Cou­ple hid­ing preg­nancy from fam­ily

Baltimore Sun - - ENTERTAINM­ENT -

Dear Amy: My part­ner and I are ex­pect­ing a baby. It’s our first, and the only grand­child in his fam­ily.

I moved in with him and his fam­ily right af­ter we dis­cov­ered that we were preg­nant. The prob­lem is that dur­ing this time, his par­ents’ re­la­tion­ship de­te­ri­o­rated, re­sult­ing in a messy di­vorce.

We’ve de­cided that it was best to hide the preg­nancy from his fam­ily as long as we can, due to how child­ish and toxic his mother is. His fa­ther has moved out.

My part­ner has se­ri­ous re­sent­ments to­ward his mother from a past fu­eled by al­co­holism and emo­tional abuse.

I don’t feel safe with her be­ing alone with our baby since she drinks and drives all the time. She’s so self­ab­sorbed that she doesn’t even no­tice that I am seven months preg­nant.

We are do­ing our best to save money to get our own place to live, but the baby will be here soon. We don’t want her and her toxic be­hav­ior around the baby.

Are we wrong for not want­ing to tell her or her side of the fam­ily?

What should we do?

Dear Ready: This is the first of many tests you will face as par­ents, so take re­spon­si­bil­ity for your lives and your choices, and tell the truth. By liv­ing with your part­ner’s fam­ily, you have made your preg­nancy their busi­ness. The pres­ence of a baby in the house­hold will have a pro­found im­pact on all of you. It is not right to spring this on ev­ery­one at the last minute.

You feel strongly that your part­ner’s mother should not be alone with the baby. So don’t leave her alone with the baby. You are the child’s par­ents. You are re­spon­si­ble for your child’s safety and well­be­ing, even if that means con­fronting chal­leng­ing per­sonal sit­u­a­tions.

You and your part­ner need to get your act together and keep it together. This means telling the truth, cre­at­ing boundaries while you are in the house­hold — and mak­ing solid plans to leave the house­hold as soon as you can.

Dear Amy: Peo­ple of­ten write to you won­der­ing what to say to oth­ers who are griev­ing.

My wife and I lost a son over four decades ago. Be­fore that tragedy, I would feel un­com­fort­able if I met peo­ple who had lost a pre­cious one. Now, I know what to do and say.

Say to the be­reaved, “I can only imag­ine your sor­row.” Of­fer to hug them, and if it brings you to tears and sobs, that is OK. More than any­thing else, that ges­ture lets them know that you care.

Don’t ever say, “I know how you feel.” Only those who had ex­pe­ri­enced such a tragic loss know.

Don’t dis­ap­pear from them. When it hap­pened to us, friends that we had been very close to van­ished. Other peo­ple that we had never met ap­peared and helped with hugs, tears and what­ever else they could of­fer.

It has been a long time. We will never be “over it.”

The sor­row, pain and ache in one’s heart never to­tally leaves, but it be­comes eas­ier to bear.

Dear DT: Thank you so much for shar­ing your own shat­ter­ing ex­pe­ri­ence. I know it will help oth­ers.

Dear Amy: Thank you for in­clud­ing a ref­er­ence to my work in your re­sponse to “Not Born in the USA,” a Rus­sian who im­mi­grated to the United States as a teenager and who wants to be­come more ac­cul­tur­ated to Amer­i­can life as an adult.

I ap­pre­ci­ate be­ing in­clud­ing in your sug­gested Amer­i­can read­ing list.

This is way cool. In­di­ans are rarely in­cluded in lists like this. Reser­va­tion­raised In­di­ans are even more in­vis­i­ble.

I know I’m a big name in Amer­i­can lit­er­a­ture, but I’m also a kid who grew up in a HUD house on the rez across the street from the tribe’s K-12 school and only a lit­tle far­ther away from the In­dian Health Ser­vice Clinic. So, you know — waaaaaaaaa­ay In­dian.

So here’s to all of you In­di­ans liv­ing on the rez and all who’ve gone ur­ban (like me).

Here’s to the un­bro­ken con­nec­tion to our an­ces­tors. To all of our in­dige­nous beauty.

Dear Sher­man: “The Ab­so­lutely True Di­ary of a Part Time In­dian (Ha­chette, 2012) is taught in many schools and, along with your sto­ries, nov­els, screen­plays and po­etry, has earned its place in the Amer­i­can canon. Thank you for your work.

Copy­right 2020 by Amy Dickinson

Dis­trib­uted by Tri­bune Con­tent Agency

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