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Sugar Momma Dear Annie: I am a widow in my mid-70s and am comfortably well off. A year after my husband's death, I moved to an apartment in a smaller city in order to be closer to my daughter's family. However, they have their own lives and rarely include me in …Read more. Drinking the Family Business Dry Dear Annie: My brother, "Ned," worked alongside my dad for many years. Now that Dad is getting up in years, Ned has taken over the business. Ned has had a drinking problem for a long time. Ten years ago, he landed a lucrative contract for the …Read more. Hard-To-Believe I Love Yous Dear Annie: I am in a relationship with a man I met through an online dating site. I hadn't known him long when he broke up with me. But shortly after our relationship ended, I found out I was pregnant. We didn't talk much at the beginning of my …Read more. Ovarian Cancer Awareness Dear Annie: September is National Ovarian Cancer Awareness Month as proclaimed by the U.S. Senate and President Obama, whose mother battled the disease. Ovarian cancer is the most deadly of all gynecologic cancers, affecting one in 72 women. It is …Read more.
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Annie's Mailbox®, March 20

Comment

Dear Annie: I am a 22-year-old single woman and was in an exclusive relationship with "Matt" for six months. We always used protection whenever we were intimate. Last December, he suddenly stopped seeing me and wouldn't return my calls.

I dealt with the breakup as best I could. However, at my recent annual doctor's visit, I was shocked to learn I had an STD. How could this be? Matt and I always used condoms, and I wasn't with anyone else before and haven't been since.

Please explain how this could have happened. — Devastated on Staten Island, New York

Dear New York: While condoms are very effective, they are not foolproof and on rare occasion have been known to break and leak. Also, STDs can be transmitted through oral sex, and some can be spread through any contact with an infected area.

The important thing is that you be treated promptly. For more information, contact the American Social Health Association (ashastd.org) at 1-800-227-8922.

Dear Annie: Last August, I gave birth to my daughter, Anna. I found out during my seventh month of pregnancy that Anna had a severe brain disorder and, at best, would be severely handicapped. I carried to term, but sadly, Anna died two days after she was born.

I occasionally mention to people that I had a daughter, and when they find out the details it's almost as if they write it off because she only lived for two days — as if that makes her life less meaningful. My own family has ignored her existence. My sister commented over Christmas that she had forgotten I'd had a daughter.

I don't know how to respond to these people. My daughter was important to me. Is it wrong to want her to be important to other people, as well? — Denise in Rochester, N.Y.

Dear Denise: It's not wrong, but you are expecting too much to think others must care as much as you do.

You bonded with Anna for your entire pregnancy. Others knew her for a much briefer time. When a child dies, especially so soon after birth, many people have no idea how to deal with it and they minimize the tragedy because it is easier to process. They don't truly understand your loss.

If you have not had some type of memorial service, please consider it. And we also recommend you contact SHARE Pregnancy & Infant Loss Support (nationalshareoffice.com) at 1-800-821-6819. Our deepest condolences.

Dear Annie: I read the letter from "Dad's Crazy," whose newly divorced father plans to let a young woman move in with him.

Her 52-year-old father is now single and his children are grown. While newly divorced women might take time before dating again, men who become single need to feel we can still attract a woman. We tend to rush into intimate relationships much sooner. We can also enjoy this time without the guilt factor of thinking we are cheating.

I hope she won't be too hard on her dad. He still loves her and his grandson, but has to deal with his divorce in his own way, which will most definitely be different from that of her mom. This young woman may be the best thing that's happened to Dad in a long time, even if she isn't in it for the long haul. And I hope "Dad's Crazy" will let her father know she still loves him, whether or not she agrees with all his new choices. — A Man's Point of View

Dear Man: Thanks to all our male readers who wrote to share a man's perspective. We, too, hope his daughter can be forgiving.

Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please e-mail your questions to anniesmailbox@comcast.net, or write to: Annie's Mailbox, P.O. Box 118190, Chicago, IL 60611. To find out more about Annie's Mailbox, and read features by other Creators Syndicate writers and cartoonists, visit the Creators Syndicate Web page at www.creators.com.

COPYRIGHT 2009 CREATORS SYNDICATE, INC.



