DEAR ABBY: I have a big problem. I am 16 years old, have a good job and do well in school. I go to a Christian non-denominational church every Sunday and enjoy that, too.
The problem is my pastor. "Reverend Ron" is 48, married, and has children and grandchildren. We have become attracted to each other and have secretly become a couple since 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, so as not to shame ourselves or our families.
Six weeks ago, I found out I was pregnant. I haven't told him yet, and we continue with our Monday night meetings. Abortion is not an option, but neither is shaming my family, much less the whole church. Abby, what do I do? -- IN TRUE LOVE IN WASHINGTON
DEAR IN TRUE LOVE: 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."
You cannot hide this secret forever. At some point the truth will be revealed. Tell your mother now, so responsible adults who love you can give you the support you so desperately need. If you're afraid to speak to your mother alone, then have a friend with you when you do it. The only thing you CANNOT do is remain silent.
DEAR ABBY: My family is protesting a request I have made regarding the birth of my first child. I would prefer that my husband and I be alone with our newborn for at least the first 24 hours after the baby is born. I would like to contact my family the day after to invite them to the hospital.
Both our families can be very loud, as I witnessed firsthand last week when my sister-in-law had her first child. There were at least 20 relatives in her room after her C-section. It became so loud at one point that the nurse had to ask everyone to either leave the room or keep their voices at a moderate level.
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. It's my husband's and my experience. I truly feel it will be more peaceful if it's just my husband, me and our baby that first day. My husband has agreed to go along with whatever I request, but I know he'd prefer his family be present. Your thoughts, please? -- NO VISITORS IN LOUISIANA
DEAR NO VISITORS: 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 -- just in case news of your labor and delivery "slips out" prematurely. While I understand your husband's wish to have his family present, unless he's willing to undergo the procedure in your place, he should not only respect your wishes but make sure they are carried out.
For everything you need to know about wedding planning, order "How to Have a Lovely Wedding." Send a business-size, self-addressed envelope, plus check or money order for $6 (U.S. funds only) to: Dear Abby, Wedding Booklet, P.O. Box 447, Mount Morris, IL 61054-0447. (Postage is included.)
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