Articles by Susan published on https://www.mother.ly/ about pregnancy preparation:
Susan is quoted in the following article about helping new Dads with the transition to fatherhood:
The letters below were submitted to https://www.queendom.com/ and answered by Susan.
22 year old woman who wants to know how to handle a friendship that a parent opposes
44 year old man who is severely depressed
50 year old woman with marital problems
24 year old woman who feels betrayed and hurt by her father
26 year old woman who is pregnant and confused by her boyfriend’s mixed messages
Mother says no to friendship
I come from a wealthy family. My father is a successful businessman and my mother is an engineer. I have two sisters and a brother. I am the eldest. I
am still studying in a college and my grades are quite impressive. English
is my second language.
I have a friend, K. We have been friends for 8 months. She is my classmate.
K is actually a tomboy. Her mother is skeptical about our friendship. She’s
been checking K’s e-mail and found out how close we are, which is pretty
close. She’s been asking K about me and now she wants us to not to be
friends anymore. This upset me greatly, since she’s my only best friend. K
has tried to convince her mother that there is nothing intimate going on
between us but she just wouldn’t listen. What should I do to keep this
friendship? What is the best way to convince K’s mother that we are the best
Anna (22 year-old woman)
Susan Maroto answers:
What does K say about her mother’s reaction to your friendship? You’re in a
tough situation because there isn’t much that you can do to determine what will happen from this point forward, other than to talk to K and express to her clearly how much the friendship means to you and your hope that she will remain your friend. It is K who will decide what the future of your friendship will be.
The issues that really need to be addressed here are not between you and K but rather between K and her mother. Why is her mother so mistrustful and intrusive? At K’s age, it is appropriate for her to establish some independence from her mother and make decisions regarding her friendships without her mother’s input. K will have to decide how to handle her mother – to allow her to continue to violate her privacy and have influence on her
private life or to begin to establish some clear boundaries with her mother.
If K wants to talk to her mother and try to convince her that the two of you are the best of friends and nothing more, then she can certainly do so, though it sounds like her mother may not be willing to see anything other than what she believes she sees between the two of you.
The lesson that both you and K will need to keep in mind is that no one can change anyone else. K will need to realize that she may not be able to
change her mother’s belief about your friendship, and she’ll have to decide whether she is ready to stand up to her mother by continuing the friendship with you against her mother’s wishes. You will need to respect K’s choice, even if she chooses to distance herself from you, which would be very upsetting to you. Ideally, K’s mother will also learn that she can choose her own friends but cannot choose K’s for her (although this depends on how firm K decides to be with her mom).
You said that you have no other best friend . . . but do you have other friends? I hope so, because it’s difficult if you have only one person on
whom you can depend, and it can place more pressure on the relationship with that person if you have no one else to turn to when times are tough.
Best of luck to you, Anna, and I hope that things between you and K (and her
mother) are resolved quickly in a way that is right for everyone.
Susan Maroto, LCSW
Decline into depression
I am a 44-year-old executive who owns his own consulting business. I was married once for not quite three years, have no kids, and have been divorced for nearly 12 years. My upbringing was pretty normal and middle class for its time: Dad owned a retail business, Mom stayed home; Janice and I went to school. I was skipped past all of first, and part of second, grades, and completed university when I was just 20 years old. I have been working ever since.
In June 1996, my father died; mother died in January 1999; I started the business in April 1999; and in May 1999, my younger sister (only sibling) was diagnosed with brain cancer and died in July, 1999. I have no other family, other than some distant cousins I’ve not seen in decades. I have seriously considered suicide three times in my life… Once as an 18 year old while at university; once in my late 20s; and am now, at times, suicidal. I have not had what by any reasonable definition of the term a “girl friend” for 10 years, have not slept with anyone in seven, and stopped dating three years ago. I have one close friend, who lives 700 miles away, and another good friend who lives 350 miles away.
In my own city, I have no real friends or acquaintances, although when I moved here nine years ago I joined organizations, became active in arts or social service groups, gave parties and dinners in my home, all in an unsuccessful effort to meet people and make friends. I stopped doing this a few years ago after growing tired of entertaining the city and never being invited back, or being asked to join others when they go out or do things. My interests include baseball and golf. But the baseball season is ending for the winter, as is golf. My primary social contacts in the summer are visiting with neighbors across the fence; I’ve invited them to BBQs in my yard, but seldom if ever have been asked to their homes. I’ve lost interest in doing much of anything besides trying to build my business, and watching TV in the evening or on weekends. I haven’t read a book in two years, and dropped my magazine subscriptions because I never opened them. I don’t like music or going to films because I have a congenital hearing loss in one ear (90%) and so the sound is just noise to me. I lost interest in sex partially because I was tired of being OK enough to take women on, say, trips but not to bed. Besides, it occurred to me that the screwing I’d get wasn’t worth the screwing I got, so to speak.
