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Published Feb. 4, 2008

Q: I have a big problem. I am 16 years old, have a good job and do well in school.

The problem is my pastor. "Reverend Ron" is 48, married, and has children and grandchildren. We secretly became a couple last fall.

Every Monday night, after I get off work, I go over to my church and meet Reverend Ron in his office, where we have sex. We agreed to tell no one.

Six weeks ago, I found out I was pregnant. I haven't told him yet, and we continue our Monday night meetings. Abortion is not an option, but neither is shaming my family and the whole church.

In True Love in Washington

A: The first thing you must do is tell your mother what you have told me. If there is any "shaming," it should not be directed at you, your family or your church. You are 16, idealistic and inexperienced. "Reverend Ron," however, is an adult who has literally abused his "sacred" trust to you, his congregation and his God. He had so little concern for your welfare that he didn't even use birth control. This is not how grown men show "true love."

Tell your mother now, so responsible adults who love you can give you the support you need. If you're afraid to speak to your mother alone, have a friend with you when you do it. The only thing you can't do is remain silent.

The choice is hers

Q: My family is protesting a request I made about the birth of my first child. I prefer that my husband and I be alone with our newborn for at least the first 24 hours after the birth. I would like to contact my family the day after to invite them to the hospital.

Our families can be very loud, as I witnessed last week when my sister-in-law had her first child. At least 20 noisy relatives were in her room after her C-section.

I also saw how overbearing my mother was with my sister when she had her son several years ago. Mom says I'm "taking this experience away" from her, but I don't think it's her experience. My husband has agreed to go along with whatever I request, but I know he'd prefer his family be present.

No Visitors in Louisiana

A: Your reasons for wanting peace, quiet, rest and time to recuperate are valid, and you should communicate them to your obstetrician and the nurses at the maternity ward. Although I understand your husband's wish to have his family present, unless he's willing to undergo the procedure in your place, he should see your wishes are carried out.

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips. Find columns at

Universal Press Syndicate