Ask Amy

Ask Amy: Teen girl is ready to have a baby, but is her guy?

Chicago Tribune

DEAR AMY: I’ve been seeing this boy. We’ve hit it off very well, right from the beginning.

We have been dating for six months, and I think I’m in love. I believe he is my soul mate, the guy I’ve been waiting for my whole life.

He doesn’t want kids right now, but I do. I’ve secretly stopped taking my birth control pills. He said we might have kids one day, but I think I’m pregnant now. I think he worries about supporting me and our little olive, but I’m not worried.

I’m still in my teens, but he’s not. I’m sure he'll be able to take good care of us. I think he won’t realize that he wants kids until he has one. I’m trying to find the right way to tell him that I’m pregnant. Can you give me some advice?

M

DEAR M: You have no right to deliberately and deceitfully turn another person into a parent who does not want to be a parent. This is very disrespectful, and I wonder why you don’t realize it. But I suspect it is because you are a teenager, and you think the way a teenager thinks – with a distorted view of your actions and their attached consequences. Questions for you to answer are: Do you have supportive parents? Are you working? How will you raise and support this child?

My advice is for you to carefully consider your actions, which have extremely wide-ranging consequences for you, for your parents, for your guy, for his parents and for any child you decide to bring into the world. I wish you had a wider idea of what you are doing, but you are young, and so I will tell you two things: A fetus is not an “olive.” It is a fetus that will presumably grow into a baby and then a child. And having a baby is not the way to cement a relationship.

You need to take a pregnancy test and at this point be very brave and honest with your boyfriend about your situation. If you have a supportive friend or family member, talk with this person and ask for help and support as you walk this path. See your doctor or visit Planned Parenthood for low-cost testing, health screenings and counseling (plannedparenthood.org).

DEAR AMY: I am divorced and have a box full of old letters from my ex-husband. We have three daughters who are all adults.

My ex and I are remarried, and I feel it is best to throw away these letters.

What do you think?

Ex-wife in California

DEAR EX-WIFE: Go through these letters yourself with an eye toward turning some of them over to your daughters. I can imagine that there might be material in these letters that is boring, mushy or strictly private, but it would also be nice for your children to see their parents’ relationship from a new perspective – as two young people in love – with hopes, dreams and thoughts of the future. Any mention of your children or of other long-gone family members (like his or your parents and grandparents) in these letters and descriptions of experiences he had as a young man would be a treat for these women.

I recently spent a day at the wonderful National WWII Museum in New Orleans. Of all of the artifacts and exhibits I enjoyed in this very large museum, it was the letters home that touched me the most. Some of the most quotidian thoughts and expressions gain beauty and a great poignancy through time. Details of ordinary life in a previous era can be evocative and important chronicles. We who live in a strictly digital world may leave streams of data behind, but I would rather be judged by my letters home than my Twitter feed.

DEAR AMY: The letter from “Happy Grandfather,” with his eye-rolling grandchildren, reminded me of my mother’s reaction to this common teen behavior.

When I complained that other parents let their kids do things that she wouldn’t allow, she suggested I pick a family to go live with where I could do whatever I wanted. Ouch.

Sometimes in reply to mom I would say, “I’m trying.” And sometimes she would reply, “You’re very trying.”

She managed to shoot these remarks back to me while also being very loving and fun.

Good Childhood

DEAR GOOD: I love learning these comebacks parents sometimes toss at their children.

Email Amy Dickinson at askamy@tribpub.com.

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