I have had therapy from time to time, largely for depression although last year it was for grief at having lost my entire family in such a short period of time. But it has been largely ineffective as I continue to see myself (based on my experience as an adult) as ugly as a tick – I taught myself to look at what I am doing when I shave or tie a tie, not at who’s doing it because I can’t stand to look at myself in a mirror – not worth being friends with, and not having much value to myself or anyone else. On the plus side, I do know that I am smart, creative, empathetic and understanding. Hope this isn’t too much background.
Here are my questions:
Is it possible to come to grips and accept the fact that I am [a] unappealing and [b] not worth being with without becoming depressed about it? I’ve been trying to commit “emotional suicide” for decades, and believe that if I can’t learn how to be emotionally dead, the roller coaster of depression will eventually lead me to a real suicide. How can I adapt to living totally alone?
How can I avoid the depressions, which are not clinical, and without using
medication? I will not go on anti-depressants such as Prozac because of
their reputation and the lingering side effects. Besides, I haven’t been to
a physician since I was 16 (a medical was required for admission to
university) and don’t have a family doctor.
JC (44 year-old man)
Susan Maroto answers:
I’m going to tackle your questions one by one:
Is it possible to come to grips and accept the fact that I am [a] unappealing and [b] not worth being with without becoming depressed about it? I’ve been trying to commit “emotional suicide” for decades, and believe that if I can’t learn how to be emotionally dead, the roller coaster of depression will eventually lead me to a real suicide.
My question to you is, why would you want to come to grips and accept those “facts”? You certainly don’t have to. I would much rather see you transform your view of yourself so that you view yourself as both appealing and as someone worth being with. When you start to see yourself as appealing and worth being with, you will subtly change how you act towards others and they too will begin to see you in that light.
The fact that you’re able to identify some positive qualities about yourself – smart, creative, empathetic and understanding – is a good starting point. Surely someone who has those qualities is (or can be, once other factors such as your entrenched depression are addressed) appealing to others.
Something else is preventing you from connecting with others in the way that you want. Right now, the depression is a big part of what’s in the way. Previously, it sounds like you habitually chose women who didn’t value you or view you in a romantic light. That’s hard, and it sounds like you resent the way women “used” you as a way to get vacations or other treats – and rightfully so. But patterns such as continually choosing the wrong people can be changed, especially if you’re willing to consciously work on changing the pattern with the help of a good therapist. Maybe your prior therapists weren’t the right match for you in terms of personality, style, or technique – it may help to interview several before committing to one. Yes, you have been committing “emotional suicide,” and THAT is what could lead to an actual suicide if you don’t get help soon. But learning how to be “emotionally dead” is neither desirable nor feasible- you can’t make painful emotions go away because you don’t want to have them anymore. But what you can do is to LEARN from your painful emotions. Emotions are basically a feedback mechanism that let us know what is and isn’t working in our lives. In your case, your unhappiness and despair are telling you that you have been too isolated for too long, and that “toughing it out” with lots of work and television isn’t changing your basic unhappiness – it isn’t getting to the root of the problem. In your consulting business, I bet you advise clients to change their strategy if what they’re doing isn’t bringing the results they desire – and it’s no different with working out one’s personal life. The fact that you are so unhappy does not mean that the right decision is to end your life, but it does signal that it is time for a change, and NOW.
Here are some phone numbers I would like for you to have: 1 800 784-2433 is a crisis hotline number – please call if you are feeling like you are edging closer to actually taking those pills at any time. 1 404 245-3900 is a number for the Suicide Information and Education Center.
How can I adapt to living totally alone?
Loneliness and isolation are a big part of the pattern of depression you described, so it’s no surprise that you don’t feel ‘adapted’ to living alone. Humans weren’t designed to be completely on their own – we all need others. Perhaps it would help to try to make contact with others in settings other than work. You could try a support group for depression
(1 (800) 367-6274 is a national referral network for self help groups, which are usually free or very low cost). It can help a lot to realize that you are not alone with your problem, that others suffer from depression, and that IT DOES GET BETTER. As you heal from your depression and establish connections with others, living alone won’t be so difficult because living alone will no longer mean being so alone.