Comments

8 Comments | Post Comment
LW3: I think the daughter's forgiveness may depend a lot on how the divorce went. Or I should say, what the cause of the divorce was. And that information may never be forthcoming. If the dad was cheating during the marriage, and it seems likely, the daughter might see his post divorce relationship as just another sleezy affair that may have broken up the marriage and hurt her mom. If the mom had been mean and controlling, the daughter might see it as a release for him. One thing I'm sure of, the daughter is not obligated to feel good about her father having an affair or having this girl move in with him. I doubt he'd feel good about her having an affair with a man like himself.
Comment: #1
Posted by: Pat
Thu Mar 19, 2009 10:33 PM
Dear Annie
I"m writing in regards to Denise who lost her baby at 2 days old and is up set no one remembers her daughter and your response was way out of line. Her family should have some kind of compassion it doesn't matter if you lost a child at 2 days or 22 years it your child and especially family should be more compassion for her. Her sister could have said to Denise I'm sorry Anna not with us this Holiday but lets all wish her a Merry Christmas. I don't think that would have been so hard to do to let Denise know they do care and are thinking of her daughter. It's hard enough to lose someone so special to you and then feel like no one care about your lose the pain your going through. She doesn't need a support group she needs family that could and should care, and you said she bonded through her pregnancy and the others only knew her daughter a short time, well are you going to tell me her family wasn't there all that time and they didn't go to the hospital was Anna was born and didn't see her after she was born. I don't believe that for a second. Denise if you are reading this please always remember your love for your daughter will always be the strongest part of you for life and I my self wish little Anna a Happy first Easter in the Heavens above. If no one else remembers her in August I will say a prayer for you and her every year. God Bless you. No name in Niagara falls New York.
Comment: #2
Posted by: penny delong
Fri Mar 20, 2009 7:17 AM
Dear Penny
You are clearly a very caring and sensitive person but I disagree with you. My mother had twins that died prior to having me. I know about it, but it is not part of my life. I do forget this fact as it is not brought up. The emotional pain my mother feels about that is hers alone. By your reckoning my life should be marked by mourning for the brothers I never knew existed. I can have empathy and respect for my mother's experience without having to fake grief for a loss that didn't happen to me. Denise needs counseling. Her family can be supportive of her and not really feel anything for the little girl just as I do not feel for my brothers. But Denise is looking for validation to disrupt her life and other's lives with perpetual mourning. This may be understandable but it is not healthy. She can keep her daughter in her heart as she continues to live and celebrate. The good and bad in life are not always mutually exclusive.
My best to both of you.
Comment: #3
Posted by: Kate
Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:10 AM
About body odor:

To the man who wrote recently that his lady is perfect EXCEPT for strong BO. Save yourself a lot of money, What the makers of
body products don't want you to know is that perspiration has NO odor whatever. What causes body odor are the bacteria which
form in the sweat. You don't need fancy, expensive products and anti-perspirants are NOT a solution. ALL YOU NEED IS PLAIN
RUBBING ALCOHOL (70% will do fine). Just splash it generously in the offending areas and you'll end body odor because you will
kill bacteria. Simple and cheap and effective - like so many solutions.

