Dear Abby | Woman finds ways to mend lost dream of motherhood

Dear Abby: I have some suggestions for “Longing to Be a Mom” (Feb. 27), whose husband doesn’t want a child. If you talk your husband into it, are you prepared to do all the parenting while he sits staring at the TV or starts working longer hours or worse? Are you prepared for the lack of connection that child might have with his/her father?

Grieve your loss. Losing the possibility for motherhood is a great loss. Find a support group or counselor who deals with loss. Believe me, I understand. My boyfriend told me he wanted children. Motherhood was my dream, and I lost my only child to an early miscarriage. Then my husband revealed he’d never really wanted children – he only said he did because he wanted to marry me.

So I made a conscious decision to live a different life than I had planned, but a full and satisfying one. Thousands of children need someone to care. Explore opportunities to love a child who doesn’t have your blood, but who could have your heart.

Help at a church’s children’s department, a Girl Scout troop, tutor children at a local school, offer to take a single mom’s children to a park for an hour. The possibilities are endless.

No, it’s not the same as bearing your own children. But even if one dream was dashed, take heart: You can still fulfill new ones. – Helen in Washington

Dear Helen: Thank you for offering sensible advice to help “Longing” as well as other women in her situation. Readers suggested other ways to mother children who are already in the world: joining the Big Brothers Big Sisters program, volunteering at a day care facility or after-school program, contacting Boys and Girls Clubs of America, cuddling newborns at a hospital and becoming involved in a homeless shelter’s Adopt-a-Family program.

Dear Abby: I love my husband very much. He’s a very sweet and thoughtful man, but he’s horrible at picking out gifts - not just for me but for everybody. Occasionally he has given me something I liked, but usually his gifts are way off the mark, and I must pretend to like them to spare his feelings.

Can you suggest a way to speak to him about this without hurting his feelings? – Tired of Ugly Sweaters in Virginia

Dear Tired: If you have your eye on something for a special occasion – buy it for yourself.