How can I avoid the depressions, which are not clinical, and without using medication? I will not go on anti-depressants such as Prozac because of their reputation and the lingering side effects. Besides, I haven’t been to a physician since I was 16 (a medical was required for admission to university) and don’t have a family doctor.
You may not be able to totally avoid the depressions – all people experience the full range of emotions, including sadness and anger, from time to time. But you can certainly get to a point where the depressions are not constant and are not having such a huge impact on your life. If you completely refuse medication, it may be more difficult. This depression has been 26 years or more in the making (based on your first feeling suicidal at 18 years old) and it is not likely to resolve overnight. While you don’t indicate what led you to feel suicidal at 18, my guess is that whatever it is was never fully resolved and it therefore resurfaced at the other times you mentioned. Perhaps you experienced too much pressure being advanced quickly through school, and your social and emotional development was hurried past your readiness level because of your academic progress. This type of hurrying can result in people not having a good foundation in communication and relationship skills.
You don’t mention why you won’t go to a doctor, but it’s always a good idea to go for a physical to rule out any physiological basis for your depression. (It doesn’t really hurt anything to go – if you don’t like what the doctor suggests or prescribes, you’re not obligated to take his or her advice.) Some people who are reluctant to take medications benefit from herbs such as St. John’s Wort – but this herb can have side effects also and you would be wise to talk with a medical professional before trying it.
Part of the problem at this point is that you have been depressed for so long, you most likely can’t really remember what it is like to feel good – so it is hard to imagine why it would be worth it to stick it out through the painful parts of the process you are going through. People benefit from a range of methods (some people gain help from supportive friends or family, through their religion, through meditation or other spiritual pursuits), and you have to choose according to what “feels right” for you. Therapy is a wonderful tool for helping people with problems such as what you describe, and it is highly effective with depression. I can’t urge you strongly enough to pursue it again, and to keep shopping for a right therapist to work with.
Good luck and take care –
Susan Maroto, LCSW
My husband is 62 and I am 50 years old. We have been married 6 years. We have both been married prior to this. He masturbates and likes oral sex but not intercourse. When we were first married we had intercourse once or twice a month as he said he was too tired and uninterested in lovemaking. Now there is no lovemaking and only his masturbating and my doing him orally. He does not do the same for me, he says it is too much bother. He tells me to go and find some other man my age but morally I don’t want to.
He says he likes his masturbating better than anything and really only wanted a woman to pay half the bills. He has cheated on me in the past but denies it saying it is all in my head. He is jealous and if I say that I am going for a walk he says be careful that no man tries to pick me up. I have also found out that his first wife divorced him because of his cheating. He hates Florida but I am tired of moving (5 times in 6 years). Also, I bought a home here. He ran away from our home in Upstate New York to move here then wanted me to move down too. He says that I am a good wife and treat him like gold. Iif I am such a good wife why does he want me to find someone else?
Do you think that he really loves me or cares about me? Do men really do this – want their wife to find another? Does he really want to leave me but is trying to get me to do it first? I am confused and hurt.
Rose (50 year-old woman) from Largo, FL
Susan Maroto answers:
I noticed that the three questions you asked at the end of your letter were all about your husband – whether or not he loves and cares about you, whether his behavior is normal or typical and whether or not he wants to leave. I think it’s more important at this point to ask what YOU want in this marriage. It doesn’t sound from your letter as if you are satisfied with the way things are going, and I think that your feelings are really what count right now. You don’t say if you love this man or not. You also don’t say whether it’s always been this way between you, or was there a time with him when things were different (and better) than they are now? It’s hard for me to say what’s going on for your husband, but it doesn’t sound as if your needs are being met in your present relationship. How does it make you feel when your sexual relations with him are designed for his gratification but your sexual desires aren’t taken into consideration, or when he tells you that he really just wanted someone to split the bills with? It’s not really a question of whether your husband is “right” or “wrong,” because there are many variations as to what people want in a marriage, and as long as the arrangement is satisfying to both people, it can work – even if it isn’t considered “typical” by other people. But what does matter is that you sound unhappy with the current arrangement. You are confused and hurt, and that’s not how it has to be for you.
You don’t mention your prior marriage or other relationships, but I wonder whether this is the first time you’ve had a relationship in which your needs
and wishes were shoved aside in order to accommodate the other person’s.
Often a person learns certain patterns in relationships early on and then finds themselves in relationships that have that pattern over and over again, even if the pattern is not one that makes them happy. I wonder whether or not you’ve ever had a period of time in which you were alone, without a man in your life. Sometimes people are so scared to be by themselves that they will accept a relationship in which the other person doesn’t treat them well rather than risk being on their own.
