When I walked into the waiting room of the OB/GYN yesterday, I saw a young lady whom I recognized immediately. I'll call her Maria. She was one of the teens that my husband had led on several wilderness trips over the last few years. She had a huge crush on Hubs. I had met her several times and spent one afternoon hiking with her. She had a great spirit and designs of studying music in college. She spent her last year of high school in Puerto Rico where her mother thought she'd be away from distractions. She had just graduated in May.
I had known her older sister was expecting, and I said how excited she must be to be an auntie. She nodded her head and smiled.
Her sister came out into the waiting room and I asked her how far along she was.
"Six months," she said.
Then, Maria piped up, "I'm almost six months, too," she said. She was barely showing.
My heart sank. I tried to be smooth and not ask too many judgmental questions. I tried to take on the pregnant sister-in-solidarity persona. But all I could do was punctuate every, "Wow! Yeah! Congratulations!" with a distracted glance around the room at all of the baby magazines and posters.
All day long, I felt cranky and upset. Why does a good kid on a college track have to get sidetracked? Why is it so inevitable? Why was Maria sitting in a waiting room to see an OB/GYN nurse rather than waiting outside the office of her college advisor yesterday morning?
But then I thought about how typical, how cynical and how wholly unproductive was my attitude. I thought about what a great mother Maria would be, how she'd be passing on her wilderness experiences and love of music to her child (she was having a daughter). I don't know what an eighteen year-old expectant mother needs. I only know what this twenty-seven year-old expectant mother needs. And that's a lot of encouragement, and a little less judgment would be nice, too, thanks.