Dear Barb:

Dear Barb:
My husband and I are in our mid-thirties, we began dating in university and dated four years before getting married nine years ago. Our life is mostly great and we both have careers we love. The problem is my husband now wants to start a family and I don’t. I feel awful because we had discussed this many times through the years and agreed that we would have children once our careers were established. I am happy with the way things are.

I haven’t told my husband how I feel, I just keep putting him off. But, I think he is starting to realize that I don’t want children. I love my husband and don’t want my marriage to end, but I genuinely do not see children as a part of my life. I don’t know what to do. What do you suggest?
Thanks Sarah

Hi Sarah:
You’ve got yourself into a predicament! You and your husband agreed to have children at a certain time and now this time has arrived and you’ve changed your mind. Your husband may feel this is a deal breaker. You need to discuss this with him to see if not having children would be an option for him. Have you figured out why you don’t want children? Is it a fear of the pregnancy, or leaving your career for a certain amount of time, or another reason? Is it that you do not want children at this point, or do you want to never have children? Before you discuss this with your husband, try to find out the true reason why you don’t want children. You may have to see a counselor to help figure out the answer to these questions and perhaps a solution. Ultimately, this is a decision you have to work out together, and honest, open communication is a good place to begin. Hope this helps.

Dear Barb:
My sister suffers from mental illness and no matter what I do to try to help her she resists. She barely eats and is just skin and bones. She takes a lot of prescription drugs and says her problems are all a result of her nerves. Her doctor does nothing to help her, other than give her more drugs, he does not seem to see that she is mentally ill, as she is very good at masking her illness. I can’t understand why she does not want to help herself. Our family has tried to do whatever we can, but she always ends up getting angry and tries to alienate us. Even her children do not want to see her as they can’t deal with her unstable moods and fits of rage. I’m ready to give up too, but I’m having a hard time actually letting go. What should I do?

Hey Kevin:
You sound like a caring brother! Without a doubt it is very difficult to deal with individuals who are suffering from mental illness. Part of their illness is that they don’t see themselves as ill. Your view of the world is coming from a completely different place than your sister’s. The rights of the mentally ill allow them to maintain their freedom unless they are suicidal or homicidal. Consequently, there is nothing you can do until your sister is ready to accept your help. As hard as it is, try to be there for her as much as she will allow, other than that your hands are tied.
Good luck Kevin

Email your questions to Some submissions may be edited for length or to protect confidentiality; your real name and location will never be printed. This column is for entertainment only. The author is not a professional counsellor and this column is not intended to take the place of professional advice.