Dear Abby: He lacks empathy after wife miscarries

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DEAR ABBY: My husband, “Rob,” and I are at odds, and your response may affect whether we stay together or not.

I had a miscarriage a week ago. I was only seven weeks pregnant, but it was still something real for me.

My husband’s niece’s birthday was over the weekend. I made it clear that I didn’t want to drive (three hours!) and be around people after what happened.

When he told me it didn’t matter, that it was his niece’s birthday, I lost it on him. After driving him to his sister’s, I left and drove myself home.

He says I’m overreacting and said that I was OK with it earlier in the week. I explained how hurt I was that he’d insist on going and also that he couldn’t stand up for me and explain that I was too emotional and upset to attend her birthday.

He can’t grasp why I’m so hurt by this. AM I overreacting, and am I crazy for feeling the way I feel? — FEELING DOWN IN THE SOUTH

DEAR FEELING DOWN: I’m sorry for your loss. You’re not overreacting and you’re not crazy.

However, some people are unable to grasp how deeply a miscarriage in the early months of a pregnancy can affect the mother-to-be psychologically and physically. Unfortunately, Rob appears to be one of them.

You didn’t mention whether you told your sister-in-law why you didn’t feel up to celebrating, but if you didn’t, you should have because she probably would have understood and let you off the hook. You also should have stayed home, not driven six hours round-trip to drop Rob off in your fragile condition.

If this continues to cause problems in your marriage, perhaps your clergyperson (if you have one) or a marriage counselor can help you get the message across to your husband.

DEAR ABBY: When I invited a family member and her family for dinner, she asked what I was serving. When I told her, she said, “My kids won’t eat that,” so I ended up making a different meal that met with her approval.

It was annoying, and I thought she was very rude. I can’t imagine saying something like that to someone who is preparing food for me.

This is a family member, so I can’t just write her off, but do you have any witty responses should this happen again? — DISGUSTED IN CALIFORNIA

DEAR DISGUSTED: I agree it’s rude for guests to ask a host what will be served, unless there are allergy issues to be considered. As far as what to say to your relative, I have a couple of suggestions. Neither one is “witty.”

The first is: “Fine. Bring food your kids will eat or I’ll thaw them some frozen pizza.” Or, if you’re feeling brave, say: “I’m serving (blank), so hire a baby sitter. That way, the kids can have what they’re used to and we’ll have an enjoyable adult evening.”

P.S. It is not child abuse for parents to introduce children to different foods by telling them to taste it because they might like it. And if they don’t, they won’t be forced to eat it. That’s how they learn.

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 or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

What teens need to know about sex, drugs, AIDS and getting along with peers and parents is in “What Every Teen Should Know.” Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $7 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby, Teen Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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