Ask Me Anything!

Denise 1Our much loved agony aunt Denise Robertson solves your problems in Candis every month. Here, she helps a woman desperate for a baby, advises on major debt, and takes a look at a feuding family…

“I’m desperate to have another child”

Three years ago I had a stillborn baby. Two months after that my husband was made redundant. He got another job but was then involved in a major car accident, his heart stopped twice and he spent six weeks in hospital. We have a five year old who is my life, but I feel we need more. Though previously I fell pregnant with ease, we have since tried for another baby to no avail. They say it’s stress that stops you from getting pregnant, but surely I can’t still be grieving about the miscarriage? I have now gone back on the Pill and we’ve decided to adopt. So why do I still hate pregnant women? I know it’s jealousy and I know we have made the right decision as I’m 40 and my biological clock is ticking, but I still feel like I want both. We are a strong family and my husband is happy whatever we do. I guess I feel empty and cheated, so how do I stop feeling this way? Lorraine

I’m not surprised you feel as you do. You are suffering from bereavement, shock and justifiable anger at the way life has behaved. You seem to think three years is long enough to recover, but the fact is you had to shelve the pain of losing your baby in order to stand by your husband and then almost lost him twice. The legal ramifications of his case are still on-going and all the time you’ve had a yearning for another baby, with the monthly disappointment of not conceiving. I know your biological clock is ticking but I still think you need to get your breath back before you make decisions. If you didn’t have counselling after the stillbirth, talk to SANDS (020 7436 5881 They exist especially to help families after stillbirth or neonatal death. Then talk to Infertility Network UK (0800 008 744 They can help you assess your chances of conceiving, if this hasn’t already been done, and also discuss adoption with you. You need a clear idea of your feelings before you talk about adoption with the people who can make it happen. Believe me, I understand your desire for a child but in fairness to everyone involved you need to assemble a clear picture of your goal before you embark on anything. You have been through a period of intense stress. Now you have a chance to take matters in hand, clear your head of the debris of the last three years and sort out the life you want. Getting a little help along the way will make that process much easier.

“My debts have spiralled out of control”

I know I only have myself to blame but I don’t know where to turn. I stupidly got into debt and thought the way out was a loan. I did this behind my husband’s back so as not to worry him, but the interest on the loan was so high that I fell into arrears and now owe twice as much as I borrowed. If I miss a payment it soars again. I’ve even borrowed money from my children’s savings because the lenders are threatening me. Should I tell my husband? Annie

You must tell your husband but before you do, try to work out how you’re going to manage this debt so that you present him with a problem and a solution at the same time. It sounds as though you have got into the clutches of a dubious lender as no reputable lender would advance you money without making sure you could repay and if their threats are physical they are very bad people. Call the National Debtline on 0808 808 4000 or talk to your local Citizens Advice Bureau and give them the details. They will help you work out a repayment plan. They can also advise you on whether or not the rate you’re being charged is legal. They will tell you what to do about threats and their advice is free. Once you have things clear in your head, tell your husband. He may be cross at first but soon he’ll join with you in sorting things out and restoring your family life.

“I’m worried about my feuding family”

It seemed a good idea to holiday with my sister-in-law and her husband as we have children of similar ages. However, they spent the whole time sniping at one another and shouting at the kids. Eventually it got physical and my husband had to separate them. My husband says we should ignore it all but I could see the effect on my children as well as theirs. I don’t want my kids seeing more of it and they’re talking about a weekend away soon. I think she likes having someone else there to lighten the atmosphere. If I say no it will upset my husband but I can’t bear the thought of even another hour of that. Besides, I don’t want my children to see such an awful picture of family life. Alexandra

I understand your reaction but this is family so I don’t think you can just walk away. Why not talk to your sister-in-law or ask your husband to do it as she’s his sister? Tell her of your concern. Don’t make it a grumble – say you really care that things seem strained. You can also mention that you saw how the bad atmosphere was affecting her children. If she wants to tackle the issue, Relate ( could certainly help. If not, at least you’ve let her know how you feel, which would make it easier to decline another trip away if you have to do so. It’s possible that it was simply a blip in an otherwise happy relationship. Having a chat will give her a chance to tell you if that’s so.

If you’d like Denise to help with your problems, email

Sadly, she can’t guarantee to answer all letters.


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