Dear Abby

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - HEALTH - Abi­gail Van Buren Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069. Good ad­vice for ev­ery­one — teens

Un­planned preg­nancy can be­come wel­come sur­prise.

DEAR ABBY: I just read the let­ter from “Ex­pect­ing in Canada” (Sept. 8) and am dis­ap­pointed in her daugh­ters’ re­ac­tion to her preg­nancy, as were you.

My own mother an­nounced she was preg­nant with my baby brother when she was 42 and my sis­ter and I were in col­lege. Now, 46 years later, I can say he is one of the best things that ever hap­pened to our fam­ily. He took great care of both my par­ents as they grew older and was with them when each passed away. My sis­ter and I are very close to him, even though we nick­named him “the crown prince” and teased him be­cause that’s how my par­ents treated him.

I hope “Ex­pect­ing’s” daugh­ters will even­tu­ally em­brace this great gift. If they don’t, they may miss out on a won­der­ful ex­pe­ri­ence and a lot of love. — EL­DER SIS­TER OF THE CROWN PRINCE DEAR EL­DER SIS­TER: Thank you for your let­ter. Read­ers wrote to share their per­sonal ex­pe­ri­ences as you did. Most agreed that hav­ing a child with older par­ents and sib­lings can be a life-chang­ing event. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: I was a sur­prise baby. My birth mother was 40 and my birth father was 67. My sis­ters were 15 and 16. The older one was not happy; the younger one loved hav­ing a baby sis­ter.

As fate would have it, my mother died when I was seven years old. My father was too old to care for a child, so my older sis­ter, the one who hadn’t been thrilled with my ar­rival, and her hus­band be­came my “par­ents.” Not ev­ery day was per­fect, but my life was very blessed.

My sis­ter, whom I called Momma, be­came ill in her 60s, and my brother-in-law, whom I called Daddy for the rest of his life, also had health prob­lems. I be­came their “legs” for many er­rands. When Daddy died I be­came Momma’s pri­mary care­giver.

I would like those two girls to know that the lit­tle “in­truder” may just be the one who takes care of them some­day. I’m shocked that the par­ents would even en­ter­tain the idea of giv­ing the baby away. — JUDY IN LOUISIANA

DEAR ABBY: When I was a ju­nior in high school, my mother told me she was preg­nant. I was dis­gusted and an­gry, and I told her so. As I re­flect back on it, I’m mor­ti­fied that I could be so cruel. Af­ter giv­ing it more thought, I re­al­ized I was an­noyed to think my par­ents were sex­ual be­ings.

Teenagers that age are just com­ing to terms with their own sex­u­al­ity. They can also be some­what self­ish and self-ab­sorbed. While it may be a fam­ily mat­ter to some ex­tent, it re­ally is be­tween the mother and father.

My lit­tle brother is very close to me now and, more im­por­tant, close to my chil­dren, who are nearer in age to him. I hope that mother won’t let the tem­po­rary opin­ion of the daugh­ters ruin a beau­ti­ful ex­pe­ri­ence of a shared love. — CH­ERYL IN CAL­I­FOR­NIA

DEAR ABBY: “Ex­pect­ing” should ask her daugh­ters to be a part of the baby’s life, such as go­ing to doc­tor’s ap­point­ments, pick­ing out clothes, dec­o­rat­ing the room, giv­ing name sug­ges­tions and hav­ing them par­tic­i­pate in a baby shower. — STEPHANIE IN ILLINOIS

DEAR ABBY: When my mother was 42, my baby brother was born. I was 17 when I be­came his nanny and learned how to take care of a baby. It was an ex­pe­ri­ence that made me more ma­ture. Af­ter I mar­ried, I was never able to have my own chil­dren.

Please don’t lis­ten to your daugh­ters. I know what it’s like. Per­haps they are jeal­ous that they have to share their par­ents. My mom and dad were the old­est par­ents at PTA meet­ings, grad­u­a­tions, etc., but they were proud of my younger brother. Many times peo­ple thought they were the grand­par­ents. We shared many laughs dur­ing those years. — EILEEN IN WEST VIR­GINIA

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