Our agony aunt attempts to solve your problems
QUESTION: My partner and I have three beautiful children. We’ve been together for nine years but since our youngest was born last year, our relationship has been on the rocks and, because of a traumatic delivery, I’m not able to be intimate very often.
Our daughter has special needs, but he doesn’t understand her condition and shouts at her when she gets things wrong, so she’s scared of him.
He’s told me he has cancer symptoms but hasn’t seen a doctor and he threatens to kill himself all the time. I’ve put on loads of weight because of the stress and he calls me a fat bitch.
It’s making me depressed and I’ve told him how I feel but it falls on deaf ears, even though I constantly reassure him that I love him.
I can’t talk to my family or friends because they all hate him and I don’t know what to do.
FIONA SAYS: It seems to me that there’s not a lot to love here and, as he’s being abusive towards you and your children, you’re really not in a safe place and need to consider leaving him.
I expect you’re already in contact with Social Services because of your daughter’s needs, so talk to them about your circumstances and see what help you may be able to get.
You’re clearly a very strong person even if you don’t recognise yourself as such, but even strong people need help and it’s there, if you ask for it.
QUESTION: I’m 38 and my husband-to-be is 36.
We’re getting married in September and are keen to start a family as soon as possible.
I know I’m going to be an ‘old’ mother so I want to make sure I give myself the best possible chance. What would you suggest I do to prepare for pregnancy?
I feel a bit awkward approaching my doctor about this as he’s quite old fashioned and he knows we’re not married yet.
Where can I get information on what foods, exercise and dietary supplements are best?
FIONA SAYS: More and more women are choosing to wait until they’re older before starting a family, so you will be by no means the oldest mother around.
Preconception care is sensible and should apply to your fiance too. Although you’re reluctant, I really would advise you both to talk to your GP.
If you really can’t face talking to him, see if there is a midwife attached to your medical practice or perhaps a practice nurse or health visitor who can advise.
Some family planning clinics and well woman clinics also offer this service so ask about these.