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by Abigail Van Buren

DEAR ABBY: I would like to respond to "All Alone in Tucson, Ariz.," the 14-year-old girl who had a miscarriage and is afraid to tell her mother.

Just weeks before my 16th birthday, I was raped by a longtime friend. I found out I was pregnant when I had a miscarriage the day before Thanksgiving. That was 10 years ago. Like "All Alone," I told no one. It was the loneliest time in my life. I sought medical care, weathered the changes in my body and shouldered the painful loss all by myself.

To this day, my mother has no idea. I am now in therapy and learning to cope with what happened. It has been a slow process. I should have started 10 years ago.

I pray "All Alone" takes your advice. It can spare her years of confusion, loss and pain. Looking back, I wish I had spoken with an adult -- a teacher, clergyperson, a counselor -- anyone who had the life experience and compassion I desperately needed.

"All Alone" should join a support group either in her community or online. Pregnancy loss, no matter what the circumstances of conception, can be devastating. -- FINDING PEACE IN NEVADA

DEAR FINDING PEACE: That's true. I'm sorry you didn't call your local rape crisis hotline at the time of your assault. It might have saved you years of pain.

An excellent resource for parents grieving the loss of a baby through stillbirth, miscarriage or newborn death is a group called SHARE Pregnancy and Infant Loss Support Inc. SHARE is a nondenominational, not-for-profit organization that provides grief resolution and healing following the death of a baby. It can be reached at SHARE, St. Joseph Health Center, 300 First Capitol Drive, St. Charles, MO 63301-2893; or call (800) 821-6819, or on the Internet at www.nationalshareoffice.com.

DEAR ABBY: When I was 17, I experienced the same thing "All Alone" did. The difference is, I did tell my mother, and she was extremely supportive.

My mother often quotes what my grandmother used to say: "God gives you only what you can handle." Abby, I live that philosophy. What Mom didn't know, but God did, was that I was in an abusive relationship with my boyfriend. I was punched, screamed at and blamed for every bad thing that happened to him.

I am now 33, married to a wonderful man who loves me, and have two beautiful children whom I love with all my heart. My mom was right, "God gives you only what you can handle." -- BEEN THERE IN INDIANA

DEAR BEEN THERE: I share that philosophy, and I'm pleased your story had a happy ending. However, no teen should remain in an abusive relationship out of fear or intimidation. I advise younger readers who may be in an abusive relationship to seek help from a trusted adult. If none is available, the National Hope Hotline for Youth Crisis and Suicide, (800) 784-2433, will listen and refer teens in trouble to local agencies.

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