What Grows Within Her

growsI sit in the counselor’s office and try to think of light conversation gambits to fill the silence before the other ladies arrive.

“Would you like some tea?” I ask.

“No, it’s sorta hot in here already.”

“You’re right,” I agree, “but there’s some lavender tea and I’ve never tried that before.”

Conversation sags like an old sofa. The water starts to boil and I busy myself preparing tea. Awkwardness creeps into the corner of the room and stares me down.

“Would you like some chocolate?” I ask as I nod to the tray of snacks across the room.

“Sure.” I jump up and unwrap the giant bar of dark chocolate. I wish I could unwrap my feelings as easily. We both know why we are here, but the conversation cannot grow unless she starts it. I don’t know her well, she has only been in my class for a few months. She studies hard, keeps to herself and rarely smiles.

Now I know why. Inside her grows new life and it terrifies her. I don’t know the details. I only know that we will gather this night to tell our birth stories to alleviate some of her fear of the unknown.

By the time the other ladies arrive, I am eager to share the burden of conversation. We talk, we laugh about the embarrassing things that happen (but we don’t care because we want to see the baby) in labor and delivery.

The other ladies, decades younger than me, decide that I gave birth in the dark ages (no pain meds but strong doses of Pitocin, and an episiotomy with no pain meds or numbing).

I turn to her and ask, “So, do you feel better now, or are you a little freaked out?”

“A little freaked out,” she says with a weak grimace.

The conversation flows down different channels—maybe she didn’t need birth stories, she needed stories of strength. The other ladies talk about birth plans and making decisions beforehand so that the medical personnel respect her.

“You don’t want them to give you the cafeteria experience,” I explain. “You need to look over the menu and order what you want.” Life may have happened to her, rocketing out of control from the time of her birth to the point where she sits in this office, a scared 15-year-old growing a new life within her. But she can choose to stop the cycle.

“You are never alone,” one lady tells her. “Never. God knows your story and loves your baby. He will take away your fear and give you the strength that you need.”

We end our session with prayer, and as we walk out together, she gives me a hug and says, “Thank you.”

I assure her that she can talk to me about anything at any time (all embarrassment has disappeared—that happens quickly when one shares the intimate details of labor and delivery). “I’ll pray for you every day,” I tell her.

And I will. I try not to let anger at the situation grow within me. After all, God controls her future and he has put me in her life for a reason.

I wonder if I can adopt her.

Anita currently teaches English to 7th-12th graders. She describes herself as a ‘recovering cancer caregiver’ who gives thanks daily that her husband has been cancer-free for ten years.

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  • It’s so hard when teens get pregnant. I may not understand their situation but I can indeed pray for them. I think it’s cool that you tried to ease her fears by sharing your own advice and birth stories. Great post friend. I’m over in the #4 spot this week.
    Tara recently posted…Baby Calves, Fresh Tomatoes and Growing UpMy Profile

  • Anita,

    My heart goes out to this teenage girl; I pray God continues to surround her with loving women like you and the other women in that room. And yes, sharing the details of labor and delivery does remove the shyness and embarrassment …blessings to you and your tender heart 🙂
    Dolly@Soulstops recently posted…To GrowMy Profile

  • I cant imagine being a teen and being pregnant. I know I was crazy and so self centered when I was that age. But I always know that the power of stories and someone older and wiser coming alongside is rewarding and beneficial. You are such a good story teller. visiting from #27
    Kristina recently posted…Five Minute Friday- Grow- Growing HurtsMy Profile

  • Hard things. God bless her and you. Will she place the baby for adoption, or?
    Susan Shipe recently posted…five minute friday: growMy Profile

  • i love this story anita:) reminds me of the joy of spiritual mothering. i met with a friend just today to encourage and help a young woman who is a new believer. it turned out she needed encouragement to make a rather large life change that is scary. we talked over coffee and ended our talk in prayer for her. it feels good to be involved with someone else and encourage them in Christ and in life skills.
    Martha Brady recently posted…WHERE DO YOU SEE SIGNS OF GREEN GROWTH IN YOU?My Profile

  • So very hard, Anita. Love how God is using the compassionate heart He gave you to bless others in need.

    The best friend of someone close to me had a baby when she was 16. God has been at her side through it all and she is now happily married with a wonderful high school boy (the baby she had at 16) and a baby on the way. God hears our prayers and leads us to come alongside those He yearns to hold through the hard.
    Anna Smit recently posted…To Grow in the LeaningMy Profile

  • Teen pregnancy is on my heart these days. A friend of both my girls had an abortion not too long ago. God used that as the springboard for a service project for a Crisis Pregnancy Center in our area–what an AMAZING place! Oh! the love those ladies have for the girls in crisis who come through their doors. I love your heart for this young girl!

  • I will put this young lady on my prayer list and in my journal. I think it is wonderful that you are taking place in this program.
    Mary Hill recently posted…Literacy Musing Mondays: Thoughts on GrowthMy Profile