Dear Patricia Marie,

My son left his ex-wife and two children and is now living with someone else. They have a new baby. My son has told me in no uncertain terms not to tell his ex-wife that he has another child, but I have been invited to the Christening of his daughter by his ex-wife and I feel that she should know - and that the children will be related.

She too has a new partner, and I feel sure she would be accepting of this news. Thankfully we have a good relationship, which I work hard to maintain as I would not want anything to jeopardise me seeing my grandchildren, but if I kept this secret from her, and she found out, she would be very upset.

My son said it is up to him to tell her. I can't envisage enjoying the Christening as I am the mother of the man who left them, so would it be right for me to accept the invitation?

Patricia Marie says...

It is your son's responsibility to tell his ex-wife that he has another child. It will come out at some stage and the more he delays it, the more difficult it will be. The children should know about the new baby - and perhaps hopefully get to enjoy a relationship with their new sibling. If this baby is kept a secret and they find out one day, that could be quite traumatic; they could be upset or angry with their father, and if it were to remain undisclosed for too long, they may never forgive him.

When he tells his children, to avoid them feeling rejected in any way, he must reassure them how much he loves them and that he will see them just as often. Whilst this is not an easy situation, it can be made tolerable if dealt with in a civilised manner.

Explain to your son that if you have to keep it a secret, it could damage your relationship with his ex-wife and your grandchildren when she finds out. If he absolutely refuses and his ex-wife does discover the truth, insist you were put in an awkward situation and that you had asked your son to tell her himself or to let you do it instead.
You are very worthy of the invitation, so go along, hold your head high, and enjoy your granddaughter's very special Christening Day.