Dear Abby

DEAR ABBY: I just had to respond to "Daddy Who Cares" (June 2), whose wife is threatening to tell their teenaged daughter, "Gina," she was not wanted. For me a person's most defining trait is not gender, age or race. It's whether or not he or she was wanted. The other traits are things that nature or society put on you. Once you know you were not wanted by the people who put you here, it can easily define you, and it brings pain that will never go away.

It doesn't matter how much you achieve or how much your parents say they love you. A piece of your life just doesn't fit. Those of us who carry this knowledge understand the sadness very well. It is something that can't be taken back.

So please inform "Daddy Who Cares'" wife that what she felt so many years ago is nothing compared to the sadness that "Gina" will bear and examine throughout her life. There is no unhappiness more lasting than knowing you were not welcomed into this world.

— WOUNDED HEART IN NEW YORK

DEAR WOUNDED: Thank you for your heartfelt letter. Readers were extremely vocal on this subject and agree that telling "Gina" would be devastating and only cause her undeserved and unnecessary pain. Read on:

DEAR ABBY: Kudos on your advice to "Daddy Who Cares." When I was a teenager I overheard my mother tell a friend of hers that I was an unplanned pregnancy. To the best of my knowledge, my parents never considered abortion, but nonetheless, it destroyed my self-esteem.

In the case of "Daddy," where abortion was considered and planned, I suspect the emotional damage would be far worse. It's a good thing "Daddy" has custody because the mother seems willing to disregard her child's welfare in order to get vengeance on her husband. You're right, Abby — absolutely no good can come from the disclosure of that information.

— ONE WHO KNOWS IN CHICAGO

DEAR ABBY: I was a child who was both unplanned and unwanted. When I was 13, my mother, in a fit of anger, told me she wished she had the abortion she planned to have before I was born. It was then that I realized that the "gut" feeling I'd had all my life to that point and beyond was correct — my mother never wanted me. Neither of my parents ever told me the whole truth nor did they ever say how glad they were not to have gone through with the plan.

I have always had difficulty trusting my parents, and I have always known I wasn't wanted. Years of therapy have healed the deep wounds. "Daddy" should tell his daughter the story and also tell her how much he loves her and wants her in his life, and that he is glad they never went through with the original plan. If he does, she will be able to trust him and know she was not a "mistake."

— DEEPLY WOUNDED IN NEW HAMPSHIRE

DEAR ABBY: Ever since I can remember, my mother has told me her "funny story" about how she was "horrified" when she learned she was pregnant with me and asked the doctor for an abortion. And as a result, I have struggled with low self-esteem and feelings of worthlessness my entire life.

As an adult and mother, I can pinpoint this "amusing anecdote" as the root cause of many of these issues. I pray that the young girl in that letter never finds out that her parents considered abortion. No matter how many times her dad say he "thanks God everyday that she is here," the damage to her psyche will be forever.

— WISH I NEVER KNEW

Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Write Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.