The dollar store clerk noticed her right away. Luisa, standing just inside the door, appeared oblivious to her drenched clothing, the water puddling around her shoes, and the tears streaming down her face.
“Can I help you?”
“Oh… I think I need a pregnancy test…” Luisa replied. “I don’t feel good…just like the other times – I already have two kids.”
“You can get a free pregnancy test over there…” the clerk gestured toward the parking lot next door, “..in that big turquoise bus. But first, here are some paper towels so you can dry off.”
The clerk continued, “The people from the bus came by to meet us. They said to tell anybody we know who needs a pregnancy test, to drop in. They’re giving tours today and handing out donuts.”
A few minutes later, the Mobile Pregnancy Center greeters ushered Luisa onboard. She provided a urine sample for her test, and we invited her to sit and visit.
Luisa’s pregnancy test was negative. As the nurse reviewed possible causes for the negative test, Luisa began to nod her head. “Yes. Yes, I have stress. I even walked out of my new job today without telling my boss why…Two people in my family died this month. First, my aunt who raised me, then my boyfriend’s brother… I just can’t wrap my head around it. I feel sick and I can’t eat.”
Four of us sat with Luisa in the Mobile Center’s cozy “front room” as she shared. To protect her children and her grieving boyfriend, Luisa had kept her grief in check. Now, she seemed to feel safe to let it out.
After a while, Luisa smiled and sighed. We asked her if we could pray for her. We prayed for the talk she would have with her boss, her decision to return to the church she had once attended, and for the words she needed to tell her children why Mommy and Daddy are sad.
Finally, Luisa stood, smiling, gave each of us a big hug, and promised to come by another Monday to let us know how she was doing.