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Friday, September 27, 2013

Dear Jeannie: Unplanned Pregnancy and Being Resurrected

Dear Jeannie,

My character only feels valued at her job where she excels at research as a paralegal in a prestigious law firm. She has plans to go to law school. For three years she has stayed home with her twins. She loves her children but feels nonproductive doing mom stuff. The twins will go to three-day preschool in the fall. She is so excited to be able to work half a day. She and her husband have put an addition on their home for the twins, and their old room is to be her office where she can work at home as well. She has her future planned out, then she finds out she’s pregnant. To me this seems like a set up for depression. What are some other ways she could react to her situation? 

Bezerko in Sandpiper Bay, NC  

Dear Bezerko,

You've just described what might possibly be my biggest nightmare. She would be utterly devastated. Yes, depression would be a likely option, but if she were sitting in my office, we'd have to address the polarizing issue of whether she wants to keep the baby or not. My guess is that she would at least contemplate abortion, even if she is adamantly opposed to it. She wouldn't be normal if she didn't. She resents the life inside of her, as s/he will prevent her from achieving her goals. This resentment would likely be accompanied by guilt. She could even begin eating less healthy, skipping vitamins/prenatal appointments, and taking less care of herself in general in hopes of a "natural" miscarriage. I believe there to be a real disconnect for women who want to work, yet feel that they have to or should do the mom thing. Some women have children because they are "supposed"'s like a natural progression. You get married, then you have a family. Your heroine finds her fulfillment in her work, and there's nothing wrong with that. It doesn't mean she loves her children less. I'd actually love to know how you resolve this, so drop me a line. Best of luck!

Dear Jeannie,
Six men wake up alive over a hundred years after their deaths, with strange supernatural powers, to a world that is practically unrecognizable, all loved ones they knew gone, full of weird technologies and cultures, and monstrous creatures that are a constant threat. The group surmise that they were resurrected and given their new abilities to destroy these monsters, and go on a journey to do just that. How do these guys even begin to cope? I imagine that some of the grieving process would be postponed as they focus on handling their new situation, but certainly not for long.

Thanks a bunch,
Maximum Emotional Damage

Dear Maximum Emotional Damage,

You'd be right. Maslow's hierarchy of needs speaks plainly to what their main focus would be. Outside of food, water, air and shelter...the next level of need is Safety. So it will be during moments of relative safety from the monsters that the men will reflect on their previous lives, and the feelings of loss and grief that come from that. As to how they navigate the grieving process, that can follow the traditional stages of grief, but it might not, since grief is so individual. Plus, they are faced with truly overwhelming circumstances...a new life, a new body, a new world, with new toys they don't know how to use. They might react with being so overwhelmed that they are reckless in battle, wanting to end their bewilderment by being offed by the monsters. Some might face more traditional suicidal thoughts. They might let out all their aggression on the monsters, which would be a healthier option. Sounds like you definitely are doing the type of thinking that's needed to make these guys come alive on the page. Thanks for writing in!


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