Dear Miriam

A quick one for you. I am currently expecting my first baby. We are coming up to the scan where we can find out if we are having a boy or a girl. I want to find out, as I want to get organised with clothes etc. My husband, however, is very traditional and wants a surprise. He is also a bit superstitious, I think.

It’s hard to find a compromise in this situation. Have you any advice?


Dear Mam-to-be

You know, I actually had a friend who had the same conundrum.

After talking it through with her husband, she asked the person doing the scan to write down whether the baby looked like a boy or a girl on a piece of paper and to give it to her afterwards, folded up carefully so that her partner would not see it. She then went to the bathroom where she read the piece of paper, tore it up; and managed to keep it to herself for the rest of the pregnancy! Pretty impressive willpower, don’t you think? But they both got what they wanted, so it worked for them.

I understand both arguments regarding finding out in advance versus waiting for that surprise. It’s nice to be able to plan; but there are plenty of unisex baby clothes out there. Likewise, the excitement of the surprise is lovely; but I would not have a lot of time for superstitions.

Life experience would tell me that once the baby arrives safely into the world, it’s quite irrelevant whether you found out before or after birth. The joy is still the same.

Have a chat again with your husband and see if you can find common ground. If not; think about what my friend did!

Wishing you all the best with the rest of your pregnancy.

Reader write s

Dear Miriam, I’m writing in response to lady about the graves (“My siblings don’t help maintain family graves”, published 25 February edition).

I started getting flowers for Mammy and Daddy and contacted my friend, whose parents and relations are also in the same graveyard. I text her and say I will be there and we meet in the graveyard at 11am. She brings plants one time, I bring them the next time. Yesterday, she got primulas at the shop at €1 per plant. She got six plants, as we do two friends’ [graves] as well.

At Christmas, she gets the wreathes. I bring flowers or this year, I brought small Christmas trees. We took the trees home yesterday. We also have lunch etc. I said to her that I don’t know anyone who does the plants like we do. We love doing it.

What I would say is do not spend a fortune. The fact that Catherine [original letter writer] visits the grave is the important thing. If I don’t have money for flowers, I will just visit. I think it’s great she does it.

Forget about the brother and sister; they are either interested or they are not.

Dear Miriam

Love your help and support in the Farmers Journal.

In response to the above titled article (“Guilted for hiring a cleaner”, published 11 February edition) your reader should not feel guilty for hiring a cleaner to help and support her during these busy years.

I have a cleaner coming to my house for 10 years every two weeks. She is such a support to me and the family. If we have a Holy Communion or special occasion, she does a super job. It’s hard to manage a house/laundry, work on the farm and all the school and after-school activities.

I wonder if her mother-in-law requires help with her house work? She might be moving on in years and finds it difficult.

My advice to this lady is to smile and maybe ask her mother-in-law if she needs help at home too. Be straight with her.


Read more

'My siblings won't help maintain our parents' grave'

Getting the guilt-trip over hiring a cleaner