Dear Prudence

Pregnant With Fear

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Dear Prudie,
While being a mother is a life goal, my problem is all with the physical aspects. The whole thought of pregnancy and childbearing disgust and frighten me to a degree where I don’t know if I can bring myself to go through with it. I am not a two-ton Tessie, but I’m petrified of getting fat. I am also a bit of an obsessive-compulsive neatnik. I associate pregnancy and childbirth with what happens to the people in the
Alien movies … there is this thing growing and mooching off of me for months, then bursting out in a most painful and disgusting manner. Ever since I can remember being told how babies were made, I have always felt this way, and the feelings seem to have compounded as I have gotten older. Do you think this is something that will go away if I just go through with it? My husband knows how I feel and wouldn’t pressure me into going through with it if I really don’t want to. I am not opposed to trying to get over this phobia, with the hope that I can enjoy what is supposed to be the most wonderful time for a woman.


Dear Yog,
Whoever told you “how babies were made” certainly did a number on you, with disastrous repercussions. What is tough, in your case, is that it sounds as though you want to have a baby but don’t feel able to go through the pregnancy. And for that, actually, there’s a solution. You and your husband could adopt or go the surrogate mother route. You do not say if you have tried psychotherapy to learn why you have such extreme fear and disgust about something that is very natural. Not every deep-seated fear can be alleviated, however, and if you can’t overcome your impediments, do not force yourself to go through pregnancy as a character-building exercise. You are fortunate that your husband is leaving this decision to you. Good luck.

—Prudie, explorationally

Dear Prudence,
I am 26 years old, and my issue is that I’m attracted to a 15-year-old. Her parents have expressed their approval of our dating, but I’m wondering how I should approach this situation, which not everyone would see as innocent. I also remember that the road between 15 and 26 encompasses a lot of emotional changes, and I don’t want to accidentally become some sort of stumbling block for her. My parents were 10 years apart, but they met when my mom was 20. I’m not worried about the age difference for five years down the road, but for a while it cannot help but be an issue.

—Somewhere in Time

Dear Some,
Your judgment is better than the girl’s parents, and your instincts are correct that this would be an inappropriate romance because of developmental issues. It is hard to imagine that you two would have a chaste relationship, and if you didn’t, it would be statutory rape in most states—at which time the child protective services would swing into action. Prudie cannot even imagine why this girl’s parents are so gung-ho about sanctioning this romance. (Are you the heir to a major American fortune?) It may prove difficult, but keep track of the young lady. If you both still feel the attraction when she’s of legal age, then who knows? You two might duplicate your parents’ age span … plus one. Prudie’s guess, however, is that you will cast your gaze on another in the nearer future.

—Prudie, applaudingly

Dear Prudence,
I have been married for several years to my lovely wife. Over this period, things have been up and down (i.e., money problems, stepson). We have three dogs in our house, and Lord knows I don’t want another—and I thought my wife didn’t, either. To my surprise she brought up my stepson wanting another dog. Of course I said no, and she agreed. Well, just the other day I come to find out she went behind my back and got a dog for him anyway, which I find typical of her behavior when it comes to her son. Whatever he wants, he gets. I asked her why she allowed this to happen, and she would not respond. Needless to say, I was upset because she went behind my back. She will not talk about any of this. What should I do?


Dear Frus,
Too bad the kid is in charge because he’s gonna continue to ratchet up the disagreements between the two of you—which may be the whole idea. You need to consult with a kiddie shrink who will convince your wife that youngsters who call the shots wind up in a not very good place. The son is not so subtly making his mother choose between his wishes and yours. Because you say your wife will not respond, tell her the situation needs mediation and that if she refuses to talk about it, she, the kid, and the four dogs will have to live without you. If you fail to get hold of the situation now, your married life won’t be worth a plug nickel. This woman cannot say “no” to her son, and for everyone’s good, that must change.

—Prudie, absolutely

Dear Prudence,
I responded to a personal ad last month. Since then, we have talked on the phone almost every night. (I have been separated, then divorced for the last five years; he has been divorced for almost a year and a half.) Over the weekend, we decided to meet at his place. One thing led to another, and we had sex. He e-mailed me this week saying that everything is going too fast for him and he needed to sort things out and decide what he wanted in life. I thought that we had this connection and were starting to build a friendship. I don’t know what I did wrong. Should I even bother calling him? I still think he’s a nice guy.


Dear Beth,
Oh my, the old one-thing-led-to-another pothole. As to why this relationship went nowhere, either you struck this guy as easy and he lost interest, or the in-person meeting wasn’t quite what he had in mind … and he decided the evening shouldn’t be a total loss. You were too anxious for it all to work out, so you fell into bed. For Pete’s sake, do not call him. This situation is a no-hoper. With the next candidate, however, if you think you’re starting to build a friendship, do just that: Build a friendship. And then let nature take its course … and sloooowly. You will feel better about yourself.

—Prudie, gradually