Q: I'm pregnant with our first child. My husband is being very supportive in many ways, but I've also asked him to go to my doctor's appointments. I want him there for support in case something goes wrong, and I also think he should experience everything I have to go through during this pregnancy. Tests, exams, etc.
I've told a friend I expect him to go, and she thought I was being unreasonable. She said I'm going to be a mom and that's just what I have to do. Is it wrong of me to want my husband to experience the whole pregnancy? I think more people should do the same. He says he doesn't have a problem with it, but he could just be trying to keep me happy.
A: How will you get him to experience labor — beat him with a stick?
There's a lot here, actually, that you can take with you into motherhood:
(1) Different people go about parenthood in different ways, usually with the best of intentions. Whether you're judging them or fretting that they all know something you don't, it's best not to get too caught up in the ways of other parents. When you need mentors, pick a few you trust.
(2) Inclusion is good. Teamwork is good. Not being possessive of all your child's milestones is good. So is being transparent about when and how you would like support. "Expect," though? "Everything I have to go through"? That's trouble.
(3) Humoring a spouse occasionally is an act of love, and sure beats picking at every little thing. But if you sense your husband humors you often, then you need to make a good faith effort to be less demanding — with professional help if it comes to that.
(4) Sharing the little moments of pregnancy, baby, family life in general, can bring you and your husband closer in big ways. Those routine appointments can be a magical start to that — which is why it's crucial to ask, not insist.
Illness offers cover to duck calls, but is it the best approach?
Q: The mother of one of my daughter's school friends calls me every few weeks to cheer me up. I have been bedridden with cancer but I am very slowly getting better. The caller and I were never friends, at least in part because I find her suffocating. She is a good person, and I know she means well, but she is not someone I want to chat with. I can't see my caller ID from my bed. I think her kid is terrific, but that is a separate matter. How can I discourage this intrusion kindly?
Not That Dead Yet
A: Best signature ever — my compliments. My best wishes, too, for your recovery.
Surely you can say, most times: "Thanks so much for calling. I'm afraid I'm not up to talking today." Illness offers so few benefits, it's a shame to squander even one.
And, er — cordless phone? Caller ID box? Isn't there a '90s technology that can free you from the tyranny of unwelcome calls?
Every third (or seventh) time, though, a little indulgence might do you both good. Justifications, if needed: It's a lovely impulse she has; it surely gratifies her to feel useful; her kid is terrific; and, alas, it's a monthly-ish call, not a daily one.