an After abortion

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Friday, May 20, 2005

In today's Chicago SunTimes, advice maven Ellie Tescher headlines her column with Discovery of abortion makes child mourn lost sibling.

DEAR ELLIE: I recently found out that several years before I was born, my mother had an abortion. I'm getting upset about it. I feel as if I've lost an older sibling.

My friends say it's not a big deal, that I can't really lose something I never had, but I don't agree. I want to talk to my mother about it, but my father says it would upset her and I was never supposed to know (she was barely out of high school at the time).

Am I blowing this way out of proportion? Is it realistic to mourn for a sibling who was never born?


DEAR FEELING: Focus first on what you've gained, not lost: You've learned how very precious you must be to your mother after that event. You've also learned an intimate secret of hers, which hopefully gives you more understanding and compassion for her.

Should you confront your mother? No. This is truly her private business. It's likely that your father will somehow let her know of your discovery and she may want to discuss it in the future, or it may remain too painful for her. I suggest that you're partly mourning the loss of your innocence about this possibility in your family life. But if your sadness persists, I recommend you talk to a professional counselor about it, instead of asking your mother questions, because the feelings of grief have to do with your emotional state, not hers.

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