Last December, I had just finished up training as a mentor at The Pregnancy Center here in town and was scheduled to shadow other mentors before taking any clients of my own. Unfortunately (or fortunately, depending on how you look at it) we didn't have enough mentors volunteering on this particular day though, and we had a new client coming in who was pregnant and considering an abortion. (Our center doesn't perform or refer out abortions - our goal is to help with resources to encourage girls and women to parent or adopt and for those who have had abortions, we offer classes to help them heal emotionally.)
When she came in, she was wearing a pair of sweatpants and a sweatshirt that was probably three sizes too big for her, and her long, brown, naturally-curly hair was still wet.
She smiled really big at me, but I could tell how nervous she was.
Because we were short-staffed, I was asked to go back with her while the nurse performed her ultrasound.
Her nerves were still getting the better of her, so I asked if I could hold her hand.
She just smiled and extended her hand out towards mine.
I figured it would feel awkward - I mean really, I don't hold hands with many strangers - but it wasn't at all.
And then I got to spend some time talking to her one-on-one.
We mainly talked about how scared she was, how painful her childhood was, and how she didn't feel like she could provide a child with the financial stability he/she would need.
And so I talked to her about Ross. How I was 19 (Her same age.) when I had him. How I got on welfare to get through college when he was six-months old. How I had my electricity turned off more than once because I didn't have the money to pay the bill. How I always went grocery shopping really late at night in the hopes that no one would be standing behind me in line as I pulled foodstamps out of my purse, and how ill-equipped I felt as a mother at times.
I also went on to tell her that while there always seemed to be a shortage of money, there was never a shortage of love.
I also shared parts of this story with her too.
We hugged when she left, but she was still undecided about what she was going to do.
A few days later, I got a call from the director of the Pregnancy Center, saying that our client had called and that she had decided to keep her baby.
She also asked me if I'd like to take her as my first client.
And over the next couple of months, I met with her weekly at The Pregnancy Center and occassionally, outside of the center as well.
The last time I saw her, she was hungry, in tears and facing some really hard decisions. I took her to breakfast, gave her enough money to get a monthly bus pass and told her I'd see her when I got done at The Pregnancy Center later that afteroon so we could talk some more.
But she didn't show up and the mail I sent to her over the months that followed was all returned since she had moved.
I can't tell you how much I love this girl and how much I have prayed and cried for her..
And then last week, I saw a phone slip with her name on it in my inbox at The Pregnancy Center.
And one of the first things she said after picking up the phone was, "I'd like to get together so I can introduce you to my son."
And I am (literally) heading out the door right this minute (as soon as I hit the 'publish' button) to see her again and to meet her son for the very first time.
Feeling so giddy and so thankful in this moment.