Question: I am five months pregnant with my first child. My partner is having second thoughts about the baby and whether he wants to be together at all.
He says it's because his father was abusive, that he is scared to be a father, and that he worries he will resent the child for changing his lifestyle.
It is hard not to panic about this. I tell him that doubts and worries are normal in this situation, but I feel so scared and alone. On the surface, my sisters and I are shopping for baby clothes and everything is fine. Inside,
I feel like things are falling apart.
Answer: I am sorry. Yes, it's common for impending parenthood to stir up all kinds of feelings, but this sounds more serious. He is going to be a father, whether he bolts or not.
So, does he want to face his baggage and grow from it, and step up to have a role in this child's (and your) life? Is he willing to do the work? Sadly, there are no magic words to force him to, but you can express to him that as much as his anxieties are understandable, it is up to him to choose to work to overcome them - and that you have hope and faith that he will try.
I'm most concerned about you, however, because you need support pronto. What is keeping you from confiding in your sisters? Don't give embarrassment or fear a spot at this table if it keeps you from getting the help you need, including professional counseling, which could be a real boost to you right now.
* Bonior, a Washington-area clinical psychologist, writes a weekly relationships advice column in The Washington Post's Express daily tabloid