*Editor’s Note: Elephant Journal articles represent the personal opinion, view or experience of the authors, and can not reflect Elephant Journal as a whole. Disagree with an Op-Ed or opinion? We’re happy to share your experience here.
Welcome to this week’s Ask Me Anything, where no question is out of bounds! To submit questions for next week, please email me at [email protected]. I look forward to hearing from you! ~ Erica
I’m in love with a man outside my culture.
I was raised in a very conservative Catholic town—everyone I knew including me went to Catholic school. While I appreciate my upbringing, I realized how much of a bubble I was living in when I went away to college.
Now I am living in a big city and I have exposure to all kinds of people. I love it.
I met my boyfriend in the building where I work and he happens to be East Indian. His parents are from Bombay but he was born here. He doesn’t have an accent and is very “Americanized,” but his parents (he tells me—I haven’t met them) are really old fashioned.
We weirdly connect on this subject because we both struggle with our parents narrow mindedness.
We have been having the best time. He’s smart and funny and nice to me. I could see spending the rest of my life with him. But with the holidays coming up I feel like I need to come clean to my parents. They will start asking questions and I’ve never lied to them about anything important before.
How should I handle this delicate situation?
~ Raised Conservative
Good for you for being willing to explore the world outside your “bubble.” It sounds like by doing so you have met a really great guy.
The truth is, there is no easy answer to your question.
I admire your desire to tell the truth, and would use that as your primary guide. You really can’t know how your parents will react to the news of you having an Indian boyfriend—perhaps they will surprise you. On the other hand, they might throw their hands up screaming and run out of the room.
If I were in your situation, I would break the news in tiny, bite sized pieces over the course of a few days or however long you’re home for Christmas. Gauge your parents reaction at each step. Mention that you’ve made friends with people of several other races and see what they say. Sometimes if you give people a chance to get accustomed to an idea they can handle it better.
If their response is close minded and negative, you have a choice to make. You can either plow ahead regardless, or keep your cards close to your vest. Remember, nondisclosure is not necessarily lying.
Meanwhile, read Kissing Outside the Lines: A True Story of Love and Race and Happily Ever After, an excellent and hilarious book written by Diane Farr, a woman who has been in your predicament and lived to tell the tale.
I feel terrible. My best friend is pregnant and I can’t feel happy for her.
Instead, I am angry and resentful and I don’t even want to see her, much less talk about her pregnancy or the baby.
You see, I can’t get pregnant. I tried for years, I tried everything, countless rounds of in vitro, meditation, yoga—I even went to see a shaman who told me I couldn’t have children because of some “spiritual reckoning” whatever that means.
Did he mean I did something bad in a past life and now I’m being punished?
My whole life is ruined because of this. My husband barely even talks to me anymore. He says I’m “obsessed” with having a baby and I “need to let it go.” He says he never even wanted children in the first place! He won’t even consider adopting.
I feel empty and as if my life has no meaning. Aren’t we put on this earth to procreate?
I don’t know where to turn. It’s like I’m losing my best friend over this and I can’t help it. My marriage is totally dysfunctional. I am sad all the time.
How can I accept what’s happening to me and also be happy for my friend?
In answer to your first question, no, you are not unable to have children because you are being punished. I have no idea what that “shaman” was getting at, but that’s just total malarky.
You don’t need to add guilt onto your already heavy burden.
In answer to your second question, no I don’t believe we are “put on this earth to procreate.” We are put on this earth to find what makes our soul sing and to learn how to truly love. For some people this involves children, for many others, it does not.
You feelings of resentment and anger toward your friend are understandable. You don’t mention how she is acting toward you, but as your “best friend” I have to believe she understands why you feel the way you do. Although she has what you covet, she might still be the place to turn for support.
Be honest with her. Tell her how badly you feel that you can’t celebrate this pregnancy with her. She may be relieved that you have brought the subject up, and may share some struggles of her own which will help you de-romanticize your fantasy of becoming pregnant.
No matter how compassionate your friend may be, however, you will need professional help. Find one by going to your primary care physician and explaining what’s been going on.
She will be able to recommend a therapist and/or a support group in your local area to help you through this profoundly challenging time.
Author: Erica Leibrandt
Editor: Renée Picard
Image: Flickr/Jenna Carver