Annie's Mailbox: I am pregnant and jobless

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Dear Annie: I am 17. Last year, I got into a relationship with “Jeremy,” who was 19. He was my first boyfriend. Our relationship got serious pretty fast. He told me early on that he wanted kids. After six months of being together, I got pregnant. I am now five months along.

Jeremy just lost his job and doesn’t seem to be trying to get a new one. He says I need to get a job first. I don’t feel this is fair. I’ve been trying to find work, but even though I have my diploma, most places want you to be 18. Jeremy says he can’t find employment because he’s a 20-year-old dropout with no GED.

What should I do? We are both jobless and living with parents.

— Frustrated Teen Mom in Omaha

Dear Teen: Letters like yours make us sad. Too many teenage girls romanticize having a baby and believe it will bring them a stable, loving family. The reality is, the boy is invariably too young and immature to provide any stability and often resents being “trapped.” If you decide to keep the baby, Jeremy is legally responsible for child support, and you should encourage his participation in the child’s life. But please don’t count on him to take care of you. Are your parents supportive? Will they help raise the baby? You can find prenatal care and counseling through Planned Parenthood (plannedparenthood.org) at 1-800-230-PLAN (1-800-230-7526).

Dear Annie: I read the letter from “Happy and Sad in Oklahoma,” whose wife has “checked out” of their sex life at age 48. He said their counselor told him it was unrealistic to expect an exciting and fulfilling sex life at this age.

I applaud you on your response saying the counselor is wrong. It is indeed possible to have a loving, connected, meaningful sex life after menopause, but it takes commitment and work from both partners. The best therapist for this sometimes-challenging work is a board-certified sex therapist. Please advise “Happy and Sad” to go to the American Association of Sexuality Educators, Counselors and Therapists (aasect.org) to find one in their area.

— Andrea Mattisen-Haskins, LICSW BCD, AASECT Diplomate of Sex Therapy, AASECT Supervisor

Dear Andrea Mattisen-Haskins: Some readers weighed in on this, and most were supportive of finding a route to a healthier sex life. Read on:

Shreveport, La.: Menopause is worse than it seems. Many doctors checked my wife and said everything was fine. Every woman suffering from loss of libido should run to an OB/GYN who specializes in hormones. It took four months for my wife to get the levels right, and I wish I were younger so I could keep up with her.

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