To the woman who asked me why without compassion in your eyes,
I’ll bet you don’t remember me. Oh, but I remember you.
The disgusted look on your face still stings when I picture it today. You were right about one thing, I was just a kid. I walked into that clinic, barely 20 years old, thinking I did it right this time. I checked all of the boxes, at least that’s what I thought. Married: yes I took care of that this time. Living on my own: oh yeah, finally! Paying for my own health insurance: absolutely. That’s the big one, right? Somehow I still came up short in your cold and bitter eyes.
I was naive, ignorant, and unworldly. I was not at all aware of the boxes I had missed. Those boxes, you know, the ones that were exceedingly clear for you to see. The ones marked financially stable, mature, independent, educated, over 25, and the list goes on. Those boxes were totally outside of my field of vision. Don’t worry though, you placed them front and center with one simple word. “Why?” That’s what you said when I told you I had planned this pregnancy. In my lifetime, not many words have cut me so deeply.
Nearly ten years have passed. Yes, they have been paved with most of the hardships you imagined they would be. You see, I don’t totally disagree with the presumptions you made that day. Was I too young? Absolutely. Were we ready for two children at 20 years old? No. Do I want my children to make the same choices I made? Without a doubt, my answer would be no. The road was hard, and most importantly less than what my children deserved. You were right in a lot of ways, but I certainly didn’t suddenly grasp that through your accusatory and stinging question.
Ironically, I find myself in a career where I see young and unprepared expecting mothers daily. They walk in with their with their still childlike faces full of joy and fear and I see myself. I am sure my days look a lot like yours did all of those years ago when I walked in your office. I often find myself slipping into the same trap of bitterness you found yourself in that day. It’s usually in those moments I remember the day I met you and how I cried the whole way home. I remember just how painful the judgment you threw on me was, and if I’m honest, how it still hurts today.
Although you probably don’t remember me, I remember you. You remind me daily that grace is the lifeline all hearts need, especially those who are starting a strenuous journey. You remind me that how I respond on the bad days could leave a lifelong impression on someone’s heart. You remind me that to love is the highest calling of all. I have no doubt that you were a stepping stone that prepared me for this very season. A season where I have the opportunity to love those who don’t see all of the boxes they missed. A season where I can shine hope on the treacherous roads that I once traveled. A season where I can celebrate life with those that the world asks why. A season where I am learning that this is ultimately what we are all called to do in every situation, in every day, in every moment.
Originally published on the author’s blog