Thursday 18 January 2018

Ask Majella: Majella O'Donnell solves your problems

My wife wants a baby and I feel guilty I can't give her one

Majella O'Donnell
Majella O'Donnell

Advice for a man who is feeling guilty because he and his wife haven't conceived yet, and a person who resents having to make all the arrangements to meet up with friends.

Dear Majella

I feel guilty that I can't give my wife what she wants. My wife and I have been trying for our first baby for two years now and the pressure is really on. I'm feeling really useless right now though to be honest. We've read all the books, done all the various tests and been to several doctors, but we're still having no luck. She's practically on the internet every night searching for answers and I feel really guilty about it.

Firstly, I feel angry because it's consuming every waking second and every spare penny we have, but then I get an overwhelming feeling of guilt because I shouldn't feel angry and, more importantly, I can't do anything to help her. I'm at my wit's end now, her parents keep making comments about 'the grandchild' they're waiting for and my mates are always going on about their kids too, which makes me feel like I'm missing out.

I'm worried she'll end up resenting me and might leave me. It's driving me up the walls, and I know I should be patient and caring, but I'm finding it hard not to snap at her everytime she brings it up.

P, Louth

Majella replies: It is such a difficult time for any couple when they are trying for a baby. Everyone expects that it will happen 'just like that' but in some cases it doesn't. Sometimes it just takes longer.

You haven't said how old you are or if either of you have a physical problem to explain why it's not happening for you. I'll presume that there is no obvious problem and that you are both young. From the sound of your correspondence you seem to be taking all the responsibility for the lack of a baby. Why is that? This is one situation where both of you are in this together. Nobody is to 'blame' so try to stop feeling so guilty. I suppose men think that their manhood is in question when their partner doesn't get pregnant straight away.

The reasons for your infertility could be anything and the fact that you have seen the doctor is a good thing because if there was anything wrong, they would have told you.

It could be stress, so worrying about it won't help. You really need to talk to your wife and tell her how you are feeling. She needs to know that you are finding it difficult too. Sometimes women can believe that their partner isn't really as interested as they are, but you should let her know that that is not the case. Try and explain how guilty you feel that she has not got pregnant yet.

Try to relax a little and maybe go away together with the mutual agreement that there will be no baby talk. It will just be a nice weekend for the two of you to connect as a couple without thinking about anything or anyone else. There have been many people that have been in your situation and have given up all hope of having a child and as soon as they do, they become pregnant! That's why it's so important to try to let it happen and not to be forcing it all the time. Relax and enjoy the time you have together. What will be, will be.

My friends can't be bothered keeping in touch

Dear Majella

My two best friends and I have known each other since our school days. In years gone by we would have gone on nights out and holidays together. In the years when we all had young children we saw less of each other, but now that we're in our 50s we all have more time to socialise again. When we do get together we have a great time, but recently I've noticed a bit of a pattern. We only meet up when I contact everyone and find a date that suits for dinner or drinks and then make the bookings. It's probably irrational, but it sometimes feels like they can't be bothered with me unless I'm the one doing all the work. I don't know if I should just give up on them.


Majella replies: You are obviously the 'organiser' in this group of people and I don't think that there is anything wrong with that. That is, of course, unless it bothers you? With most groups of people you will have different personalities within it, which makes the whole thing work. Some people are quiet and dependable, some are very witty and some are good at organising. For a group of people to last as long as your friendships have, then I think it's a credit to you that you have probably kept everyone going. We need people like you in the world.

I personally am very bad at keeping in touch with my old friends. They usually do all the contacting because I just don't think about it. I am so glad they do and they know that I love hearing from them, so it doesn't bother them. But having said that, I know that I should make the effort every now and then, just so they don't feel like you.

If your friends didn't want to be bothered with you they would all find excuses not to go out when you do call, so you don't need to feel you are being taken advantage of. I'm sure they are genuinely pleased that you do the organising so that you all keep in touch. Maybe you are just good at it, but if you feel they are taking advantage of you, then you need to bring it up the next time you are all together.

Explain to them that you are fed up with always being the one to organise things. Maybe you could suggest a rota of who organises the nights out. I'm sure your friends would be upset to think that you feel as you do, but don't let it eat away at you until it destroys your friendship. I'd say that you are just the kind of person who is good at organising and enjoys it too, so if you do, then keep at it.

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