DEAR ABBY: I am a happily married, 26-year-old female with just one problem: I'm afraid to have children.
I have always wanted children, and it's something my husband and I often discuss. Anytime we are asked when we plan to start our family, we always say four to five years, but we have been saying this same thing for four years. I always thought I'd be ready by now.
My husband has been very sick for the past few years and had to take time off work. We were able to scrape by on my salary, but it was tough. He returned to work recently and is fine. But now all I can think about is how much children cost, and I'm afraid we'll never have enough money to have a baby.
I also worry about what if our child would be killed in an accident, molested or kidnapped. I ask myself why anyone would want to bring children into such a scary world, yet I still want them. Please help me. I am very upset and don't know what to do. -- UNCERTAIN IN TULSA
DEAR UNCERTAIN: I understand your concerns and they are valid. Having children is an act of faith as well as an investment in the future.
If you think about it, life itself is a gamble. Mature individuals do everything they can to keep the odds in their favor. They work hard, live healthy lives, buy insurance, start an education fund for their children, etc. There are no guarantees -- but people keep having children anyway.
Because you feel stuck in making this decision, it would be helpful to discuss your concerns with a licensed mental health professional who can help you put your fears to rest.
DEAR ABBY: I am a 30-year-old mother of a 5-year-old girl. I have been dating "Mack" for two years. Everything was great at first, but when I moved in with him things changed.
I don't have a car right now. I work less than a mile away, so I walk mostly and don't mind. The problem is, when Mack gets off work, he picks up his son and goes straight home. He doesn't call or text me to ask where I am, or drive by to see where my child and I are walking. When I arrive home, I'll find his son watching TV and Mack doing something else.
I keep telling him I need respect. What would you do if you were in my shoes? Temperatures are in the mid-90s here in the summer, and it can get to you when you're walking. -- UPSET MAMA IN TEXAS
DEAR UPSET: If you haven't ASKED Mack to pick you up when he leaves work so you're not stuck in the blazing heat -- with your child, yet -- you should. That he wouldn't think of it himself shows not only a lack of consideration for your feelings but also for your little girl's welfare.
Because his behavior has changed since you started living with him, consider this change to be a red flag. If things don't improve, start looking for other living arrangements for you and your daughter because it appears you and Mack do better when you're not cohabiting.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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