Dear Abby: Mom feels guilt that son has no sibling

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DEAR ABBY: I am the mother of a 13-year-old son, my only child. For the past 10 years I have been living with mounting guilt over the fact that he doesn’t have a sibling.

It’s not because my husband and I haven’t tried, we have. But fertility issues took us down an empty road, and adoption discussions were just that — discussions.

I can’t tell you how many times our son has said he wishes he had a sibling. Every time, it’s like a knife in my heart and the guilt surges back. I think about the future and how he will have no brother or sister to share life with or lean on when something happens to my husband or me.

Although I have always felt blessed to have him, I can’t escape these feelings. Sometimes I feel like I have failed him horribly.

It’s worth noting that my son is a happy, well-adjusted child. He has good peer relationships in school, is close to me and my husband and has hobbies and friends he enjoys spending time with. My love for him is endless, and I pray that he will forgive me someday for not being able to give him what he has so deserved. — SAD MOM IN OHIO

DEAR SAD MOM: Take a step back, stop self-flagellating and ask yourself how many times your son may have also asked for a puppy.

You say you have raised a happy, well-adjusted son. That’s an accomplishment that should fill you with pride.

Not being able to give birth to another child is not something you should feel guilty about or need forgiveness for, and neither is refraining from adopting “so your son would have a sibling.” Not all siblings have the kind of relationship you fantasize about. While some do, many do not.

Please consider carefully what I have said and search your heart. And if you still think you are guilty of any sin of omission, discuss it with a licensed psychotherapist.

DEAR ABBY: Last year I found out my husband borrowed $3,500 from our savings account and gave it to a female co-worker. When I asked where the money had gone, he lied to me.

It has been more than a year and the co-worker hasn’t repaid the money. She comes up with cockamamie excuses, but has plenty of money to buy gifts for her grandkids and new clothes for herself.

When I contacted her about it, she called human resources on my husband! He said no one at work likes her and she has a lot of personal problems. Our marriage has been rocky, and we need this money back.

What’s really going on here? How do I get her to start paying back the money? I have reached the end of my rope and my husband is no help whatsoever. He gets mad whenever I ask about the money. Some advice, please? — NEEDS THE MONEY

DEAR NEEDS THE MONEY: Stop asking your husband about the money. It should be clear by now that the woman he gave it to has no intention of repaying it. As to her not being liked at the office, HE must have liked her or he wouldn’t have forked over all that dough.

Because your marriage is “rocky,” I’m recommending that you seek couples counseling. Perhaps with the help of a mediator your husband will be able to be completely truthful with you. That’s essential because good marriages are based on trust.

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 http://www.DearAbby.com or 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 $14 (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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