DEAR ABBY: I'm a teenager and I want to grow up fast. My boyfriend, "Jared," and I are very serious, and we want to have a baby. I know that sounds crazy, but we talk about it all the time and we're ready for it.
As much as I want all this, I'm afraid I won't be able to provide for the baby. I have been distant from Jared because I don't know how to tell him I'm not totally sure. He'll be disappointed after all we've discussed. I need to know what to do and say. I need answers. -- FUTURE YOUNG MOM IN PENNSYLVANIA
DEAR FUTURE YOUNG MOM: You and Jared may be intent on growing up fast, but believe me, having a child at your age is a guaranteed way to slow you down. Once a baby is here, the baby's needs will supersede yours until he or she is no longer a minor. You are wise to worry about how you will provide for any baby you bring into this world, and Jared should be doing the same thing.
If you make it out of high school -- many pregnant girls don't -- the kind of jobs you'll be prepared for won't pay much. If Jared suddenly discovers he isn't up to the responsibilities of fatherhood -- and believe me, it has happened many times -- you will have greater problems than telling your boyfriend you don't think you're ready to be a mother until you have at least a high school diploma.