DEAR HARRIETTE: I am one of six grandchildren on my mother's side. My grandmother likes to spend a lot of time with her grandchildren, so we see her a lot. Throughout my entire life, I have always been the least close with my grandma. She has clear favorites, and I seem to rank last on the list. It has gotten to the point where on my birthday I don't even receive a birthday card, whereas my siblings and cousins get endless gifts and cards. It hadn’t bothered me until now, and I want to speak to her about it. Do you think I should talk to my parents or go straight to my grandmother and tell her how I have been feeling? -- Left-Out Grandchild, Milwaukee
DEAR LEFT-OUT GRANDCHILD: If you feel strong enough emotionally to address this with your grandmother, go for it. Chances are, you will get the best answer if you ask yourself. Be mindful not to put her on the defensive, though, because she may retaliate rather than explain whatever is in her head. Approach her gingerly. Tell her you want to ask her a question. Ask her if you have done something to offend her, or if something happened that made her not care as much for you. If she rejects your feelings, tell her that you feel like she ignores you, while at the same time doting over her other grandchildren. Point out the most recent birthday snub as an example. In the end, tell her that you wish you had a closer relationship.
DEAR HARRIETTE: My husband and I have been trying to start a family for about a year. We have had some trouble conceiving, and I have suffered two miscarriages. My husband and I want a child, but maybe now is not the time for us. My husband insists that it is and wants to keep trying. How do I suggest to him that maybe we should take a break? I don’t want to come off as not wanting to start a family with him, but at the same time, I am emotionally and physically drained from all this baby stuff! -- Pause Starting a Family, Wilmington, Delaware
DEAR PAUSE STARTING A FAMILY: Now is a perfect time to bring your doctor into the picture. Schedule an appointment where you get a checkup on your health and guidance on when it is advised to start trying to conceive again. Tell your doctor about your trepidation, and ask for support. You may want to see a psychologist who can help you through the trauma of the two miscarriages.
I went through a miscarriage, and it was devastating for me. Even though it also upset my husband, honestly, there was something about the physical and emotional havoc that it wreaked on me that was unfathomable for him -- at least on some levels. It may take you longer to be ready to try again. Your husband may need a lot of support in understanding what you are going through. Therapy for both of you can be beneficial.
(Harriette Cole is a lifestylist and founder of DREAMLEAPERS, an initiative to help people access and activate their dreams. You can send questions to firstname.lastname@example.org or c/o Andrews McMeel Syndication, 1130 Walnut St., Kansas City, MO 64106.)