Dear Abby

Wife Who Yearns for Husband's Support Must Rely on Her Own

DEAR ABBY: While I was nine months pregnant with my first child, I asked my husband what he would say if I had any problem during my delivery and he was asked to choose between me or the baby. His answer was, "Of course I'd pick the baby because you can never replace the baby." His answer broke my heart. Four days later, my water broke at 36 weeks, and I thank God for giving me a healthy little boy.

While in labor, I was terrified because I had some complications with my health at the beginning of my pregnancy. I can't get it out of my head now, because I feel like my husband doesn't love me. I have tried to talk to him about how it hurt me, but his answer is that this is his belief and I can't change that. Was I wrong for asking him? -- MOTHER IN AMARILLO, TEXAS

DEAR MOTHER: I don't think so. You were asking for his reassurance, and I'm sorry you didn't get it. If a child is delivered in a Catholic hospital, the policy is to save the child if a choice must be made. It appears this is also your husband's belief.

My advice is, dry your tears and remember that what he implied about wives being replaceable can also be said about husbands. Perhaps it's time to give serious thought to drawing up a health care directive so that, in the event you should become unable to make decisions for yourself in the future, your wishes are clearly known.

DEAR ABBY: When I was in my 20s and out on my own, my father left my mother for his secretary, "Doris." They married soon after. She is a nice enough person, but she can be a little pushy. I have had to work on setting boundaries with her.

Every time we talk or visit -- maybe once a month -- Doris makes a point of telling me she loves me, and it's clear she's hoping I will reciprocate. I'm happy we are on good terms. I'm glad she's married to my dad because he seems happy with her. I'm comfortable with my daughter calling her Grandma. But I can't bring myself to tell her I love her because I don't feel that way about her.

I hoped Doris would get it when I responded with things like, "It's great to see you, too," but it hasn't happened. She's estranged from her own daughter, and I think she wants to feel like she's my mom, which I'm not comfortable with.

Dad refuses to talk about anything related to his wife, so he is of no help. How can I get my stepmother to back off without hurting her feelings? I want to remain on good terms. -- ON GOOD TERMS IN ILLINOIS

DEAR ON GOOD TERMS: Try saying this: "You're loved, too, Doris." It's not a lie because your dad does love her, and it may satisfy her if she doesn't see this column.

DEAR READERS: Tomorrow is Thanksgiving, and no Thanksgiving would be complete without my sharing the traditional prayer penned by my dear mother:

Oh, Heavenly Father,

We thank Thee for food and remember the hungry.

We thank Thee for health and remember the sick.

We thank Thee for friends and remember the friendless.

We thank Thee for freedom and remember the enslaved.

May these remembrances stir us to service,

That Thy gifts to us may be used for others.


Have a safe and happy celebration, everyone! -- Love, ABBY

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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