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Dear Abby: Shocking discovery by child of rape

Dear Abby: I recently found a notebook of my mom’s. On the outside cover it said, “Disclaimer: Do Not Open Unless You’re Me!” Being the curious soul that I am, I opened it, anyway.

As I flipped through the pages, I learned many things about my mom that I didn’t know, such as her faith in God and how the things that happened in her life molded her into who she is today. I stopped at the page titled, “The Summer of 10th Grade.” As I read it, I learned the truth about how I was conceived. Written in capital letters were the words “I WAS RAPED.” It felt as if the world had stopped. I had no clue.

I had always assumed Mom got pregnant at 16 because she made stupid decisions, but I was wrong. I could never imagine how my mom could get through a day without looking at me as a reminder of what happened to her.

Where do I go from here? Should I confront her about it? I have no one to talk to, so I hope you can give me some advice.

– Child of Rape

Dear Child: If you hadn’t been wanted, your mother had other alternatives. If you had no clue, it’s because you are the daughter she loves, and I’m sure you have been a source of much joy in her life.

If you feel the need to discuss this with her, then you should. Because she left the notebook in a place where it could be discovered, she may have subconsciously wanted it to be found.

Troubling parental behavior

Dear Abby: At 24, I am fortunate to have loving, functional relationships with my mother, father, stepmother (of 15 years) and stepsister. But lately I have been finding my parents’ relationship very inappropriate. They have been hanging out together often without me, and almost certainly without my stepmother’s knowledge. I have stumbled upon suggestive texts that imply a flirty relationship, and probably more.

I would never want my stepsister to discover anything about my mom and dad the hard way. I especially don’t want to see her hurt by becoming a child of divorce. Would I be overstepping my boundaries if I asked my mom and dad to spend less time together and restrict their relationship to being parents to me and that’s all?

– Hurt Child-Woman

Dear Hurt Child-Woman: If you approach it the way you have written it to me, yes, I think you would offend both of your parents. If you are afraid that your stepsister may be hurt if her parents separate, be there to comfort and support her, but do not insert yourself into what may or may not be an explosive minefield. This may be the way your mom and dad have always related to each other, your stepmother may be aware of it, and you could come across as extremely presumptuous.