DEAR CAROLYN: I'm pregnant with our first child. My husband is supportive in many ways. I've also asked him to go to my doctor's appointments.
I want him there for support and I think he should experience everything I have to go through.
I've told a friend I expect him to go; she thought I was being unreasonable. She said I'm going to be a mom and that's just what I have to do.
Am I wrong to want my husband to experience the whole pregnancy?
DEAR K.: How will you get him to experience labor beat him with a stick? There's a lot here, actually, that you can take with you into motherhood:
1) People go about parenthood in different ways, usually with good intentions. Whether you're judging them or fretting that they all know something you don't, it's best not to get too caught up in other parents.
2) Inclusion is good. Teamwork is good. Not being possessive of all your child's milestones is good. So is being transparent about when and how you would like support. But "Everything I have to go through"? That's trouble.
3) Humoring a spouse occasionally is an act of love. But if you sense your husband humors you often, then you need to make a good-faith effort to be less demanding.
4) Sharing little moments of pregnancy, baby and family life can bring you and your husband closer in big ways. Those routine appointments can be a magical start to that which is why it's crucial to ask, not insist.
DEAR CAROLYN: The mother of one of my daughter's school friends calls me every few weeks to cheer me up. I have been bedridden with cancer but am slowly getting better. The caller and I were never friends, at least in part because I find her suffocating.
I know she means well, but she's not someone I want to chat with. I can't see my caller ID from my bed. I think her kid is terrific; that's a separate matter. How to discourage her, kindly?
Not That Dead Yet
DEAR NOT THAT DEAD YET: Best signature ever my compliments. My best wishes, too, for your recovery.
Surely you can say, most times: "Thanks so much for calling. I'm afraid I'm not up to talking today."
And, er cordless phone? Caller ID box? Isn't there a technology to free you from unwelcome calls?
Every third (or seventh) time, though, a little indulgence might do you both good. Justifications, if needed: It's a lovely impulse she has; it surely gratifies her to feel useful; her kid is terrific; and, alas, it's a monthly-ish call, not a daily one.