The positive news is that if you are indeed not satisfied with how things are, then you can learn to change your pattern in relationships. It starts by going to a good therapist or counselor (one with whom you feel comfortable) to understand where you learned the original pattern (often in
the family you grew up in). Then you learn how to make changes so that you can start having relationships that are more satisfying to you. Once you are clear on issues such as what you want and how you want to be treated in relationships, then you can start to change how you act towards others. With your husband, this may include sitting down and talking with him and explaining to him what it is that you want in your marriage. You might ask if he would go to couples counseling with you (but I would do this only after you’ve had enough individual sessions to become clear in your own head about what it is that you want). If he won’t go with you and won’t make changes to compromise, then you will need to decide if you can live with the current dynamics as they are – and if you want to.
I would encourage you to find a good therapist and being to figure out now
what changes you would like to see in your marriage – and possibly in other relationships as well. You certainly deserve to have the relationship you want, one in which you are treated with respect and consideration, and you don’t have to go on feeling confused and hurt.
Good luck, Rose.
Susan Maroto, LCSW
A father’s promise
I am a 24 year-old female. My parents were divorced when I was 5 years old. My father cheated on my mom, then mom divorced him. I have an older brother who is 26 years old. My father favored my brother. I tried all my life to have a father-daughter relationship. My father never calls, NEVER writes.
When I was 10, he suffered a massive heart attack and survived. He promised me we would have a better relationship. It never happened. Every time we talked, he was more concerned with figuring out why my brother had problems – not me. Four years ago, my father’s father died. I was so upset, we had a long talk, he promised again. Things got a little better, then he failed to call me on my birthday, said he got me something for Christmas, never sent it to me. Haven’t heard from him now for a year.
How do I forget and forgive? My father has never been there for me and has always let me down. He always had time for my brother, he even told me he favored my brother when we were growing up. My father is very selfish and always put his needs before his children’s. He is very manipulative and doesn’t know how to have a meaningful relationship with his kids (or doesn’t care to). He has promised me he would try more with me, but he never calls or visits or writes. I am always so hurt because I have a father, but I don’t. He tries so hard with my brother, but not with me.
I am a lot like my dad in ways other than I’ve described. After last Christmas and my birthday when he let me down so hard he then refused to call me or take my calls. I guess he felt guilty for the way he treated me. He probably knew I would be mad and didn’t want to hear it. Anyways, we haven’t spoken in a year now and everyday, it gets harder. I love him but hate the person he is. I know if his health keeps up the way it’s going, he won’t be around much longer. I want to forgive him, but I know he’ll just disappoint me again and I don’t know if I can handle it.
J (24 year-old woman) from Florida
Susan Maroto answers:
It sounds like you are hurting quite a lot because of your father’s actions, and understandably so. Your question is how to go about forgiving and forgetting, and it’s admirable that you want to do so. So many people get “stuck” at the stage of blaming the other person and carry around a lot of anger and feelings of victimization for years.
Several things come to mind. It sounds like you are already able to look at things from your father’s perspective (such as when you acknowledge that he probably didn’t call you due to embarrassment over his behavior, and when you say that he may not know how to have a meaningful relationship with his kids). I’ve worked with a lot of parents over the years, including some who have been outright abusive to their kids. Every parent I worked with wanted to do right by their child and wanted what was best for their child. But many people, because of their own circumstances and upbringing, just don’t have many emotional resources from which to draw and their children end up shortchanged because of this. It doesn’t make what these parents do RIGHT, but it does at least make their actions UNDERSTANDABLE when viewed through the framework of their life history.
Forgiveness starts by recognizing that your father, in all likelihood, has not been intentionally trying to hurt you all of these years. What’s more likely is that because of his own emotional wounds he simply has not been able to do any better by you, although he may have been aware that he wasn’t giving you what you deserved from him. Forgiveness indicates an awareness that no one is perfect and that we all make mistakes. Forgiveness does NOT mean that you then assume the person’s actions will change. Your statement
“I want to forgive him, but I know he’ll just disappoint me again and I
don’t know if I can handle it” indicates your belief that if you forgive
him, then the slate is wiped clean, and his end of the bargain is to change
his behavior. For your own emotional protection, I think it’s important that
you keep your expectations of your father realistic – i.e., consistent with
what he’s shown you over the years. If you expect your father to change, to
follow through on his promises and try harder to maintain a relationship
with you, all because you forgave him, then you are setting yourself up for
more hurt. He has a past record of making and breaking promises with you.
