My youngest kid is cute. He gets a lot of "you're adorable comments" from strangers. Yesterday at the grocery store, a cashier next to me started cooing over him. I smiled at her. I told her his age. Then I turned back to my work of punching in my security code for my debit card.
My back was turned to the woman when she said "I'll never have another baby! I got my tubes tied after my second one."
I felt shock.
I looked up at the other cashier who was handling my check-out. She nodded as calmly to her co-workers "I sterilized myself" comment as if we were jointly discussing the low price of Florida oranges this winter. I imagined her saying "Yep. Tying your tubes. That's what you do after your second child!"
I turned to look at the woman. She was making eye contact with my 14 week old with a look of total adoration. She reached over and gently tickled his flannel shirt. I've seen hundreds of people interact with my new babies over the years. This cashier's interaction with my son seemed usually calm and loving.
I looked at the cashier's face. She was so young. She looked about age 25.
I felt too shaken to talk. I paid for my groceries and left.
I was at Aldi's, the cheap grocery store. I had borrowed the quarter for cart from grocery store and struggled a little with the process of returning the coin after check-out. I was awkwardly holding a car seat with one hand and a two year old's hand in the other. I verbally tried to convince a 4 year old that we now need to go through the "Enter" door instead of the "Exit" door. The cashier who made the tube tied comment rushed out to rescue us. She held out her hand to take my returned quarter to spare me the work of coming further into the store.
"I was watching you," she said.
I felt my heart tear even more.
As a first time Mom of three kids, I used to do my March for Life inside of the streets of Washington D.C. As a second time Mom of three, I do my pro-life marching in ordinary trips to the grocery store.
St. Teresa of Avila, pray for us.