Secrets in families are rarely a good idea, says Annalisa Barbieri
I have a son, aged 22: J. He was born with physical disabilities and special educational needs. He’s a happy, well-adjusted young man: he’ll never be able to live independently, but he is fairly self-sufficient. His mother and I are divorced, and he lives with me. He has older and younger siblings. The problem is that he is not biologically my son. I found this out some years after I split with my ex, and she has admitted it. J doesn’t know – very few people do. One of them is his natural father, who has shown no interest.
If my son were to find out the truth, he would be devastated. I’m not sure he would be able to process it in a safe way. The chances are this will never come out and I can happily take this secret to the grave. Unfortunately, I cannot guarantee that: life has a habit of hitting you with things you don’t expect. If the worst happens and this does come out, at least I am aware of it and can do the best I can for my son.