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Teen grieves alone after secret miscarriage

Dear Abby: I'm 15. I have dated since I was 12 but never told my parents and sort of went out of my way to hide it from them. I had sex when I was 13, but was always careful about using birth control. I'm on the pill and always use condoms.

I got pregnant anyway, five months ago. I always had irregular periods so I didn't realize it until two months ago. The doctor told me I was having a girl. I was scared out of my mind, but I was planning to tell the father and my parents. Then early last month I got a terrible pain. I went to the clinic and had a miscarriage.

It will be a long time before I'm completely ready to deal with this, but I don't know how to move on. I only told a couple of people, and none of them can ever know how I'm feeling. I can't tell my parents, and I have no idea how to tell the father. Please help me. – Lost And Alone in Wisconsin

Dear Lost And Alone: Please accept my sympathy. A miscarriage can cause a mix of emotions, among which are disappointment, despair, shock, guilt, grief -- and relief. All are NORMAL. I urge you to talk to a trusted adult who can listen and support you, because going through all of this alone is doubly hard.

Remember that grief is a natural response to a miscarriage. Don't make light of it or deny the feelings. The length of time it takes to process them is different for everyone, but you should feel better as time passes. If that doesn't happen, talk with your health care provider because there may be additional ways to support you and help you feel better.

If you decide to tell the father, understand that he may need to grieve, too. He may not be able to express his emotions the same way you do. But communicating your feelings and supporting each other may help both of you to cope.

Because the birth control you were using didn't prevent your pregnancy, you should ask a health care provider for advice about avoiding another unplanned pregnancy in the future. A staff member at your local Planned Parenthood health center or other clinic, or your own physician, can discuss all of your options and help you get the birth control you need.

Dear Abby: I'm the mother of two adult daughters. Their father and I were divorced when they were 6 and 10. He was an attentive father, and I encouraged and nurtured their relationship with him and always told them how much he loved them.

Five years after our divorce, he remarried. His new wife didn't care for the girls and made no secret of it. Our youngest daughter gave birth to our only grandchild. When the child was 4, my daughters were told by their father that they were no longer welcome in his home. They then revealed to me that during the 30 years since the divorce, their dad had never had a good thing to say about me and told them many lies. He died nine months ago, without patching up the problems between them.

Now my daughters want to be close to his wife! Please help me understand. I have strong emotions about this, especially concerning the grandchild. – Miserable in Missouri

Dear Miserable: It may not be rational, but it's possible that your daughters want a relationship with their father's wife because they perceive it as the one last link to their father, however weak a link that may be.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.

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