It all felt like a drug deal gone bad.
There I was, in the dark of night, driving to a gas station to meet someone I barely knew. An exchange was to occur.
Only, this time, I was the supplier.
Motherhood will make you do crazy things.
Just two days prior, my night had begun innocently enough. My mission? To pick up a few essentials from Walmart and return home by 10 p.m.
But my watch read 9:56. I wouldn’t make it. Just then, a young woman’s voice interrupted my mental fog in the middle of the ladies section.
“Excuse me. I know you’re not in this phase of life yet, but which one would you pick?” And, with that, a pregnant stranger no older than 20 years old placed two maternity support belts into my hands.
Is this real life?
For a moment, I was transported back in time. I remember wrestling with such decisions when I was pregnant with my son. We lived in California then, which was a cross-country plane ride from every member of my family. I knew I couldn’t abandon her need. I had once walked in those shoes.
“This is the one I would have gone with,” I explained after thanking her for the generous assumption she had made about my age.
But the conversation didn’t end there. With every word she spoke, I saw a vulnerability that needed comfort, encouragement for the months ahead. She is a restaurant hostess and currently living with her child’s father – about two hours from her closest family. Her outfit, she confessed, was her boyfriend’s, as she no longer possessed clothing that could accommodate her growing body.
Earlier this month, I discovered several bottle-related items that I will never use as a mother. We do not plan to have any more children, and I am already well into weaning my daughter. The $300 breast pump that I insisted on purchasing over three years ago? Never opened. And I have been haunted by this poor financial choice ever since.
I only knew this woman for 10 minutes, but Jesus started stirring in my heart.
“I have a brand new breast pump that I have been looking to give to a new mother. Could I share it with you?”
Her eyes filled with tears.
And so, two days later, I drove. When I spotted a little blue Honda, any second thoughts I harbored dissipated.
The exchange was nothing short of beautiful. I offered the young woman a few unused baby items as well as the pump, and she excitedly placed them in her car. Perhaps my greatest gift of all, however, was time.
For nearly 15 minutes – amid noxious honking and fumes – we chatted as any two mothers might. Fears. Hopes. Dreams. Pain. I think we covered it all.
Right before we parted, she shared with me that her boyfriend initially wasn’t sure if I could be trusted. It was the first time I had ever considered that someone may fear me because of my skin color.
But, in our parting, there was no bad blood – only peace, transferred through a fist bump (her choice).
And all the guilt I held onto for those three years with an unused, expensive device?
God, in only His power, used it for good.