Dear Abby
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MOTHER'S ALCOHOLISM POSES SERIOUS THREAT TO HER BABY

DEAR ABBY: I just realized I'm six weeks pregnant. I have always wanted to start a family and raise children with my fiance, but I have a big problem. I am an alcoholic and have been struggling with this issue for a few years. I don't know the effect this could have on my baby, but I know it isn't good. My fiance also drinks a lot, and our home situation isn't the greatest for a child because of it.

What can I do that would be helpful in my circumstances? I don't want to put my baby's life at risk. I tried AA in the past, but was unsuccessful. I'm afraid I'm destroying my family before it is started. -- TRAINWRECK IN VIRGINIA

DEAR TRAINWRECK: You are right to be concerned. If you plan to have this baby, it's important that you find a gynecologist and quit drinking IMMEDIATELY! If you can't find the strength to do it for yourself, then do it for the sake of your little one.

According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention:

"There is no safe time to drink alcohol during pregnancy. Alcohol can cause problems for the developing baby throughout pregnancy, including before a woman knows she is pregnant. Drinking alcohol in the first three months of pregnancy can cause the baby to have abnormal facial features. Growth and central nervous system problems (e.g., low birth weight, behavioral problems) can occur from drinking alcohol anytime during pregnancy. The baby's brain is developing throughout pregnancy and can be affected by exposure to alcohol at any time.

"If a woman is drinking alcohol during pregnancy, it is never too late to stop. The sooner a woman stops drinking, the better it will be for both her baby and herself."


DEAR ABBY: I have been with my girlfriend, "Kendra," for four years. We're ready to take our relationship to the next level, but I'm starting to have second thoughts because of her mother. To put it simply, she's not a nice woman, and she doesn't have any friends. Her husband died a few years ago, which makes her very much alone. Her only social life is Kendra.

Abby, she thinks of me as a threat to their relationship, and she's trying everything in her power to break us up. She says negative things about me to Kendra and she's rude to me at all times. She says she will not give us her blessing if we decide to marry.

Because we live only 10 minutes from her and have no possibility of moving farther away, is it possible to have a healthy marriage with such a "cancer" in our lives? Or would our marriage be doomed from the start? Do I stay or do I go? -- UNSURE IN PENNSYLVANIA

DEAR UNSURE: Unfortunately, no one can make this decision for you. Much depends upon whether Kendra can recognize how unhealthy her relationship with her mother is and distance herself emotionally. While love can conquer almost everything, unless she can do that, and not allow herself to feel guilty for being happy, marriage to Kendra could be like competing in a marathon with one foot encased in a barrel of cement. I'm not saying don't do it, but pointing out that if you do, it will be a challenge.


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 www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.


To receive a collection of Abby's most memorable -- and most frequently requested -- poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby -- Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. Shipping and handling are included in the price.

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