DEAR ANN: This letter is in response to "Undecided and On the Fence in D.C." He was upset because his wife, "Nadine," got pregnant again, even though he had told her several times that he didn't want any more children. Nadine claimed her birth control had failed again the same as with her first pregnancy but he assumed she had tricked him, and was boiling mad.
Ann, it is possible that Nadine is telling the truth. I took a pharmacology course a while back, and one of the things I learned was that antibiotics can interfere with the effectiveness of oral contraceptives. Nadine should talk to her doctor and find out if her records indicate she was taking antibiotics at the time she became pregnant, and if the medication could have interfered with her birth control pills. Doctors sometimes neglect to tell their patients about all the side effects of the drugs they prescribe. If it turns out that Nadine was taking an antibiotic and it was a contributing factor in the pregnancy, she might want to switch to another form of birth control from now on.
Ann, please warn your readers about this. And also, tell all your women readers who are using birth control pills to ask their doctors if this could be a problem for them. Fan in Hagerstown, Md.
DEAR FAN: Thank you for calling this to my attention. You were not the only reader who pointed it out. According to the American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists, some antibiotics can indeed reduce the effectiveness not only of oral contraceptives, but also of contraceptive implants. Any woman who is depending on birth control should check with her gynecologist before taking medication of any kind, especially antibiotics. Better to be safe than sorry.
DEAR ANN: Two years ago, my wife gave birth to our beautiful daughter, "Heather." At the time, my mother agreed she would provide day care two days a week, and we hired a woman to come in the other three working days. This is Mom's only grandchild, and she cherishes every moment with Heather.
My wife had a very difficult time when the baby was born. A few weeks after the day-care arrangement went into effect, my mother informed us she had to work on one of the days she was supposed to take care of Heather, and said we would need to hire someone else for that day. My wife was hopping mad, and said my mother was unreliable. She immediately called the part-time sitter, and hired her full time. Things have gone straight downhill ever since.
Now, my wife refuses to consider my mother for baby-sitting privileges, regardless of the circumstances, even though Mom lives less than five minutes away. My wife will hire a sitter months in advance in order to avoid asking Mom. She does everything in her power to prevent my mother from spending time with Heather. She plans all holidays around her family, and mine is left out completely.
I do not feel this is a healthy way to raise a family. At first, I supported my wife because she was having such a hard time adjusting to motherhood, but now, I am worried about the consequences. It has reached the point where my mother will not call us or come by to visit because of my wife's attitude. Is there anything I can do? Married to a Control Freak in Massachusetts
DEAR MASSACHUSETTS: Your wife's obstinate, unforgiving attitude toward your mother may have deep roots somewhere else. This situation needs investigating because it could seriously impact your marriage. I strongly recommend that you and your wife get some joint counseling, and the sooner, the better.