Dear Amy:

I recently found out that I am pregnant.

Despite the fact that this was unplanned, I'm confident that I will be a good mother. I am quite excited.

The father of my child may be one of two men.

"Kevin" is someone I had been with for several years. We broke up a few years ago but remained very close. Kevin and I recently decided to give our relationship another chance.

I dated "James" for a few months prior to my reconciliation with Kevin. We, too, remained friends after ending our relationship (before I learned about the pregnancy).

I have been honest with them about the possibility that the baby might be theirs. They are excited at the possibility of fatherhood. Both men, and their respective families, hope that the baby is theirs and want to be involved during my pregnancy.

What is the ethical way to handle these next months?

While it would be easiest to lead everyone outside of our immediate families to assume that the father is Kevin, I believe that this would be a slap in the face to James.

We have many acquaintances in common, and it seems wrong to have James be silent while our friends congratulate Kevin.

Is there a way to sidestep the paternity question when asked, without being disrespectful to either man? Should I have two separate baby showers (with each man's family)?

I'm aware that I bear the brunt of responsibility for creating this dilemma, but I want to do what's best for the baby and what is most fair for both potential dads.

Expectant MotherIt is commendable that everybody involved in this situation is getting along so well, but before Noel Coward shows up to mix the martinis for this amiable group, don't be surprised if different feelings surface during your pregnancy.

It would be natural for all concerned parties (including you) to cycle through a range of emotions.

You don't say whether you intend to stay with "Kevin" regardless of the paternity question, but considering the uncertainty in your situation, you should be low-key until you have established paternity.

Being restrained might cut into your prenatal fun and excitement, but as you've said, you got yourself into this jam.

You can either attend a baby shower not knowing the child's paternity (the shower is for the baby, not the parents), or ask to wait until after the baby is born to have a shower. Until then you should continue to be honest and forthright with all family members and cheerfully noncommittal to everyone else. Just pretend you're Jodie Foster.

If people outside the family assume that Kevin is the father, well, there's a chance that they'll be right and James (and you) will just have to tolerate the uncertainty.

If you and all of the families involved can continue to be kind and respectful before, during and after the birth, this child will definitely benefit.

Dear Amy:

My husband and I are expecting our first child in September. In the event it's a girl, my husband asked if we could use his late mother's name as the middle name.

I think this is a nice gesture, and I also find it to be a very nice name.

However, I am afraid that it will hurt my mother's feelings. My husband thinks it shouldn't, because his mother has passed away and my mother is living. What do you think?

ExpectantI'm with your husband.

Naming your child is your honor and duty as parents.

It is thoughtful to respect the sensitivities of others, but there will be many times during your child's life when you may choose to do things that other family members don't wholeheartedly endorse.

Even if your mother feels a little stung by this, she should understand the sentiments behind this gesture.

Presumably, once she is given the opportunity to enjoy her grandchild, all will be forgiven and forgotten.

Dear Amy:

I'm responding to your recent letter from "Concerned About Construction," about neighbors who enter their home uninvited to ask the designer/owners all sorts of detailed questions about their renovation.

My husband, a plumber, was playing golf on a Sunday with a doctor who kept asking about unclogging a drain.

Finally, my husband replied, "Throw a couple of aspirin down the drain and call me tomorrow!"

M. S. Wohlfarth, Williamsburg I'd love to hear the doctor's response to the plumber's inquiries about his intestinal distress.

Write to Amy Dickinson at or Ask Amy, Chicago Tribune, TT500, 435 N. Michigan Ave., Chicago, Ill. 60611.

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