Dear Amy: I am experiencing an unplanned pregnancy with a stable, loving, and supportive partner.
We are in our late 30s and for a myriad of reasons, we decided we will carry on with the pregnancy and become parents.
We don’t make a lot of money and we live in a small apartment, but we know that all things are possible, and we choose to remain positive.
However, some of my closest friends are reacting in ways I didn’t expect.
Some of their responses seem rude at best, and anxiety-inducing at worst.
I am doing my best to be empathetic.
I understand that everyone is justified in feeling a certain way about unplanned pregnancies – might there be any advice you have for me about how to move past their reactions?
– Mixed Reviews
Dear Mixed: Yes, people’s varied feelings regarding an unplanned pregnancy are justified. What I mean is that people have a right to their own feelings.
But when it comes to someone else’s pregnancy and her choice regarding that pregnancy, people should keep their opinions, concerns, or misgivings to themselves.
When a woman announces her pregnancy, the response should be positive and supportive.
If someone responded to you in a way that was less than positive and supportive, then that person should get it together and connect with you again in order to listen, talk, commiserate (if it comes to that), and offer their support to you.
The empathy should flow from them to you; this is one situation where you shouldn’t carry the burden of empathizing with them.
If you need support that you are not receiving, you should bravely ask for it.
The way to move past these reactions is the same way you will experience this pregnancy: one day at a time. Experiencing a pregnancy can be like marking time according to a slowly-emptying “hourglass” that lasts for nine months.
Every day brings new realizations, challenges, joys, and excitement – where it is important to concentrate more on yourself and your household, and less on the opinions of others.
This is great practice for experiencing the first year of your baby’s life, where “one day at a time” is the wisest way to go, and where the hours sometimes drag, but the year seems to fly.
Dear Amy: I’m going through some tough times. I’ve always been strong and independent, and I think I’ve also been a good friend.
I know my old friends care about me, but I need more right now, but I don’t know how to ask for it.
Do you have any suggestions?
– Feeling Down
Dear Feeling Down: I’m publishing your question as a tribute to a friend of mine (we go way back), who recently reached out via group text with an update, followed by a statement saying that she could really use the support of her friends right now.
She immediately received it.
When I spoke with her, I thanked her for giving us the opportunity to pull together. I told her that her transparent “ask” was honoring our very long friendship.
She said that her (very wise) daughter reminded her that asking for help is giving people who care about her an opportunity to be of service.
To anyone out there who is hurting, please understand that asking for help is not only an act of bravery, but it is also an act that honors your relationships, by giving people who care about you a pathway to be helpful, and an opportunity to express their love and compassion.
I hope you can make this “ask.”
Dear Amy: “Upstairs Neighbor” wondered whether she should tell her downstairs neighbor that she could be heard loudly snoring at night.
My “vote” is a firm yes!
I live in a townhouse, and my bedroom adjoins the bedroom next door.
My neighbor informed me that he could hear me snoring and that I might have sleep apnea.
I got tested, and he was right! I started using the prescribed “Continuous Positive Air Pressure” (“CPAP”) device.
As a result, I no longer wake up with raging headaches that stay with me for hours in the morning.
So yes, the Upstairs Neighbor should put aside thoughts of embarrassment and encourage her downstairs neighbor to consult her doctor.
A sleep test would seem to be in order.
– Well Rested
Dear Rested: It is so helpful when readers contact me to relay their own personal experience with a specific topic. Thank you for offering yours.