DEAR ABBY: Coming out of an abusive relationship in the past, I made some poor decisions. I moved away from home and into pornography and prostitution. I come from a small town, and it became a big deal when it hit the Internet. Everyone in my generation back home knew what I did.
Years later, I'm back home. I have a wonderful husband and we're expecting our first child - a girl. My husband loves and accepts me in spite of my past, and my mother has become my best friend. I love my life here. Nowhere else feels like home.
But I'm worried that my child's life could be miserable here because of my past. She will go to school with the children of people who know my history. No parent would want their child around me and - by extension - her. She may also learn the unsavory things I did.
I'm torn between moving away for her sake or staying. My parents are aging and have no one else to care for them. They can't follow me, but say I should do what is best for the baby. I hate the idea of deserting my parents when they need me. But I also hate that my child will be ostracized. Can you help?
- Lost in the South
DEAR LOST: For your child's sake, I think you should relocate. As I'm sure you have already realized, people can be cruel and they love to talk. When children overhear what is said over the back fence, they can be cruel, too, and I'd rather your daughter wasn't subjected to it. (This is not to imply that wherever you go, you might not encounter someone who recognizes you - but the chances are less.)
You don't have to move right away. Take your time and scout out locations. Arrangements can be made for care if your parents need it. But your daughter's welfare must come first.
Dear Abby is written by Abigail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Contact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los Angeles, CA 90069.