Ask Someone Else's Mom by Susan Writer

Fear of Flying Grounds New Grandmother

DEAR SOMEONE ELSE’S MOM: After I graduated college a few years ago, I was offered an internship that lead to a career path in a company here in Oregon. All my family is back in Ohio. For the past three years my wife and I have tried to make the trip to visit my family at least twice a year. That changed last year when we were expecting our first baby and we could not make it home for the holidays.

My parents have yet to meet their grandchild because my mother is terrified of flying, and because of their work schedules, a long car trip is out of the question. I guess I am having a hard time understanding why my mother cannot get over her fear and make the effort to come visit us. She could take something to relax her, but she refuses to take anything that will impair her. What can I do to get her on a plane to see our baby? --- WAITING IN SEATTLE

DEAR WAITING: Since your mother won’t take any pills, perhaps you could suggest she pay a few visits to a qualified therapist or fear of flying program. Her primary care doctor would be a good place to start to see if he or she can either recommend any such providers, or perhaps even help your mom directly by giving her some non-meds-based anxiety-coping techniques.

If that doesn’t work, do some legwork of your own to see what’s available in her area ─ vetting the possibilities the best you can.

If you present her with a couple of concrete options, your mother might be more inclined to follow-through, especially if you make it clear to her how much you and your wife want her to meet her grandbaby.

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