A sixteen-year-old was sitting in front of me one day, after just giving birth to a child six weeks earlier, and at her postpartum appointment was pregnant again. Her boyfriend had come to the hospital and forced her to have sex with him, ripping out her stitches and impregnating her again.
She was taken to surgery to repair the damage and he was free to roam the streets. She showed no emotions and just acted like it was everyday life. A young girl now with a new baby and one on the way again. When I asked her what her plans were for the future she just shrugged and said: “I have no future now”. I asked her why not. She said “because my future was lost when my mother allowed my stepfather to molest me at 8 years old”, “my future was gone when she made me prostitute myself when I was 12 for her drug habit”, “my future was gone when she told me that I ruined her life the day I was born”.
I had to get it together for this girl even though my heart wanted to cry. I told her to sit still I would be back in a few minutes. I went to the bathroom and couldn’t help myself but cry and then I got it together with thoughts of what was next.
I looked in her face and saw her emotions were gone but I could not let her leave that day without some words of hope. I told her that I would help her get her life together if she wanted me too. She didn’t answer. I told her that her life was not over and that she could make it and start over. I told her that she was worth love and being loved all she had to do was change her way of thinking. Without a word, she got up and walked out and my heart sank.
Two days later I was sitting in my office when I heard a tiny knock at the door. When I opened it she was standing there. “Will you really help me?” she asked. I said yes and she fell into my arms and cried for an hour. I didn’t say anything I just let her cry.
When she was finished I said “fear not little one we will make it through.
I educated her, counseled her, gave her hope. The first year she came to see me twice a week. The second year once a week and now once a month.
Two years later she is a high school graduate, working full time, and enrolled in a community college. I asked her what made the difference. She said, “you took the time to listen, you cared about me, and you never let me down”. “That’s all I ever wanted or needed in my life,” she said.