Dear Annie: I recently just had a beautiful baby boy. He is the love of our lives. My husband and I want to document every smile and milestone. My husband wants to photograph me with our son. I have let him take a few pictures of me. The problem is that when I look at the pictures, I see how much weight I gained during my pregnancy and barely recognize myself. I know I'm supposed to be only focusing on the baby, but I can't help but feel very self-conscious about how much weight I gained. It was fine when I was pregnant because I had an excuse. But now that my baby is out of my body, I just feel fat and don't want to be in pictures. When I tell my husband to delete the pictures because I feel self-conscious, he refuses and says I would regret it later. I am working on losing the baby weight and am getting on a good track with that, but the problem is what to do about feeling self-conscious about pictures in the meantime. — Big Mama
Dear Big Mama: Congratulations on your new baby boy. It is such an exciting time in life. Please try to be patient with yourself. Pregnancy weight can take as long to get off as it took to put on. You would regret it if you were not to have many pictures of yourself with your son.
Dear Annie: I am growing increasingly tired of reading letters that complain about thank-you notes, so I'd like to offer a different perspective. By definition, a gift is "something given willingly to someone without payment." I understand this to mean that one gives a gift freely (one is not required to give) and without expectation of payment of any kind in return (such as a note). In addition, the gift is always about the receiver, not the giver. Sometimes it seems to me that givers want feedback about what thoughtful, kind, caring, sweet people they are. That is the wrong focus.
My recommendations are: Always give the gift in person if at all possible, even if the timing is not quite right. If a gift is sent long-distance and one is worried about whether it was received, check the tracking number. And finally, if not getting a note in return is so bothersome to you, don't give. However, that last solution seems petty to me. I think one would always want those for whom one cares or loves to know that they are thought of and remembered.
I like getting thank-you notes; I write thank-you notes. But I reject the notion that a gift establishes an obligation on the recipient to respond. — No Thanks Necessary
Dear No Thanks Necessary: I think one should always send thank-you notes for gifts, but I also think one shouldn't hold a grudge over not receiving a thank-you — or hold a grudge over anything, for that matter. Life is short, and sometimes the best gift we can give one another is the benefit of the doubt.
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