The whole gamut of emotions!

DEAR ABBY: I recently backed out of an adoption. I feel terrible about it. How can I mentally and emotionally get over this? My baby girl is 4 months old now, and my guilt is getting worse. I backed out three days before she was born.

The couple I had chosen turned out to be unprofessional and emotionally unstable. They not only caused me several problems but also my job, which I loved. During the four months I knew them, they treated me poorly, and I realized it was better for my little one not to go through with the adoption.

They are now trying to make me out to be a bad person who used them financially — something I really did not. I’m glad now that I kept my daughter. So why do I keep feeling so bad about my decision? — GUILT-RIDDEN IN THE MIDWEST

DEAR GUILT-RIDDEN: If I had to guess the reason, I would say it may be because you know your last-minute change of mind caused this couple pain. A way to assuage your guilt might be to work out a payment plan so they are not out the money they spent. (The lawyer or agency that arranged the adoption may be able to guide you.) (c) DEAR ABBY

Hmm. The fact that she can’t tell us specifically why she feels guilty seems odd. Is it because she was going to give up her daughter for adoption, and now that she knows her daughter, she’s horrified with herself? Is it because she left the potentially adoptive couple out in the cold? Since she can’t tell us exactly what it is, I’d urge her to be screened for postpartum depression.

She’s been under a lot of stress, what with deciding to keep her daughter a mere three days before she was born. I think she needs massive resources: counseling, support, etc., etc. She’s overwhelmed, and who wouldn’t be?

I wish she didn’t feel guilty. She was looking out for her kid, which shows right off the bat that she might be a wonderful, loving, and protective mother. And she’s under all this stress because she couldn’t go through with the adoption. (Okay, she might actually be under all the stress because she got pregnant in the first place, but if she’d given up her child for adoption, she wouldn’t be experiencing the stress of parenting a baby.)

And she definitely needs a lawyer, for sure. I’m just more worried about her mental state. I wish she weren’t being so hard on herself. I strongly suspect she has postpartum depression. Given all the circumstances and chaos, the stress of the situation could’ve triggered it. I hope she’ll look into it!! I’ll pray for her.

Let’s check out Annie Lane’s column today, shall we?

Dear Annie: I am 73 years old. Many years ago, I was the victim of physical and emotional abuse from two former husbands.

Yes, they perpetrated that abuse on me. But I was the one who “took it” because I did not love or respect myself enough to not allow their abuse. There was abuse from other “significant” men in my life as well.

I love myself more now and would not tolerate those behaviors. As we make choices to create our lives, we must remember to love ourselves first. That is not selfish. It is the foundation on which healthy choices will be made.

And I LOVE the advice you offered in a recent column: When someone shows you who they are, believe them the first time.

Keep up the great work! — Love Yourself First

Dear Love Yourself First: Thank you for sharing your insights after surviving so much abuse. We attract what we expect, and it is good that you have altered your vision of yourself and your expectations from your spouse.

Dear Annie: I am a 47-year-old woman and have been happily married for 24 years. I have a great relationship with our only daughter, who is 24 years old and thriving. My problem is with my mom. We live in separate states, and she lives close to my two sisters. They are both divorced, with seven kids between the two of them. My mom has stepped in to help financially and with child care. My problem isn’t with that, though.

My mom has never come to visit me and uses my sisters’ kids (ages 13 to 30) as an excuse. When I’ve gone to visit her, she still revolves all activities around my sisters and their kids. I would love to have some alone time with my mom and have expressed this several times. She dismisses my feelings as “middle child syndrome.”

Since my dad passed away eight years ago, she has taken several vacations with my sisters and other family members, but she still hasn’t pursued any time with me. Before his passing, he was her excuse as to why she couldn’t visit. Our relationship has dwindled down to a phone call every few weeks, where she complains the whole time. She doesn’t even ask about me or my family anymore. I’m starting to wonder why I keep trying or hoping for some memories before it’s too late.

Recently, she took my sister to California for her birthday. My daughter lives there, and they didn’t reach out to her. When my mom called afterward, she never even mentioned going to California. Since then, I have been feeling vulnerable and left out, but I am tired of asking her to be involved. Should I keep trying or just accept that I am only worth a phone call every few weeks? — I Won’t Beg Her

Dear I Won’t Beg Her: You don’t have to beg her; you just have to call her and tell her how you feel. It is difficult living far away from your mother and sisters, and you feel hurt and left out. Sometimes, it’s not intentional; it is more likely a case of “out of sight, out of mind.”

The important thing is to reach out to your mom as much as you can. Next time they go on a vacation, ask if you can join them, or plan one yourself and invite them. Don’t give up on your mother. I am sure she loves you and your daughter very much and would want to know that you are feeling left out. (c) Annie Lane @ Creators.com

Okay. So, the first letter writer applauds Annie Lane and manages to write half her column for her. Ugh.

With the second letter, I almost get the sense that Annie Lane was riding high from the first letter, so she was unable to slow down and give passably good advice. I think we should all flatter Annie Lane less often.

Direct quotes here:

Letter writer: “I would love to have some alone time with my mom and have expressed this several times.”

Annie Lane: “You just have to call her and tell her how you feel.”

Epic fail.

Sometimes, it’s not intentional; it is more likely a case of “out of sight, out of mind.”

Okay, Annie Lane, but sometimes it IS intentional! And this is one of those times!

The important thing is to reach out to your mom as much as you can.

Really? Because it’s possible that the mom gets off on not being there for the letter writer. If that gives her some sort of sick thrill, I’d stop supplying her with that thrill. I think the best advice here is to be dismissive of the mom, as the mom is to the letter writer.

I feel sad for the letter writer.

Should I keep trying or just accept that I am only worth a phone call every few weeks? — I Won’t Beg Her

The thing is, though, that the letter writer is sort of begging her mom. Her mom knows how she feels and she doesn’t freakin’ care. It’s heartbreaking. The only sane thing the letter writer can do is to detach and quit investing emotionally in her mother. She needs to get to the point where she’s like:

“Hello?… Oh, hi, Mom!… No, I know I haven’t called lately. I’ve been busy. Sorry about that… Oh yeah? Sure, I’d love to hear about your book club. But make it quick! I’ve got to run some errands…”

and so forth. It could take her a while to reach that point, I’m sure; and it’s sad that it’s even necessary. But what’s sadder is Annie Lane’s belief that this is all a misunderstanding!! Goodness gracious, Annie Lane!

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