Disapproval of pregnancy becomes permanent rift

Published 12:15 pm Monday, July 27, 2020

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DEAR ABBY: I became pregnant with my second child in 2013. When my extended family heard the news, it was not well-received, particularly by my grandmother and aunt-in-law. They said things like, “We love you, but we’re embarrassed and ashamed.” My once loving grandmother said some particularly cruel things.
I have to be honest — I was angry. I swore at her after she accused me of “using” my partner of 10 YEARS to get pregnant. The gossip and hateful comments from my family shocked me to my core. I wasn’t asking for a blessing, but unconditional love from this God-fearing woman was definitely expected.
Fast-forward to now: My grandmother continues to hold anger and resentment toward me. She says it’s because I’ve “sullied our family name.” I apologized for my outburst, but she won’t forgive me. Now my uncle is blaming me for her poor health! I have forgiven her, but when I took my kids to her house, she slammed the door in our faces. I’m at a loss about how to fix this. Should I say, “So long, farewell”? What can I do? — GIANT MESS IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR MESS: The person responsible for your grandmother’s poor health isn’t you — it’s her. It’s not unheard of for people who hang onto anger and resentment the way she does to make themselves sick. That she would slam the door in the faces of her great-grandchildren is reprehensible.
You haven’t sullied the family name, and you cannot fix this by yourself. The healthiest thing you can do, for yourself AND your children, is move forward and don’t look back.
DEAR ABBY: My family and I are planning a get-together. It has been several months since we have been together because of the pandemic. Our younger brother has a new girlfriend who was introduced to everyone at the last get-together.
That day, one sister mentioned a political proposition that was up for a vote in her state. The new girlfriend kept repeating “No politics!” every time my sister started talking about it. My sisters and I think it was very rude.
Now the new girlfriend will be in my home, and I am sure politics will be a topic of conversation, considering the current economic, political and health crises going on. My family likes discussing current events, and I don’t feel we should be silenced because of a guest. How should this be handled so as to not offend and distance our brother’s new girlfriend, but allow us to continue having conversations that are meaningful to us as a family? — OUTSPOKEN IN FLORIDA
DEAR OUTSPOKEN: Someone, preferably your brother, should have a chat with this woman before the next family gathering and make clear that your family enjoys talking about current events — politics included — and she does not have the right to dictate to the rest of you what you can or cannot talk about. If the subject makes her uncomfortable, she should either move to another room or skip the event. This does not have to be said unkindly, but the rest of you should not be expected to kowtow to her.
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.comor 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 $16 (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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