While I'm away, readers give the advice.
ON CONQUERING SELF-ESTEEM ISSUES
I had a self-esteem problem in my early 20s. The best advice I ever received - and it's so simple, it's astounding - was "run your own race."
I worked hard, on training myself to repeat that phrase anytime I was being over-critical of myself, or comparing myself to others. It taught me to be the best version of myself, not a poor imitation of someone else. It truly changed my life.
ON NOT BEING THRILLED ABOUT THE CHILD ON THE WAY
For a college assignment, I interviewed my mom about my earliest beginnings. I learned she was surprised by the pregnancy and in fact refused to accept that she was pregnant until she outgrew her clothes. At the time she was 24, and already had a 3-year-old and a 1-year-old. She told herself that once the baby came, she would feel differently but she didn't.
And then when I was 6 weeks old, my brother was in a terrible accident. My grandmother took over the care of my sister and me while my Mom stayed round-the-clock at the hospital for months - coming home to have lunch with my sister, then 4.
Eventually my brother and mom returned from the hospital. My mom said she isn't quite sure what happened and why, but when I was 18 months old, she lifted me up and was overwhelmed by how much she loved me. Even as she related this story to me 18 years later, I could see the guilt she felt for those early months.
The reality is that I've only felt love from Mom. She did all the right things to care for me, even when she didn't have the emotions to support it - and she told me over and over and over how much she loved me and how special I was.
There are a lot of issues that can keep us from having the excitement we want - but loving a child is more than being excited about a pregnancy. It's the long-term care and support and love that matter.
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