Chances are that he will continue to do so, whether or not you forgive him.
The only person that you can change is yourself. People expend tremendous amounts of energy trying to change the people in their lives, but it just isn’t possible to do so.
When you decide how much contact to have with your father, it is best to be respectful of your own limits. If you know you can’t handle more hurt, it is perfectly okay to place more distance between you so that you are not as vulnerable to being hurt. It’s also perfectly okay to be honest with your father about your mixed feelings – your love for him but your refusal to subject yourself to more hurt because of his actions.
You also asked about “forgetting” your father’s actions. It’s not possible to develop selective amnesia just because the memories are painful, and even if it was possible to do so, it wouldn’t be healthy. The situation with your father was real and true, and to attempt to wipe out those memories and pretend that they never occurred would not be beneficial. It is better to acknowledge what happened, acknowledge that it was (and is) painful, and then move on as best you can from that point.
A good therapist could be very helpful to you in exploring your feelings of hurt and disappointment with your father and finding a way to make peace
with your past and move forward with your life. There is no need to endlessly repeat past patterns of hoping for improvement and then allowing yourself to be crushed when improvement doesn’t occur, and people often do get stuck repeating patterns and experiencing a great deal of unnecessary pain until they make a conscious decision to change their patterns. I wish you a lot of luck.
Susan Maroto, LCSW
Alone and confused
I moved to a new city 6 months ago. I am 2,000 miles away from family and friends with a new job and a new apartment, and a new roommate. I met my next door neighbor when I moved here, and we became close friends. He and I started dating a month later and we fell in love quickly.
After two months of dating he said, “I love you.” We do everything together…make dinner, joined the same gym, hiking, movies, reading, sleep in the same bed almost every night. He is my best friend and my boyfriend. He tells me continually that he’s never loved anybody as much and he never knew dating could be this fun. He’s only had two other serious relationships and it surprised both of us when we fell in love so quickly and easily. Now for the trouble – his roommate is also his cousin. She moved here a few months before I did, so she was still pretty new. My roomie and I invited her to girl’s nights out, dinner, and movies. She always said no or cancelled. Then she started leaving the room when I would come to the apartment. My boyfriend noticed her behavior and didn’t like it. He would vent his frustrations about her to me. She is older than him (and older than me) and yet she doesn’t pay her share of the rent, pays late, doesn’t pay bills, her parents pay her car payment, doesn’t clean up after herself, and complains to him constantly. She says she’s lonely and doesn’t have any friends here and that she’s miserable. Yet she avoids me and everybody else. Turns out she has some good friends from college here and also her brother.
She started spending all of her time at her brother’s house, flirting with his roommates. My boyfriend was relieved, because he’d felt like she was getting too attached to him, even flirting.
Then I found out I was pregnant a few weeks ago. At first it was horrible… my boyfriend tried to get me to have an abortion. Then he realized that I don’t want it and he kept telling me how much he loves me and that he will
stand by me through everything. He told me he wants me to move in with me in a few months. He told me that anybody who stood between us or didn’t support us would be out of his life. Four days ago he decided to tell his roommate. He hadn’t told anybody before that. She was the first person he told, because he figured it would affect her the most since she would have to move. She badmouthed me and he let her. Then she told him a sob story of how miserable her life had been recently and how her dad was mad at her for screwing up her life and how broke she is, etc. He came back to me, telling me that he wouldn’t kick out his family or “put his family out on the street” just because I’m pregnant. We got into a huge argument about it. He first said he loved me and would help me pay for an apartment and we’d still be together.
By the end of last weekend he told me he wished I wasn’t his girlfriend or pregnant and that he didn’t want to be with me. All of the promises he made me he broke. Everything he said was the opposite of what it had been before. He left my apartment and left me sobbing on the ground. I cried all day. Two days later I haven’t heard anything from him except for an email saying “I will be here for the child and will help you financially. I do care a lot about you. I am truly sorry about the way it worked out and that our relationship was unhealthy and couldn’t work.” Yesterday his roommate cornered me outside of the apartment building. I had just gotten home from work…she’s never been outside at that time before, I don’t know if she was waiting for me or not. She threatened me and told me she didn’t want me near her apartment, that I better not come near her home. I left a hysterical and crying message for my (ex) boyfriend, and he never called back. And he hasn’t come by, and he hasn’t emailed. This is the longest we’ve ever gone without contact, from the day we met. I go through times when I’m ok, mostly when I am at work (because he’s never there). But I get nervous when I get home. He is next door, and so is she. I don’t have the money to move right now, and I have to stay in this city and at my job until after the baby is born because my insurance is so good.
