It’s a gloomy, rainy day when I see the young girl sitting at the bus terminal in a yellow rain slicker. She sits alone, soaking wet. My seventeen year old daughter elbows me leaning her head in the direction of the young girl who is obviously very pregnant and whispers, “Mom, how pregnant do you think she is? ” which she immediately follows with, “Man, she’s young! ” I take a closer look at the girl who is nothing more than a child thinking she can’t be more than fifteen and am instantly transported back to my senior year in high school.
I shiver thinking of my childhood friend Amity and all she went through to have her baby at seventeen. All the teasing and ridicule she had to endure. I look again at the young girl waiting at the bus terminal in the yellow rain slicker and wonder; do we have a moral obligation to help our countries babies having babies? Should we as a society continue to watch them suffer or should we reach out a helping hand? Can one person helping one child really make a difference? I remember growing up it was not cool to get pregnant before you graduated high school.
We did not have MTV’s Teen Mom’s or the hit movie Juno as role models. When I was young I remember watching after school specials about how getting pregnant would make you an outcast and how hard your life would be if you had to raise a baby all on your own at a young age. Now we watch Lifetime movies about cheerleaders’ that make a pact to all get pregnant like it is cool. In the ‘50s, these poor girls were sent away to boarding schools or nunneries to have their babies in secret then they were forced to give them up.
In the ‘70s, many pregnant mothers just ran away from home beginning the trend of teenagers out there all alone fending for themselves with a baby on the way. In the ‘90’s, my friend Amity lived through hell at school with all of the taunts and name calling she suffered causing her to eventually she drop out and finish school at home. When I was a kid the idea of getting pregnant was scary. How would you tell your parents? How would you tell your friends? How would the father react?
I remember being sixteen years old and my own father telling me that if I got pregnant while I was living under his roof I would have the baby and give it up for adoption or I would have it and get out. There were no other options when I was young. My mom and dad were not waiting in the wings to help me should I become pregnant. I look at the girl in the yellow rain slicker once more and wonder does she have support? Is there anyone to help her? Is there anything that we can do for this child? As my daughter and I stand there watching we see two buses stop and pass her by. I wonder why she is not getting on the bus.
Why is she just sitting there in the rain? What is her story and why is she all alone? The next thing I know, my daughter with the great big heart is gone from my side running across the street to the young girl’s side before I can even react. This is when my daughter noticed she was crying. I watched my daughter and smiled rushing forward to catch up and join her. As I reached them I was beaming with pride as I watched my daughter put her arms around the girl and rocked her telling her it will be ok.
She ran her fingers through the girls hair asking her, “What can we do, how can we help? Just then the girl in the yellow rain slicker looked up with swollen red rimmed eyes and cried, “I’m all alone with no money, or food, or home, and I’m scared. I’m just so scared! ” My daughter looked at me helplessly with the unspoken question of how do we help in her eyes. I sat down and took the girls hand in mine asking her gently, “What is your name honey? ” It turns out her name was Marissa. Well I thought the first thing we can do is feed this poor child and get her out of the rain. Looking around I spotted a Chinese restaurant.
“Do you like Chinese food Marissa,” I asked. Oh, yes,” She replied. So I took my daughters hand and a very pregnant Marissa’s and walked across the street to the Chinese restaurant requesting a table for three. As we ate Marissa told us her story. She was 16 years old and 8 months pregnant. When her single dad had discovered her pregnancy he had kicked her out of his house to fend for herself. Marissa had been on the streets ever since. This was not a planned pregnancy it was just a stupid mistake from a one night stand and the father refused to help her. As Marissa’s story spilled out I started to plan.
I may not be able to help all of the girls that needed it but I could help this one girl. I excused myself and made a phone call to a friend I knew that worked for a woman’s shelter and explained the situation asking if they could help. I smiled excitedly when she gave me an address and a time to meet her later that day and went back to the table to tell the girls. Marissa was anxious and apprehensive but open to meeting my friend so we decided to go through with the meeting. I went into our meeting still wondering if there was anything I could do to help our babies having babies and praying the answer would be yes.
Our meeting went wonderful and Marissa was accepted into the woman’s shelter. They helped her to become an emancipated minor and keep her baby. She got her G. E. D. and a job and learned to take care of her darling little girl Katie. Marissa has stayed in our lives and we still visit frequently. She is a part of our family now. Marissa says we gave her a gift that day but the gift was ours. That day my daughter met a new best friend and became the godmother to a beautiful baby girl and I got to help one of our precious babies having her own baby.