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Chicago Sun-Times
Chicago Sun-Times
Abigail Van Buren

Dear Abby: Unable to conceive, woman refuses to see new baby in family

DEAR ABBY: My son married a wonderful woman. Sadly, they are having great difficulty conceiving a baby. They have opted out of many conventional medical procedures because of their religious beliefs, for which I admire them.

While their struggles persist, another close family member has recently had a baby. My daughter-in-law has chosen not to see this family member or the baby because of the emotional pain of not being able to conceive herself. My son, who I know is torn, is supporting his wife. Our visits with them never include the new mom, dad and baby. My son has met the baby twice on the down-low without my DIL.

Our hearts are heavy. Our nuclear family has always been close, but this is putting a strain on the rest of us, although we empathize with my DIL’s emotional pain. What advice can you offer for this situation? — SADDENED IN THE EAST

DEAR SADDENED: Your daughter-in-law’s circle of friends (not to mention family) is going to shrink to nothing if she persists in hiding from anyone who has reproduced. Unless her religious beliefs discourage psychological counseling, she should absolutely reach out for some, and your son (who is already seeing the new baby on the down-low) should insist upon it.

DEAR ABBY: I have always had a great relationship with my in-laws. My father-in-law, “Jerry,” is a contractor who has generously helped us with renovations and other work around our condo. We moved to a house last year and expressed interest in a new bathroom floor. We bought all the materials and removed the old floor so he could install the new one.

When Jerry offered to buy us a new vanity, we thanked him and accepted. After ordering it, he now wants us to put some money toward the sink and faucet. (We also owe him for air fare to an out-of-state wedding.) My husband, “Eddie,” is mad and doesn’t want to give his dad anything because he says Jerry “can afford it,” while some months are more difficult for us. I don’t know if I can morally live with not giving my father-in-law what we owe him. — INDEBTED IN NEW JERSEY

DEAR INDEBTED: And ... the difference between you and Eddie is this: You have character, while your husband is ungrateful and entitled. Your father-in-law should be paid what is owed him. Warn Eddie that if he doesn’t cough up the money — on installments, if necessary — his father’s generosity is likely to “contract” and with good reason. Your husband should be ashamed of himself.

DEAR ABBY: Our next-door neighbor, “Fred,” retrieves his newspaper nude every morning about 4:30. We realized it after installing a Ring doorbell. Our video captures a very graphic image daily. Should we tell him? — X-RATED IN THE U.S.A.

DEAR X-RATED: If your neighbor doesn’t realize he’s on camera, he deserves to know he’s overexposed. In this day and age, with the popularity of Ring, there are few secrets anymore. By all means, tell Fred — and when you do, offer to give him a print. (Or a pair of shorts.)

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

To receive a collection of Abby’s most memorable — and most frequently requested — poems and essays, send your name and mailing address, plus check or money order for $8 (U.S. funds), to: Dear Abby — Keepers Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Shipping and handling are included in the price.)

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