I’ve contemplated suicide, and the next day I started looking for a counselor. I just don’t understand how he could switch so quickly. We had big, horrible fights for two days straight and he told me I’m irrational. I kept telling him that I was so scared, that I felt abandoned and that I knew this was what his roommate wanted. And yet he didn’t listen. I don’t know what to do. I can’t believe this man who loved me so much, more than anybody, could abandon me and his child and be so cruel.
I don’t understand what is going through his mind. I wish I had some idea of what he really felt, and how I could keep him in my life. Should I try to keep him in my life? Or should I walk away and just apply for child support after the birth. Is what he’s doing normal? And will he see what his roommate is doing? Am I irrational? I’m afraid. Please help me if you can.
Sadness (26 year-old woman)
Susan Maroto answers:
You do sound very sad and confused – understandably so, as there is so much going on in your life right now. I’m glad that you went on the Internet looking for help and took the step of writing a letter, because it shows that you are resourceful and that you are willing to reach out for help. One thing you don’t mention is whether you have a lot of support from other areas of your life. Are you close with your family and friends, and do you use the phone or e-mail to stay in touch since they are so far away? What about your roommate? Are there people who you can talk to about what you’re going through? If not, you may want to think about seeing a counselor to provide you with some emotional support as you sort through everything. It’s important that you find people to help you so you are not so isolated with your sadness and confusion.
It’s hard to say what’s going on with your boyfriend. It may be that even though things appeared to be great prior to your pregnancy, he is not ready for the kind of intimacy that raising a baby together calls for. He is giving you a very clear message with his actions, by not returning your calls and e-mails, about how available he is to you right now. Whenever there’s a contradiction between a person’s words and their actions (he tells you he’ll stick with you no matter what – but then isn’t around), you can
safely assume that the actions are more truthful than the words. That doesn’t mean that he meant to lie to you – he may have meant the words when he said them. He may WANT to stick by you and the baby, as he said. But in reality, so far, he either can’t or won’t be “there” for you in the way that he promised. As to the roommate – despite all appearances, she is not the problem. The problem is between you and your boyfriend, and she ends up playing a role because she is there. If she were not there, there would be some other way that the same dynamics (of getting close and then backing away) would get played out between you and your boyfriend.
You ask whether you should walk away or try to keep him in your life . . . I can’t make that decision for you, because I’m not the one who will have to live with the consequences. I suspect that you already know what you will do. What do your instincts tell you? Listen to your heart, pray if that is a part of your life . . . you know already deep down what the answer to that one is, so go ahead, whatever your choice is! If you and he do get back together, it would be very helpful for the two of you to go to couples counseling. A good counselor can help you to work through your problems – but ONLY if BOTH of you are committed to doing so.
With all that’s going on, though, you don’t mention how YOU are feeling about the pregnancy. How do you feel about having a baby? About becoming a mother? I’m not sure how far along you are, but whatever stage of the pregnancy you are in, you need to do some thinking and some planning. Have you started prenatal care? Have you told your family about the baby? How much maternity leave will your job allow, and what will your plans for childcare be after that? How will you raise the baby as a single parent? You don’t need to have all the answers right now, but you do need to start thinking about the questions. And you need to plan as if you will be alone and make sure that you will be able to manage without any help whatsoever from your boyfriend. If he does follow through with plans to help you, so much the better. But you need to be prepared for the worst case scenario (no help from him) and know that you will be OK if it occurs.
If you don’t feel ready to be a parent, you could consider placing the child for adoption. If you’re interested, you can call a licensed adoption agency (look in the yellow pages). Some agencies offer free counseling to pregnant women considering adoption, and most will allow you to look through profiles of couples waiting to adopt and choose who you would like to adopt the baby.
There are many more options available today for “openness” in adoption; many times the birthmother meets and stays in touch, either through letters and pictures or through phone calls and actual visits, with the adoptive family as the child is growing up.
You said in your letter that you are afraid. What are your worst fears – what’s the very worst that could happen from all of this? Often when we’re afraid, it helps to look at the worst case scenario and realize that while you wouldn’t like it, you probably could survive if the worst were to occur.
Good luck to you. I recognize that this is a very difficult time for you, and I hope that you will continue to look for and take advantage of resources to help you. Take care.
Susan Maroto, LCSW