DEAR ABBY: Pregnant teen seeks advice for raising her child well

Monday, March 23, 2020

DEAR ABBY: I recently found out I am pregnant. I’m only 17 and scared I won’t be a good mother. I’m also anxious about giving birth. I’m due in three months, so I know time is going by fast.

My mother never taught me right from wrong, and having to raise a child at my age is really scary. I don’t want to give my baby up for adoption because I know God does things in mysterious ways. I feel like this is an obstacle he is putting me through to make me stronger in life. Can you give me some advice on how to be a good mother or guide me on how to give my child the necessities? — CONCERNED TEENAGE MOTHER

DEAR CONCERNED: You will be facing challenging circumstances. Consider talking to a social worker at the hospital where you will give birth for advice on how to get the necessities for your baby. It is more important now than ever to complete your education by getting your high school diploma or a GED, so you will be able to better support the child. A trusted teacher or counselor at school may be able to guide you. If there are older, more experienced family members who are willing, they may be able to offer emotional and practical support. And, if possible, the baby’s father should be involved.

DEAR ABBY: I was adopted at birth. About 30 years ago, I found my birth mother, but our relationship is intermittent and distant. She only recently gave me a name of my biological father. Through DNA testing I have discovered that the name she gave me was incorrect and who he actually was. The confirmation is rock solid with half-sisters and several first cousins located.

My birth mother is 90 now. Should I tell her what I have found out or let it go? All of the direct players in this, except her, have passed on. — TRUTH-TELLER IN TEXAS

DEAR TRUTH-TELLER: How mentally “with it” is your 90-year-old mother? If she’s in the early stages of dementia, what have you to gain by telling her? If she’s sharp as a tack, one has to wonder why she would try to obscure your bio-father’s identity. Was she attempting to protect herself, him or you? Or was she unsure of his identity because she had been raped or was seeing more than one man? These are questions I can’t answer for you.

It shouldn’t create a bombshell if you approach the subject by telling her you have uncovered some information about your biological relatives. If she is interested, tell her everything. If not, let it be.

DEAR ABBY: This is a delicate subject for me, one I’ve never been faced with before. I have been speaking to a really nice guy I met online, and after many weeks of talking, we decided to meet up. It wasn’t anyplace special or expensive; it was a lunch spot. I wore jeans and new shoes, and did my hair to look nice for him. We had a pleasant lunch, which he insisted on paying for.

Abby, in his pictures, he is very handsome. In most of them he was well-dressed and -kept. He showed up in a knit ski hat that covered nearly his whole head, and the rest of his attire was wrinkled and sloppy. It was not what I expected for our first date that we had been talking about for a long time.

I’m thinking I may be disappointed because I may have built up expectations in my head. We are talking about a second date, and I’d like to give him another chance to crisp himself up, but I would like to handle it delicately so as not to hurt his feelings. I never thought of myself as judgmental. Am I being unreasonable for wishing my new boyfriend wants to look good for me as I do for him? How do I handle this? — SECOND THOUGHTS

DEAR SECOND THOUGHTS: Here’s how. Recognize that he is not your “new boyfriend;” he is only a candidate for the “job.” Go out with him a few more times and get to know him well enough that you can have an honest conversation with him. If he doesn’t shape up, at that point, tell him what you told me. Leave out the part about blaming yourself for your feelings. They are honest, and you are entitled to them, and frankly, you might be doing him a favor to speak up.

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