Open Letter to a Scared Young Woman

Dear Young Woman in front of me at the line at Target,

I wish to first say to you, you are very strong and brave.  I noticed you right away, who would not?  You look like a petite Taylor Swift.  Long blonde hair, slim figure, still a teenager,

When you are ready - my daughters.

a cute white-and-pink  striped sundress, and tears pouring down your bright blue eyes.  My mindless first thought is that you must have used waterproof mascara.  You were well made up, despite your obvious distress.  I admired how despite what emotional upheaval you were having, you had taken the time to don the armor of your make-up and clothing.

I don’t know exactly why you were so upset.  At first, I didn’t think you even had any items to purchase.  You were behind a young mom with a loud toddler in the shopping cart.  The young mom was having trouble finding her credit card, until the cashier pointed out the toddler was chewing on her wallet.  The young mom sighed, yet also smiled.  I smiled also.  As a mother myself, the thought of “been there” flashed through my mind.  I thought you were an older sister.  Perhaps you had a fight with your mom.  I know what it’s like to be the much older sister.  It’s not always fun.

However, when the young mom finally checked out, you didn’t leave with her.  Instead you carefully pulled out from under your arm, where you had been hiding it, a pregnancy test.  At this point your distress was more noticeable.  Your hand was shaking as you placed the test down.  The cashier was careful to simply check you out without making eye contact.  The price rang up at 99 cents.  I noticed  you had bought a generic brand.  Your still trembling hands gave the cashier a dollar, and you grabbed the test and walked out without waiting for your penny change.  (This being New Hampshire, we have no sales tax).  The cashier didn’t call you back.  I think the cashier knew you needed to leave, and didn’t want to talk to anyone.

This test could have been for a sister or close friend.  But the tears, those made me suspect this test was for you. I wish I had been able to give you a hug.  I wish I had been able to tell you “It’s going to be alright, if not now, then one day.”  Most of all though I wanted to respect  your bravery and strength in buying this test.  I could tell that right now, this was something you needed to deal with alone.  There was no boyfriend, there was no girlfriend buying the test for you, there was no mom or dad.  I think you felt you had to carry this burden by yourself, until you knew.

My thoughts stayed with you for hours.  I wondered how your test turned out.  I hoped  you had a boyfriend and family you could confide in to share your burden, if you were pregnant.  I also know that if you are pregnant there are hard decisions  you have to make.  Do you have an abortion?  You are so slim, if you are pregnant it is very early.  This is a decision only you can make, and it should be only for you to make.  If you wish to ask for advice, that is fine.  But my hope is that in the end, it will always be your free decision to make.  You can consider adoption.  I am the mother of two young women.  I always felt if either of them had an unwanted pregnancy they would go for the gift of adoption.  This is perhaps because I have many friends that were adopted, and they have always talked about how grateful they were to their birth mothers for giving a better chance in life.  They were all college educated, and when one of them contacted her birth mother, it was very touching.  The mother thanked my friend for being understanding, in placing her up  for adoption.  The adoption allowed the mother to finish college and become a physician, which had always been her dream.  Now of course, you can choose an open adoption where your child will always have contact with you.  But the point here is that adoption is another decision that you, and only you, can make.  Pressure from potential grandparents have kept many young women from choosing adoption.  Babies are all very cute and cuddly.  However, they grow and are a huge investment of time and money.  When a person is ready for a child, a child is the most wonderful treasure on Earth.  But it is also a treasure that wakes every two hours demanding to be fed, outgrows clothing and shoes constantly, wants to join soccer, go to camp, have the latest video games, and go to college.  Parents who are ready for this still, consider the child a treasure.  Parents that are not can find parenting an emotional ordeal despite their great love for their child.  It takes a level of maturity and willingness to sacrifice to raise a child.  Single moms and young parents can do it, often with the help of their families.  But it is very tough.

If you are pregnant and do not choose adoption or abortion,  I do feel sad.  Someone so young should be educating herself and enjoying all that life offers a young beautiful woman.  If you choose to keep the baby, your life will change.  However, if you are tough enough to walk into a Target to buy a pregnancy test and hold your head up bravely while tears pour down your face, you might just be tough enough to be a mom.

I just thought about all the decisions you would have to make.  My hope is your family, the father of the child, and your friends, will make sure that any choices you make are yours.  As a mother, my own thoughts on this were, “I will give advice, but I will go out of my way to make sure the final choice is that of my child.  My wishes are not as important as her making a clear decision she can live with.”

I am very afraid of the United States which we are living in right now.  The ability for you to make your own choices is under attack.  I could tell by your tears that this was a very difficult time for you.  The last thing you need is politicians and the government making this even more difficult.  I only wish in my heart the best for you.  I only saw you for a few minutes at Target, but I wish for you and all other women like you, the simple comfort of being able to make your own decisions.  It’s not much, but to have that taken away would make your situation, if you are pregnant, far far worse.

Categories: Feminism, Women

Tags: ,

8 replies

  1. Such a great article. It took me way back to a time that I too was that young, alone, and needing to find out if I was pregnant. So many tears. I still remember feeling that if I had the child, it would be like a child raising a baby. You were right about her being strong, though I feel certain she doesn’t see it now. All of these years later I can still close my eyes and feel that level of loneliness and fear. And you are also correct about telling her it is going to be alright, as much as it doesn’t seem that way now, and regardless of her decision, yes, it will change her life. One way or another. I made the most difficult decision to have the child and raise him alone. I would love to be able to tell her that it was far easier then I ever imagined, but it would be a lie. However, I would do it again a million times over. My son is now an adult himself, with children of his own. Yes, he has a great career, and he is kind, strong and handsome. But most important, he is a good person, and I’m more proud of him then I can say. If that is not her decision, if keeping and raising the baby is not what she wants, I would want to tell her that whatever she decides is OK, and no one should ever force her to decide differently.

    • thank you so much for sharing! What a wonderful story also, you raised a strong man, and did it as a single mom. It’s not easy, but you are proof it can be done! I hope you are as proud of yourself as you seem to be of your son!

  2. Just found this eloquent, heart-wrenching post via The Bloggess on FB and have printed it to add to a collection of wisdom I am compiling for my daughter’s upcoming college graduation. Thank you for such a beautifully written post. I work with college students and will also keep a copy handy in my office. Every year I have a few in this situation, and your advice is the most compassionate, relevant I have ever seen on this topic. Thank you for sharing this!

  3. This post is simultaneously so touching and heart-wrenching it brought tears to my eyes. I’ve seen young women like that in the check-out lanes at the drug store before and I’ve wished there was a way to offer them support without freaking them out more.

  4. this is emotional and touching.. felt like i was there seeing it all..suddenly i cant help but wonder if the young women is fine ….

  5. When the mother desires to have an adoption, and the father will not agree, does that mean that the infant can not be set up for adoption?

  6. If the mother desires to have an adoption, and the father will not agree, does that mean that the baby can not be set up for adoption?

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