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 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 this alone is doubly hard.
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 you both.
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 can discuss all of your options and help you get the birth control you need.

Ready to earn some money

Dear Abby: My two friends and I will be 12 soon. We would like to try to make our own money so we can get off our parents’ backs. There are things like lip gloss and magazines we’d like to buy.
We have considered baby-sitting. But are we old enough?
– Kayla in Missouri

Dear Kayla: In baby-sitting, it isn’t how old a person is but how MATURE and responsible the prospective sitter is. Some 12- and 13-year-olds are mature enough to handle it; others are not.
However, before deciding how your earnings will be spent, talk to your parents to determine how much they would like you to begin saving. It’s never too early to start.