Good luck.
Comment: #4
Posted by: Richard Block
Fri Mar 20, 2009 9:31 AM
I have been married for 35 years to the same man and feel I need to share my view on what makes a marriage great! I have heard so many women complain that their husbands want to be intimate a whole lot more than they do. IT"S HUMAN NATURE with most men! Love them for it. I can count on one hand the number of times that I "had a headache" or was "too tired" to share my beautiful body with the man that I love. To tell him that I love him and carress him any time that he wants to be with me is not a chore but a chance for me to give myself to him in a loving and caring way. His response is to treat me like a princess! The times when I am feeling intimate, he patiently and completely loves me. He helps with cleaning, shopping, cooking, etc and keeps our home in good repair because it's a place that he truly loves to be loved. There are exceptions and maybe this wouldn't work for everyone but it's a give and take balance that makes things work, at least with us. A good marriage needs constant work and attention. Listen to each others needs and respond, don't own too much "stuff" "Stuff" won't make you happy.
Comment: #5
Posted by: Maria
Fri Mar 20, 2009 3:00 PM
Re: Kate --------- Your situation is not the same thing the letter writer was talking about. I'm really sorry for your mom's loss. You actually come off sounding a bit selfish, that your mom has no business talking about her babies that died because it would cause YOU pain. I sincerely hope that isn't the case. No one would expect you to be in perpetual mourning, but please be open to your mom's pain. I'm sure it's there, especially on the anniversary of their death, even if she doesn't show it to you. -------------
Yes, the letter writer is experiencing extreme grief and should not be told she's wrong for feeling it. She lost a child. It's still a fairly recent event for her. As Penny said, her family must have known about her pregnancy and should have been looking forward to the new baby as well whether they lived near her or not. I have one daughter who lives 4,000 miles away and I obviously do not get to see her on a regular basis. If she were pregnant, I'd be concerned about how the pregnancy was going and how she was feelling. And I'd be looking forward to a new grandchild with joy. And I'd share her grief upon finding out about the child's health problems and certainly be there as soon as possible when I found out she was in labor. You can bet her father would do the same and her sister and brothers would share her grief. We would not brush the baby's death under the rug with a "oh, the baby had big problems; so it's better that it died." And we would never even forget that she'd had a baby that died no less say such a crude and rude thing to her. How very horrible for her. Yes, she's grieving; she has every right to and people, especially her family, should be more sympathetic. And yes, it would help her to get grief counseling. Your mom has had your entire life to work through her grief for her babies. Have you had a heart to heart with her about her feelings lately? Of course you don't personally need to feel grief over the loss of siblings you never knew; but realize you can't put other people's grieving on some timetable. The letter writer wasn't asking for validation, she wanted to understand why no one else in her family seemed to care. Of course some people don't know how to deal with this type of situation and therefore don't talk about it. It's just the sister's remark (less than five months after the event) about not recalling the fact she'd had a baby who died that really strikes me as cold and uncaring and makes me wonder if that's how the whole family feels. You never knew your siblings; these family members knew about this baby and should not only have had more empathy for this young woman, they should have been grieving too. I know I did when my own sister lost her little girl at birth over 50 years ago. She had six more children but still has a sad place in her heart and so do I. And no, she doesn't bring up the subject and never really did around her other children. My heart goes out to that woman and hopes she'll be able have some peace.
Comment: #6
Posted by: Pat
Fri Mar 20, 2009 5:42 PM
Pat, Penny, thanks for saying exactly what I was thinking. The baby was not alive for just 2 days, she was growing inside her mother's womb for 9 months as well. Think about that nice and hard. Think about how the mother must have felt hearig her baby's heartbeat for the first time, or feeling her move inside her, or planning her baby shower, decorating the nursery, her body changing, feeding her from the breast for the first time on her first day in this world. It is NOT too much to expect that your own family would care, much less bother to remember. And if I ever had that cruel realization that I didn't remember I had a niece, I would never say it out loud, especially at Christmas. Instead, I would consider myself a monster for even thinking that. That "sister" would be as dead to me as much as the baby. The advice columnists probably never experienced motherhood. I miscarried after 8 weeks and I still carry that inside me. So think twice next time you give such heartless advice.
Comment: #7
Posted by: Marie-Claude
Sat Mar 21, 2009 8:11 AM
When a close friend lost her baby close to term, I sent her a card and letter as if she had lost a dear child, because she had. I mentioned that I knew that she loved her baby, and had been planning all of the wonderful moments they would have together. I said that I did not know how the God we love could let this happen, and we probably would never understand it in our lifetime. I assured her that her baby was waiting for her in heaven, and was being loved and cuddled up there by his grandparents and others who would love and care for him, because this is what we both believed in our religious tradition, so I knew these ideas would not offend her. She wrote back, and said thank you for getting how painful it was for her. She said most friends and family had dismissed her baby with platitudes about it being for the best. These things wounded her deeply. It was her baby, she had been joyfully anticipating her baby's birth, and seeing the clothes and crib lovingly prepared for her baby was heart breaking. She just wanted her pain acknowledged, not dismissed. As the years went on, she had three children who were healthy, and a joy to her life. But I know she will always remember the ones who died before she could know them. She did not keep pulling out her loss, but I know that it will always be in her heart.
Comment: #8
Posted by: Patty Bear
Sat Nov 2, 2013 2:27 PM
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