DEAR ABBY: A few months ago, I informed my bosses I was pregnant. Within a week, they were trying to fire me and blame it on other things at work that made no sense and hadn't been issues before. They made me sign a letter of reprimand in our first meeting about the "issues."
I spoke with a co-worker who told me she had a similar experience when she announced her pregnancy. I work for a company with a "boys club" mentality, so I didn't try to speak to HR because I was afraid for my already threatened job.
A couple weeks later, I miscarried and everything at work went back to normal. I actually got a raise a month later. Last week, I learned I'm pregnant again. My husband and I are excited about it, but I'm scared to tell my bosses for fear I'll have a repeat of last time.
When should I tell them about my upcoming arrival? And is there anything I can do to protect my job? I have been looking for employment elsewhere, but haven't found anything yet. I need this job or else I would have already left it. -- SCARED IN UTAH
DEAR SCARED: Pregnancy is a natural condition and you should not be punished for it. The first thing you should do is document everything that happened during your first pregnancy. Be sure to include what your co-worker told you happened to her, and how -- after your miscarriage -- all your problems at the office disappeared. Then schedule an appointment with an attorney to ask how you can protect yourself in the months to come.
DEAR ABBY: I have cheated, lied and more. I have made a lot of changes in my life for the better since then, but we all know I'm still a sinner. I have gained a lot of weight over the years, and I hear about it often from my husband and two boys, mostly my sons. My boys are rude and disrespectful to me, and my husband says nothing. They make me feel ugly and worthless.
I know I haven't been the best wife or mother. I thought I was doing better, but I guess not. I'm tired of the name-calling and disrespect. I know I have made mistakes, but must I be put down all the time? One day I feel OK, the next I'm down again. Please help me. -- FEELS UGLY IN TEXAS
DEAR FEELS UGLY: It appears that although your marriage is ongoing, your husband is still punishing you for your "sins" and has enlisted the help of your sons in doing it. I urge you to look into family counseling for all of you. The environment in which your boys are growing up is unhealthy because they are being encouraged to disrespect women. If it's allowed to continue, they will have relationships and marriages just like your own -- ugly and contentious. If you won't seek counseling for yourself, please do it for them.
Abby shares more than 100 of her favorite recipes in two booklets: "Abby's Favorite Recipes" and "More Favorite Recipes by Dear Abby." Send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $14 (U.S. funds) to: Dear Abby, Cookbooklet Set, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)