I’ll never claim to be the one who offers the best advice, but I’m glad to make myself available when dear ones callto talk. I hardly question why they chose to call, but if I had to guess I’d say because I listen. Or maybe it’s because I would share a perspective that was thought provoking. If nothing else, I believe there was a trust that they could count on of honesty beyond surface talk about what I reallythought even if it hurt. I could listen, share and respect whatever they decided. Once upon I time, I thought I knew exactly what to say and when to say it. Thank goodness that with age comes wisdom. If by sharing this difficult conversation I can prevent just one being from inserting foot in mouth or hurting another mother then the moment it takes to write this will not ever be in vain. It’s a conversation that was had between a loved one and myselfmany moons ago.
My phone rang one evening just as I was putting away folded laundry. Although I considered myself extremely close to the person on the other end, we rarely had conversations via telephone. “How are you sweetie?” I asked. “I’m doing good. How are you?” she responded. “Nothing much lately, just busy with work and these girls;you know the usual. What’s going on with you?” I said. I had a feeling she wasn’t calling just for the usual update. “Well….” Long pause. She hesitated to say, but finally mustered up the strength. “I’m pregnant.” The words echoed in my mind and I sat there searching for what to say next. Uncomfortable, dead silence was my initial response. Finally it was broken with the usual stall for more timewith another question. “Really?” I asked. She wasn’t the type to play practical jokes and even though I asked I already knew. “Yes. I am.”, she said. I had so many emotions flooding my head and unfortunately none of what would have comforted her in that moment came forward. All the reasons why I thought she shouldn’t be in this “situation” came pouring from my mouth. “By who? Why? You know I work at the clinic! I could have helped you get on birth control. Why didn’t you come to me before getting involved with him like that?” I asked. She could barely answer without another question being asked, as if being interrogated by the pregnancy police.
“What do you plan to do?” more questions. She had probably not been asked this question by anyone else. Perhaps everyone else she had called was thrilled and showered her with congratulations as she expected me to do as well. I was one of the first she had called and I needed her to know that I could be bias enough to share other options with her. Have you considered an abortion? There, I said it. “No, I’m going to keep it.” she said. Oh my goodness! I thought. Are you kidding me? This girl can barely remember to put the milk back in the fridge and now she’s going to be responsible for a real life human being?! “Parenting is hard work and being a single mother is even harder. Are you sure you’re ready for this?” I warned. “I know.” she said with all the courage her heart could convey. Hearing the sweet break in her voice and knowing that perhaps she had given this some deep thought before sharing, I decided to let it go for now. “I love you and I’m here if you need anything.” I said.
We hung up the phone and I just sat there. My heart was heavy as I thought about all the changes this precious one would now face as she embarked on this new journey. Part of me grieved the innocence of the sweet little girl that I wasn’t ready to see grow up and be called someone’s mother. Then I begin to think about all the women in our family who thrived as mothers’ and how as a village we had always supported and loved each other through moments such as this. She didn’t call me for the tongue lashing that I had given her or to question her abilities to fulfill this newest endeavor. I was to be part of the welcoming committee into this sacred circle called Motherhood. I now knew that she needed me to listen. To ask her how I could help or perhaps ask if she needed anything. To reassure her that as I had always been and even more so now; here for her. She needed me to add the endearing sentiment of I love you. I wished like possibly the others, I shared an enthusiastic- “Congratulations!”
Many years have past since that conversation and today I am grateful every time I see her holding, kissing, making silly faces and talking to her little one. I’m grateful that she didn’t’ for a moments notice listen to possibly the worst advice I had ever given. She probably still leaves the milk on the kitchen counter and looses her keys weekly, but she is one of the absolute best mother’s that I’ve had the pleasure of watching grow!
Regardless of age or social status if someone you know shares with you the news of being pregnant; love them, encourage them and most of all support them. Your words will remain with them long after appointments have been set or diapers have been purchased, so choose them wisely. There is an abundance of information and resources available to assist you or the pregnant mother. Should they need doula support in the Dallas Fort Worth and surrounding area, we would be so grateful if you felt inspired to share our contact information.
Peace and Love.
Love Talita Akana is a wife, mother, sister, and a friend. Over the years, she has shared guidance from the lessons she has learned. Grateful to be a vessel to assist others as a source of inspiration to touch another with what they learned to grow on their journey. This is Love.