Dear Prudence: My husband doesn’t want me to get pregnant. But I am.

Help! My Husband Fell to His Knees and Praised God When I Miscarried.

Help! My Husband Fell to His Knees and Praised God When I Miscarried.

Advice on manners and morals.
Sept. 16 2013 12:00 PM

A Little Bundle of Fear

In a live chat, Prudie advises a woman terrified by what her husband will do when he finds out she’s pregnant.

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A: I remain baffled how you could even contemplate having sex with this guy. I know there are some post-vasectomy children walking around, but they're rare. How unfortunate your husband's vasectomy wasn't successful (if he even had one). So now you're dealing with "the pregnancy thing." I also think you should deal with the therapist thing because you need to do some serious rethinking about your life before you become a mother. Keep in mind, just because you're married to a dreadful person does not mean you can't celebrate your own pregnancy. And if you fear for your safety, contact the National Domestic Violence Hotline: 800-799-SAFE about what steps to take next.

Q. Wedding Etiquette: I am in my late 20s and my fiancé is in his early 30s. As you can imagine, the last year was chock full of weddings and next year will be the same, culminating with our own wedding. Finances are tight. Very tight. It is already a struggle to get the funds together just to travel to close friends' weddings, and giving a gift on top of that is really tough. I opted to do the following: For good friends I go to the wedding and give a homemade gift. I have a glass-etching kit and I etch the bride and groom's names and the wedding date along the edge of a round mirror and it can then be used under a centerpiece on a table or hung on a wall. For more distant friends or acquaintances I have sent my regrets, but no gift. How much of a faux pas am I making here?


A: I love your gift and wish you'd been invited to my wedding (except that I eloped). If you're getting invites to weddings from people whom you have to look up in your contact list to clarify who they are, then a simple regret is fine. But if you actually do know them well enough to legitimately make the guest list, then sending along one of your lovely monogrammed mirrors would be a gracious thing to do.

Q. Re: 13-year-old not eating: Prudie, I was concerned that you focused your answer on the girl's being 50 pounds overweight. That is not really a health crisis. Not eating all day IS. Sure, I think that the advice might be the same, but it is so, so important to approach this girl not by saying "you're fat and need help to get healthy" but by saying "you're not eating all day, and that's extremely unhealthy and just won't work." Counseling to discuss food issues (and other issues—maybe this isn't food-related at all) does sound like a good plan. More so than a nutritionist.

A: Let me clarify. I meant she needs to see a professional who specializes in young people and food issues globally—including identifying eating disorders. The girl needs someone who can help her with body image, good food choices, the destructiveness of skipping meals then bingeing, etc. I didn't mean someone who's going to tell her eat kale as often as she can. The mother should start with the pediatrician and get some names of professionals who can take a broad overview of her child's issues, and who can recommend additional types of counseling if necessary.

Q. Is It Always Like This? I divorced my husband of six years this spring, and even though the initial excitement of a new lease on life was exhilarating, I have found actuality to be just dreary and dismal. I fear I am spiraling downward and I have no way to stop it. My friends have given me some support, but I really don't think they fully understand the depth of my despair. I really don't know if I am reacting normally to this life change or if I need some help. When I pleasure myself (which unfortunately has been necessary since the split), I always end up in tears because it reinforces how lonely I am. Recently, I have even taken to only shaving one leg so when I lie in bed at night I feel like a man is next to me. Should I expect this sort of reaction even after close to a year of mentally ending my marriage? Is there hope I will see light and feel at least some happiness again? Thank you for your advice.

A: Consider keeping notes for a novel; that detail about one unshaven leg is striking. The depth of your despair is not normal, even though it seems completely normal to find that the reality of being suddenly single is not the rainbows and lollipops of your fantasies. You don't say why your marriage ended, but it can be helpful to sort out what went wrong with a counselor—not for rehashing purposes but to try to keep from entering unwittingly into a similar situation. But you sound depressed, and fortunately if you address this with a professional, you might quickly see an improvement in your mood and a return to a sense of excitement about this new phase of your life.

Emily Yoffe: Thanks everyone. Talk to you next week.

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Emily Yoffe is a contributing editor at the Atlantic.