| 18.5°C Dublin

Dear Mary: Should I tell my ex that I was pregnant?

Q: I am 29, working and studying part-time, and most people on the outside would say I have a bright future. However, that future feels very bleak at the moment, as I discovered I was nine weeks' pregnant at the end of March. There was no way I could tell my family, as they would have been horrified, especially as I found out after my four-year relationship had ended.

I was upset and anxious to contact my ex and tell him I was pregnant, but he had made it clear he didn't want me in his future, so he obviously would not give me and our unplanned baby a proper home.

I also knew his family would blame it on me.

I was devastated, shocked and saddened when our relationship ended, as he had promised he would stand up to his disapproving family and devote his life to me. Well, it didn't happen, and in hindsight I don't think it would ever have been fair to bring a child into such an unstable environment, where I was treated so unfairly for too long.

I am feeling very lonely now as I am coping with a greater secret. As nature would have it, I suffered a miscarriage at 11 weeks. At the time, not telling him about the baby was the best decision. Now I'm confused and am wondering if I need to tell him. I have been struggling with this decision for a few weeks now and I think that perhaps I took the easy way out by not telling him. Getting pregnant was in no way my choice.

However, I also feel that I should not be the only one to suffer the consequences. I am torn, because I found out my ex-boyfriend moved on quite quickly and is now in a happy relationship.

I wonder if I have the right to tell him.

The past is the past -- hopefully this was God's way of telling me I can do better. I have written my ex a letter to tell him how hard it was to go through this on my own. I wonder if I should send it. I don't want to meet him again as we've said our goodbyes, albeit amicably.

AIf you had continued with the pregnancy and had your baby, there would not really have been a choice -- the father would have deserved to know that he had a child and then it would have been up to him as to what he would do. But now there is no baby and no relationship; you are coping with two separate losses. And even though everybody knows by now that your relationship is over, you have probably not been able to confide in anybody -- other than perhaps a close friend -- about the pregnancy. Your hormones are no doubt reacting to the loss of the baby, which may be causing your emotions to be all over the place.

Committing one's thoughts to paper is a most wonderful way of working through things, and it is usually not necessary to send the letter in order to move on.

So let's look at what you would achieve if you actually send the letter that you have written. Your ex-boyfriend would then know what had happened to you, but you should bear in mind that he has not been pregnant, his body has not had a miscarriage and he has not been through the absolute turmoil that you have. So his reaction would be much different to yours.

He could have a number of different reactions. He might write back and say that he was really sorry and he hoped you are all right. Or he may ignore the letter and you would then wonder if he had received it and you would go through all sorts of thoughts in your head. On the other hand, he may write or call and be nasty and ask if you were sure that the baby was his.

Ask yourself if each one of these responses would make you feel better; if the answer is yes, then go ahead and send the letter. If even one of them would make you feel worse than you do at present, do not send the letter.

There is nothing really to be gained and a lot to lose. In order to complete the process you should tear up the letter or burn it.Mentally you will then feel that you have sent the letter and handed over the responsibility to your ex.

I would also suggest you review the situation in six months, and if at that point you still want to contact him, do so.

I feel, however, that in six months' time you will be at another stage in your life.

It is really difficult for you to know that your ex-boyfriend got into another relationship so quickly.

At a subconscious level, you may be angry at this, and want to disrupt it in some way by ensuring that she knows about the pregnancy.

But once again, I have to ask what would be best for you. You have maintained your dignity through the trauma of the break-up and you should do everything to ensure that you maintain this dignity.

Submit your letters to Mary anonymously at dearmary.ie.

Sunday Indo Living