Prior postpartum issues create unease for family
DEAR ABBY: When my grandchild was born five years ago, my daughter suffered from severe postpartum depression and had to be hospitalized. Her father, who is not in good health, and I lived seven hours away and traveled as often as we could to help out. At one point my son-in-law called and told me she was catatonic and not responding to him. It was terrifying.
Now, these few years later, her husband is pressuring my daughter to have another child. My daughter is understandably afraid, and I'm afraid for her. She thinks her husband has forgotten what they went through. I know it's not my decision to make, but she's my daughter, and I worry about her well-being. She knows how I feel but tells me she feels caught between my feelings and those of her husband. She told me I won't always be around and she will have to deal with his resentment.
I don't understand why he would want my daughter to risk another bout of the PPD she suffered the first time. I don't want to sound critical of him, but he can be very selfish. Fearing for my daughter's life after the birth of her child was one of the most stressful things I've ever experienced. Can you please advise me what to say to my daughter, or should I just keep quiet?
— TRAUMATIZED IN ALABAMA
DEAR TRAUMATIZED: I am sure your daughter is already aware of your opinion. That's why I'm suggesting that, when you talk to her about this, you urge her to CONSULT HER DOCTOR regarding another pregnancy and take her cues from someone in the medical community who knows her history.
DEAR ABBY: My father is a narcissist and pathological liar who all his life has taken advantage of people. He fell recently and had to go to the hospital. While he was hospitalized, we discovered he had lied to his landlord about serving in the military among a slew of other deceptions. The landlord is now in the process of evicting him — not only because of the lies, but also because the hoarding level of filth has damaged the house.
Dad is emotionally abusive and cares nothing about others unless they can help him make money, which has left him with no money and no friends. He has no conscience, no empathy and no consideration for the feelings of others. The last straw was when he demanded my husband and I take him into our house or else he would "kill himself."
Even if we had a good relationship with him, my father is disabled and could never climb the stairs to where the bedrooms are, so it's physically impossible for him to stay with us. After finding a social worker to assist him, I have decided to walk away for good. Am I selfish to disassociate from an absolutely toxic person even if he is family?
— CLEAN BREAK IN NEW JERSEY
DEAR CLEAN BREAK: Consulting a social worker was a good idea. The ball is now in the court of a professional. Leave it there because it IS OK to disassociate from someone who lies, steals glory and uses everyone he encounters. To take him in, even if there wasn't the issue of the stairs, would have been a huge mistake.
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