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Mum’s The Word!

Agony aunt Sandi, the Jewish News and Channel 4 Jewish mum of the yearoffers a shoulder you can rely on

With Sandi Firth

I Simply Can’t Stand My New Grandson’s Name!

Dear Sandi

I recently became a grandmother for the first time. I know I should be overjoyed and I do love my daughter and son-in-law to bits. When I saw my grandson for the first time I burst into tears. They’re doing everything a Jewish couple should do. They’ve had the bris and the baby is fine. My problem is my grandson’s name. I can’t even repeat it to you as it’s so ridiculous. The poor boy has to go to school with such a name and then go through life being laughed at. My friend’s don’t know what to say to me and my husband refuses to discuss it. What can I do?
Betty

Dear Betty

Nothing! Do nothing and say nothing if you possibly can. The name will grow on you – and it’s up to the parents, of course, to choose the name.  Just think – in 80 or so years, these babies will be in an old-aged home saying to each other, “Come on Kylie, come on Savannah. Where’s Dexter?” And their children will have more mainstream names like Martha, Emily and Harvey. So don’t worry so much and simply enjoy every minute of that bundle of joy. Mazeltov!

Our Lesbian Daughter Wants To Get Married

Dear Sandi

Two years ago, our daughter, then aged 29,  told us that she was a lesbian. It didn’t come as a complete surprise but, nevertheless, it has taken until now to get our heads round it. We now know there are many gay Jews and my daughter has gay and straight friends.  One of the people she sees a lot is a lovely Jewish girl from another town and we’ve met her a few times and have long suspected she is someone very special in our daughter’s life.  They have now told us that they are a couple and want to get married and have babies. We feel shell-shocked again because we honestly and naively thought she would grow out of it. How can we come to terms with this development?

Julia

Dear Julia

Although my children are straight, my only concern is that they’re healthy because, without that, there’s nothing.
Once the umbilical cord is broken, it’s the start of a separate life for your offspring and you can only show them the paths you think will lead them to where they should be. But one day, they take a turn and go on another path and you can’t follow them. 

Your daughter sounds very happy. She’s with someone Jewish, which I assume pleases you both and makes life a lot easier for them – as they will have many hurdles to climb over, and this is one less. I get letters from parents who are devastated because their children want to marry out or they don’t approve of their future son or daughter-in-law.  You see, you do have a lot going for you. Have you discussed any thoughts or feelings you may have with your daughter? It would be good if you could have a tete-a-tete as this will lay a good foundation for the future. A tremendous help for you could be to meet up with another couple whose child has gone through this.  When I was young, the word ‘gay’ meant happy, so I wish you happiness and hope the couple will have a happy future together.

 

Being Single Is Making Me Terribly Depressed

Dear Sandi
I’m 34 and financially secure, but loneliness and fear of always being on my own is making me ill. My doctor has finally put me on anti-depressants, but I can’t rely on them forever. The world is meant for couples – there’s no doubt about it. All my friends are coupled up and I have no one left to go out with. Obviously, I dont want to encroach on them and they can’t possibly understand how I feel. I love my job and my family – so far I’ve managed to hide my real feelings. But I have this horrible feeling I will never meet Mr Right or have children and that makes me even more depressed. I find that I’m jealous of my friends and that’s just not me.  Now the anti-depressants have kicked in, I’m afraid to let go, but I just don’t know when and how I’d be without them.  Can you help?

Sophie

Dear Sophie

First of all, let me assure you there is light at the end of the tunnel. The trouble is that when you feel depressed, you become anxious and negative and it’s the negativity that takes over. 

Have you thought about therapy?  You say you are in a good financial position, so you could quickly find someone to talk to privately. It’s good to talk to someone outside the family and away from your friends – you would relax and feel more comfortable. If you feel you can’t yet take that step, could you talk to your parents or siblings (if you have any), or a close friend? Part of the cure for your situation is sharing it with someone.

As you have said yourself, you can’t stay on anti-depressants forever, but let me tell you that going to see your GP about the problem was a massive step in the right direction – and you should be very  proud of yourself for doing that. It’s best to think about now rather than the future. It won’t help if I tell you that there are thousands of people in your position, but now that you’ve shared this with your GP – and with me – you’re on your way to feeling positive and you’re young enough to take your time with this. 

Have you thought about joining a gym so you can use up some energy, feel healthier and also meet new people? It’s a good way of getting out of the house, which is important for you and something you can do on your own. 
Night school is another option – most people go on their own and, again, you’ll pick something you would enjoy and meet new people. Give it a couple of months at least – then go out and treat yourself to some new clothes. It can work wonders for your confidence.

Email your question to Sandi to richardf@thejngroup.com

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