Dear Annie: My husband and I have been trying to conceive for three years, with no luck. I've tried almost everything there is over the counter, and I can't seem to bring myself to see a doctor. I'm afraid he'll tell me there is something wrong with one of us and we'll resent each other.
As time goes on, my depression and anger grow. I feel physical pain when I think about how much I want a baby. I have no one to share my sorrows with. My family has grown tired of my crying, even my husband. So I've learned to keep it to myself, and find a place where I can be alone to cry.
I've noticed that holidays make the pain worse knowing I've failed once again to give my mother and mother-in-law a grandchild. My sister isn't much help, either. She is trying, too, and tells me she thinks both of us have some kind of fertility problem. I don't need to hear that, especially since I could never afford treatment. My grandma hurts me as well. She tells me almost every time I see her, "You know your sister is probably going to get pregnant, because you want a baby so much."
It makes me feel evil when I watch my mother playing with my stepbrother's kids. I'm so jealous. Everybody tells me, "Oh, it'll happen when it's time," or "just give up." How do I give up? I worry that it will eventually ruin my marriage. I know my husband loves me, but I can feel how frustrated he is with me. I even adopted a couple of puppies, thinking it would help, but it didn't.
How do I make it stop hurting? How do I get rid of my jealousy? -- Desperately Seeking Baby
Dear Desperate: First, please see your doctor and ask him to refer you to a fertility specialist. Infertility is no one's fault, and this issue is interfering in your marriage. You and your husband should approach this together. You can find support and information through Resolve (resolve.org). If it turns out that there is no affordable medical treatment, you might consider adopting a child (not a puppy). There are so many babies who would benefit from having two parents who truly want them. Please stop resenting what you don't have and consider the positive steps you can take to improve your life.
Dear Annie: This is in response to the letter from "Sibling Dilemma," who said that one of her sisters ("Pam") was missing in action when another sister was fighting breast cancer. She feels Pam was insensitive and uncaring, and now wants to exclude her from future vacations with her siblings.
I remember my first experience with a close friend who had cancer. I was terrified and grief-stricken. I didn't know how to handle it so I avoided her, pretending she was still young and healthy. Pam might just be immature and inexperienced, rather than uncaring. -- Older and Wiser Now
Dear Older: You could be right. This type of inappropriate response happens more often than we realize. Our concern now is that "Sibling" find a way to forgive, because not doing so will damage her relationship with all her other siblings. We hope she and "Pam" can work it out.
Annie's Mailbox is written by Kathy Mitchell and Marcy Sugar, longtime editors of the Ann Landers column. Please email your questions to anniesmailboxcreators.com or write to Annie's Mailbox, c/o Creators Syndicate, 737 3rd Street, Hermosa Beach, CA 90254. You can also find Annie on Facebook at Facebook.com/AskAnnies.
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