DEAR HARRIETTE: I have two kids, and I am pregnant with my third. I love my kids beyond words, but I am not sure if I want any more. I am in a relationship with another man -- not my new baby’s father -- and intimacy is important. However, I don't believe in birth control or contraceptives. I am considering getting my tubes tied, but I understand that this is a big decision for me and my family. What if I change my mind in the future? On the other hand, if I get pregnant again too soon, it would be a huge financial burden. Do you have any advice for women like myself in this situation? -- Contraception
DEAR CONTRACEPTION: I appreciate your honesty, and I want to challenge you to think about your choices. You are about to have a child even as you are thinking that you don’t want to have another. You say intimacy is important, yet you do not believe in birth control or contraceptives. Ask yourself why you think this way. You need to question your belief system in the deepest ways. Intimacy without responsibility leads to children for whom you may not have the resources or bandwidth to usher into this world. Is that fair to them?
If you truly do not believe in any type of birth control, then abstinence should be the option you choose -- not intimacy -- as that is the only way you can prevent pregnancy.
Since abstinence is an extreme that most people will not maintain, birth control is the next-best option. I suggest that you speak to your obstetrician about your options. Having your tubes tied is one. Less severe options include using condoms, taking the birth control pill or having an IUD placed. It is time for you to reconsider your position on this -- for your own health and that of your growing family.
DEAR HARRIETTE: I've grown close to my older brother as we are maturing. Every time we talk, we have a great time. We don't live near each other, so I understand the importance of keeping in touch. However, I feel as though the effort is a little one-sided. I am usually the one who calls him, and I have visited him several times. But I don’t get the same in return.
Each summer, my brother promises he'll visit, but he never makes it up to where I live. Every time he promises to call, he never does, and I end up calling. I get that we both have a lot going on, but at some point, I don't want the dynamic to continue this way because our relationship should be two-sided. How can I get my brother to see my frustrations? -- Call Me Back
DEAR CALL ME BACK: Getting someone to change long-standing behavior patterns as he matures may be unrealistic. If it hasn’t worked up until now, why do you believe it will at this point? That said, you can attempt to get your brother to see your position.
Bluntly tell him how you feel. Remind him of how close you are and how much you enjoy each other’s company. Tell him you would appreciate him picking up the phone sometimes and also him coming to visit you. Spell it out -- you think your relationship is one-sided with you doing all the work. As you both get older, you would appreciate him being more actively engaged.
(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.)