To the presumptuous woman at Target,
I’m not even sure how to begin. I suppose I want to make it clear that although I’m not bitter about our “unexchanged exchange” it did crawl under my skin just enough for me to want to pen this note in hopes of giving you and others like you something to think about.
You see, when we were waiting in line, I saw you not so subtly glance from my pregnant belly to my naked ring finger and not so quietly comment to your husband about “another unmarried pregnant girl” as you shook your head in disapproval.
I looked the other way and pretended not to hear, but the more I thought about that moment, the more it bothered me.
You see, in that instance I felt that my worth as a mother was directly tied to my marital status. Almost as if an unmarried woman should be any less worthy to carry the blessed weight of a life growing within.
I get it.
I understand that many people (including me, coincidentally) have traditional values. I understand that in your generation especially, an unmarried pregnant woman was viewed as taboo, irresponsible—possibly even morally questionable.
But answer me this: what positive thing can come from making assumptions based on stories we don’t even know? What positive thing can come from hastily judging others in any right, at all?
Woman at Target, would you believe me if I told you that I’m happily married, but that at not-quite-halfway through my pregnancy, my rings are already struggling to make their way over my swollen knuckles?
Furthermore. . . does it really matter whether I simply wasn’t wearing my rings, or whether I truly didn’t have any to wear?
I am a young, married, stay-at-home mom who, by your standards, has done things “right”. But what is “right” anyway?
Does any part of my description make me a better parent than say, the single mother who is currently juggling two jobs to make ends meet for her children?
Does it make me a better parent than the woman who got pregnant by a one-night-stand, and who has lived every second with her baby’s best interest at heart ever since?
We all walk different roads; sometimes by choice, and sometimes due to circumstances out of our control.
Different lives are built of different storylines, but I’m inclined to believe that as far as mother and child are concerned, the only plot elements that truly matter are a mother’s love and selfless devotion.
Tradition has a place, as do your beliefs, but might I humbly request that the next time you see a ringless pregnant lady in public, you bite your tongue and divert your disapproving gaze?
Better yet, give her a smile and compassionate nod because regardless of a mother’s story, a child is always a blessing.
The young pregnant woman with the fat fingers