DEAR ABBY: My wife and I are about to welcome our first child and we are overjoyed. However, as her due date nears and we start talking about the birth, hospital, etc., I'm getting nervous and anxious. I'm worried, I guess, that something will happen to my wife and I won't be able to cope with everything.
I had a rough childhood. Expressing emotions sometimes is pretty hard for me, so my wife doesn't know about this. Any advice on how to express my fears without sounding like I'm scared of losing her and the baby and expecting the worst? Is this a common thing for first-time dads? -- OVERLY EMOTIONAL IN TEXAS
DEAR OVERLY EMOTIONAL: Of course it is. You're not experiencing anything different than what other expectant fathers feel. But please understand that the incidence of maternal and infant mortality in the U.S. is very low.
Because your wife may have concerns or anxieties of her own, it would be better not to discuss your fears right now. If you have male friends or relatives who are parents, they might be willing to listen and offer support. Your family doctor could also listen and, if necessary, refer you to someone who can help you cope with your anxiety. But please understand that all of the feelings you're experiencing right now are very normal.
DEAR ABBY: My granddaughter asked me a tough question today. She lives primarily with her mother and stepfather. Her biological father sees her two nights a week and every other weekend. When he asks her if she misses him, she says she has to lie and say she does. She hates lying and asked me how she can tell him she doesn't miss him very much without hurting his feelings. Can you give me some ideas? -- STUCK FOR A RESPONSE IN NEVADA
DEAR STUCK: Your granddaughter should say, "Dad, please don't worry about me because I'm fine. I am adjusting." Period. It's the truth, it's not unkind and she won't have to feel like she's saying anything that should upset him.
DEAR ABBY: An ex-friend of mine recently apologized for some bad behavior toward me, saying she had been going through a rough time. She wants to renew our friendship and said she misses it. I was taken aback and didn't know what to say. I replied, "I'll get back to you about this," because I didn't want to hurt her feelings.
Abby, I have no desire to renew a friendship with her because I have had it with her volatile personality and her needy and clingy nature.
How do I eventually respond? I was thinking of saying I have a full plate of responsibilities and commitments right now and can't make plans. I value your opinion, so what do you think? -- NEEDS THE RIGHT WORDS IN MICHIGAN
DEAR NEEDS THE RIGHT WORDS: You are under no obligation to resume a relationship with a troubled woman you're glad to be away from. Unless she has given you a deadline or manages to put you in a corner, you don't have to say anything more about it. However, if she does trap you into making some kind of statement, the one you related to me would be appropriate.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.
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