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Publication: Dear Abby
Young Mother Is Frightened By Threat Of Lost Custody

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          DEAR ABBY - March 19, 2007 
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YOUNG MOTHER IS FRIGHTENED BY THREAT OF LOST CUSTODY

ABBY: I am 22 years old and have been married 17 months. 
"Derek" and I have a 23-month-old son. Derek hasn't worked 
for about a year and refuses to help support our family. He 
also belittles me whenever he talks to me. I am not happy in 
this marriage, but I am not sure what to do about it.

On our honeymoon, Derek told me if I ever divorced him that 
he'd make sure he would get custody of our son. And his mom 
already said that she would tell the judge that I was an 
unfit mother.

My son is my world, Abby. He doesn't even let his daddy hold 
him, so I know he wouldn't be better off with Derek. But 
because I am on disability, I don't know if I have a good 
chance of getting custody if I leave. I don't feel Derek 
loves me or my son.

What should I do? Stick it out with my husband or take the 
chance of losing my son? 
-- TRAPPED IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

TRAPPED: It must have been some honeymoon if that was when 
Derek began threatening retribution if you ever divorced him. 
It appears you married a bully.

The answer to your questions will become clearer if you 
discuss this matter with a lawyer who, I am sure, can explain 
what your rights are as a mother. If, after that, you can find 
the strength to assert yourself, perhaps Derek will consider 
an attitude adjustment and stop blowing hot air.

P.S. If your baby is thriving, then your mother-in-law's 
trumped-up allegations would prove groundless.

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ABBY: I suffered a miscarriage six weeks ago. Since then, it 
feels like I have suffered one disappointment after another. 
My sister-in-law -- who was supposed to be infertile -- is 
now expecting. The doctors thought she'd had an ectopic 
pregnancy, so they performed surgery on her only to find that 
the baby was fine and right where it should be.

I feel so bitter that I am normal and healthy, and my baby 
died because of random bad luck, whereas her baby is fine 
after all the trauma she has been through. I have become 
increasingly angry and unhappy and can no longer see the 
positive aspects of my life because I spend so much time 
focusing on the bad. I want to be happy for her and my brother 
because, surely, this is a miracle baby -- but I just can't.

I think I need a dose of good common sense and a swift kick in 
the rear to get me out of this depression. Would you do the 
honors? 
-- ANONYMOUS IN THE NORTH

ANONYMOUS: You're half-right. You need a good dose of good 
common sense. You do NOT need a swift kick in the rear, 
because the feelings you are experiencing are understandable 
in someone who has lost a baby -- with all the hopes, dreams 
and plans that went along with confirmation of the pregnancy. 
It would be helpful for you to discuss your feelings with your 
ob/gyn because I am sure he or she will explain to you that a 
larger number of pregnancies than you might imagine do not 
make it to term.

You have my deepest sympathy for your loss. Because you so 
badly want a child, I hope you will continue trying for one. 
However, if your anger and resentment continue to fester, 
the surest way I know to resolve these feelings is to discuss 
them with a mental health professional. It is normal to 
grieve, but you must not allow that grief to rule your life.


ABBY is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as 
Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline 
Phillips. Write ABBY at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box  
69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069. 
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