DEAR MISS LONELYHEARTS: I don't know who to turn to. I'm 34 and a professional, well-educated woman. I'm feeling lonely and heartbroken. I recently became pregnant after dating a man for a month. (I know, I know -- that is a whole other column). I phoned him yesterday to tell him I was pregnant and he was so quiet. I know he was shocked. I'm still shocked myself!
The nice woman in me tried to smooth things over, so I told him not to worry, I could do this myself. I made him promise if he moved (he is in the forces), he'd tell me where he is. The thing is I feel disappointed with myself for not holding him accountable and disappointed in him for being so quick to want to blow me and his baby off. We ended our conversation with me saying, "Keep in touch," and he said "I will try." Seriously!? How can I address this issue, remain level-headed and not give him permission to be a deadbeat dad? I am heartbroken for our future child. I realize if I can't stand up for myself and this baby, nobody will. -- Heartbroken Baby Mama
Dear Heartbroken: This doesn't have to be a tragedy if you take the right attitude. I personally know a woman who had a baby at 30, while single, on purpose, and it turned into a great situation. Family and friends took on support roles and she met the love of her life not long after the baby was born, married him and had more children and a career. She is an admirable, purposeful woman and commands a lot of respect.
You're 34, a professional with a good income, and quite capable of raising a child and hiring the necessary childcare help to continue with your career. You're not a teen and/or without education or income -- a tragic situation for some young women -- but it's natural for you to feel lonely and upset right now. You just told this man and he was shocked and cool about even keeping contact. You haven't rallied support from friends and family yet, so do that first with your closest friends who are supportive. You may want to wait to get past abortion-possibility time with your mom and dad if you fear you'll be pressured to get rid of this baby.
Here are some tips: Be positive, even if your parents are scared and worried. Using these words, "You are having a grandchild in such-and-such a month," is the way to phrase it when you call. Phoning is the best way to tell them the news as it gives you an opportunity to say a pleasant goodbye while they go through their first reactions, which might be negative. Tell them to call you back the minute they've digested the news and are ready to offer their support. It can turn out to be a good thing, but you must lead the way with your gung-ho attitude.
If they ask about the father, give them this spin: "He's a nice, intelligent, good-looking man, but it was short term and he is choosing not to be a big part of this adventure." Don't pretend to yourself or anyone you were in love with this guy and turn it into a big rejection drama. Look for help everywhere you can find it. Villa Rosa, the live-in residence for unwed mothers, has lists of supports for single moms-to-be, so phone them, have a talk and pick up information (204-786-5741). They are set up for young mothers, but are happy to help others with the many resources they know about.
As for child support, you can get it. You'll need blood tests to prove the baby is the father's, so don't balk when that time comes. Just do it for your child. See a lawyer about the support issue and this fellow saying "I'll try" when you suggested keeping in touch. He's being very cool to you because he's probably hoping you'll get an abortion. Whatever happens, don't make this journey about this guy you hardly know. Make it all about the baby. Another man -- more wonderful than he -- will come along if you stay positive and unapologetic about this unexpected, but welcome child.
Dear Miss Lonelyhearts: I met a woman on the first night of a week-long sports event and she enjoyed the games with me, drank too much with me, slept with me, then said she was going back to her home province the next night. I saw her nearby in the stands last night with a baseball hat pulled down over her face. I felt angry and stupid. Why did she lie? -- Roaring Mad, Winnipeg
Dear Roaring: She should have said, "Sorry, but this is enough of this little dalliance," but couldn't find the words. People don't realize it's more hurtful to be duped. That doesn't make you stupid. Almost anyone of a certain age has been lied to by someone who wants to escape a one-night stand. Look the other way if you see her again and don't ask for an explanation. She's not likely to say she's sorry, and it wouldn't go well.
Please send your questions or comments c/o firstname.lastname@example.org or mail letters to Miss Lonelyhearts c/o Winnipeg Free Press, 1355 Mountain Ave., Winnipeg, MB, R2X 3B6