken invitation to leftovers, while those who had already eaten left the office on their normal "lunch hour."
Whoever planned this so-called party should have taken some responsibility for managing the flow of food and people. Food should have been refrigerated until it was put out at lunchtime. Potlucks can be fun, easy and delicious. But they still require some very basic party-management skills.
Write to Amy Dickinson firstname.lastname@example.org Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.
2007by the Chicago Tribune Distributed by Tribune Media Services Inc.