Dear Miss Emily:

I been with my boyfriend since I was 17 and I'm 18 now. I just had a birthday and we have a 3 and half month old son. My boyfriend doesn't help at all. When I was pregnant he clung to me, and now that I had the baby he leaves for work early in the morning and gets backs at 3 PM -- and leaves to hang with his friends!  He's 21 and he stays out till like 9:30 PM and then by that time, he doesn't wanna help out with the baby. He knows I am studying to be a doctor. He will go to sleep at 3 AM, he hears the baby cry and wakes me up. Then we argue when he refuses to get up when he knows I been with the baby all day.  He always says he loves me but I don't believe it.  What should I so because I need his help.

-------------------------------------------------Miss Emily's advice-------------------------------------------

You may need his help, but getting it seems next to impossible. He was not ready to be a father (some men never are -- and some women, too), and he's making that quite clear whether he wants to admit it or not. He thinks he can still have the life he wants, while you take on all the childcare responsibilities. But this is what often happens when a pregnancy is not planned. The mother of the child is left to care for the child, and the father's excuse is that he's putting a roof over her and the baby's head. Are there any alternatives to living with the father of your child if it comes to that? Can family help you? Your responsibility is to the baby, first, despite your boyfriend's inability to accept his paternal role in your child's life. You can't force him to help you. Your only recourse, if there are no family members to help pitch in with childcare, is to pay for some relief so you can study and catch up on some sleep. It's possible that, one day, you may decide that you have outgrown your baby's father and you'll need to move on to a more mature relationship. That may be fostered by the fact that you are getting an education that, eventually, might exceed his maturity, and intellectual level. And that may already be the case! That said, he is financially responsible for some of the child's needs -- child support -- and it may come down to making the hard choice to do what's best for you and the baby. Stressing about this will put you in a powerless role, and you don't want that to happen. If it does, he holds all the cards because you will feel helpless to make the changes to your life that better it, rather than drag it down. One last time, explain to him that you need some help in caring for the baby -- it's a bonding experience -- but if he continues to object, or any effort he makes wanes as the days go by, look for outside help.