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Health & Spirit

Out-of-wedlock pregnancy leads to family secret

By Amy Dickinson, Tribune Content Agency on

Dear Amy: I got pregnant 37 years ago. The father and I were in our 20s and engaged to be married, but he dumped me when I refused to have an abortion. He and I tried to reconcile a couple of times, but it was always contingent on me "getting rid of the kid." He didn't care how -- I could leave our son with relatives -- but there was just no place in his plans for children.

I agreed not to sue for child support as long as he stayed out of our lives. I did not want him dropping in from time to time -- I have seen the damage absentee fathers inflict on children, and I did not want our son subjected to his father's whims.

I sent a birth announcement to his mother, and she and I remained in touch for a couple of years. She expressed interest in meeting her grandson, but wanted to respect her son's decision, and never did ask to meet him.

Fast-forward to the present day. My son's father is deceased, the family was helping Grandma move and the birth announcement was discovered.

The paternal relatives who have contacted my son are very accepting of him, but they are understandably upset by the deception.

I have offered to answer any questions they may have, and I am helping my son to navigate these new relationships. I do not expect to have a relationship with any of these people, but I feel like there is something more I should do.

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I'm worried about the choices I made. Should I have inserted us into the lives of his paternal family? What do you think?

-- Conflicted

Dear Conflicted: Given your choices up to this point, I think you are doing the right thing to basically turn this issue over to your son. He is an adult and he has the right to make choices concerning having relationships with his biological relatives.

You should continue to be transparent with all parties and compassionate regarding any questions your son has about your life before and after his birth.

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