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To tell or not to tell

(9 Posts)
ferando81 Mon 21-Nov-16 01:00:20

Mother passed away last year -very hard to live with.
Some years ago she told me that her elder sister had got pregnant and was forced into an institution.She couldn't tell me if the child survived or was put up for adoption -she was a pensioner when she told me .
The chances of tracing the child is slim if it survived but my aunties family (several children)are very family oriented.
My mother said to keep it secret but my cousins might have a brother or sister they don't know about.

EBearhug Mon 21-Nov-16 01:25:56


I'm assuming, if your mother was a pensioner, that you and your cousins are in your 40s or so. Is your aunt still alive? Do you know any details, like a date, sex, name of the institution?

I found out I had a half-sister in my 20s - my mother was pregnant as a teenager before abortion was legal. The thing which screwed me up was the trust - most of my mother's generation knew. What else had they hidden from me? Could any of them be trusted?

I told my full-sister. She had always suspected there was something and had chosen not to know, so she was really angry I'd told her - but if she later found out I knew and hadn't told her, I suspect she'd have been angry about that, too. In contrast, I'd never had the tiniest inkling, so it was a complete shock to me.

There were things I wanted to know for myself, having been told the basics, but I asked my half-sister without my full-sister's involvement. I never dared speak to our mother about it. (We did not have a great relationship.)

So... I guess you will have thought about how they will react if you tell them, and if it's positive, that's great. What will you do if it's not? What if it makes one of them angry and they direct it at you? I think I would see what I could find out before speaking to them. What if you could trace the person, and they don't want to know?

I think they probably ought to know, but once you've told them, there's no going back, whereas if you decide not to, there's the option of changing your mind in future. But whatever you do, tread carefully - it might not be welcome news. I don't think it's possible for them to know without your involvement, though. There's great potential for hurt feelings all round. I don't know what I'd do.

MissVictoria Mon 21-Nov-16 01:35:09

Honestly, leave it alone.You have no idea if the pregnancy ended in miscarriage, still birth, or a live baby.
Bringing it up will stir up a lot of painful feelings, for everyone.
I'm reading your post as though your aunt is dead? If so it's going to throw up all sorts of questions for her children that she cannot answer. If she is alive, it might be a memory so painful she's repressed it.
They would ultimately then have to decide do they go on as they are, or do they try to find their potential older sibling.
There's every chance if the baby did survive, he or she has no idea they were adopted.
If they manage to find said older sibling, and they didn't know they were adopted, you'd devastate their entire life.
As hard as it is on you to know, please, don't make anyone else agonise ovre what to do or not do with the information too.

AcrossthePond55 Mon 21-Nov-16 03:20:42

My sister and I found out through our mother that our uncle (Mum's brother) had a child as the result of an affair. Mum found out through a friend who knew the mistress. My uncle never knew that Mum knew.

Uncle is dead, Mum has advanced dementia. At this point DSis and I are, as far as we know, the only people who know. We've decided not to tell our three cousins that they have a 1/2 sibling out there somewhere. If their father didn't tell them, and if our aunt doesn't know or didn't tell, it's not our place to do so.

Jinglebellsandv0dka Mon 21-Nov-16 03:23:08

I'd tell:

There could be done one waiting for heir family to get in touch

WamBamThankYouMaam Mon 21-Nov-16 04:31:29

I wouldn't.

You can't provide them with any information or answers, so it's a bit gossipy for me.

goddessofsmallthings Mon 21-Nov-16 05:02:20

I would assume that by 'institution' your dm meant that her elder sister was made to go into a mother and baby home to await the birth, after which the child would be taken away from her and placed with adoptive parents.

Before you say anything to anyone I would suggest you conduct a search of the birth registers to ascertain whether there's an entry for a child with your aunt's surname and no father's name shown.

If you're not sure of the year of birth you may have to search several years and if it's a common surname you may have to apply for a number of birth certificates to establish whether your aunt is the mother.

As Jinglebells has said, there could be an adopted person longing for their birth family to make contact.

Please feel free to pm me if you need help with searching the registers.

JAPAB Mon 21-Nov-16 11:52:36

If I knew something like this I'd be inclined to tell the potential brothers/sisters what I know then leave the ball in their court whether to investigate or not. That should be their decision to make not mine.

FRETGNIKCUF Mon 21-Nov-16 11:58:28

I wouldn't leave it.

When I was seven I met a girl at a girls club who really reminded me of my family. She looked like me, sort of, but had darker hair. She had the same voice as one of my cousins.

fast forward a few years and I hear whisperings of an uncle having a baby with a married woman, the child never knew.

Before she could find out who her father was, and who she looked exactly like, he died in a motorbike accident.

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