DEAR ABBY: I am a happily married, 26-year-old female with just one problem: I'm afraid to have children.
I have always wanted children, and it's something my husband and I often discuss. Anytime we are asked when we plan to start our family, we always say four to five years, but we have been saying this same thing for four years. I always thought I'd be ready by now.
My husband has been very sick for the past few years and had to take time off work. We were able to scrape by on my salary, but it was tough. He returned to work recently and is fine. But now all I can think about is how much children cost, and I'm afraid we'll never have enough money to have a baby.
I also worry about what if our child would be killed in an accident, molested or kidnapped! I ask myself why anyone would want to bring children into such a scary world, yet I still want them. Please help me. I am very upset and don't know what to do. -- UNCERTAIN IN TULSA
DEAR UNCERTAIN: I understand your concerns and they are valid. Having children is an act of faith as well as an investment in the future.
If you think about it, life itself is a gamble. Mature individuals do everything they can to keep the odds in their favor. They work hard, live healthy lives, buy insurance, start an education fund for their children, etc. There are no guarantees -- but people keep having children anyway.
Because you feel stuck in making this decision, it would be helpful to discuss your concerns with a licensed mental health professional who can help you put your fears to rest.