Several months ago, I had a chat interaction on TheHopeLine that I will never forget. A 13-year-old girl, or someone who claimed to be one, opened our chat with something like, “I’m 13 and pregnant with triplets, and I don’t know what to do.”
My initial reaction was that Debbie should be handling this chat, but she was already engaged on another. Then I thought, Is this possible…I mean, biologically possible? And, of course, the additional thought was, Is this girl—or guy—pranking me?
Three hours later, I knew it wasn’t a prank, even though it seemed about as far-fetched as a bicycle ride across America. The father of this girl’s triplets was her 14-year-old boyfriend. Her parents had kicked her out of the house when they learned about the pregnancy. She was living with her boyfriend’s parents, who had made it clear that they weren’t going to help support her or the babies once she gave birth.
The interaction spanned the gamut of prospective solutions and emotions. First, was to quell the panic that she was feeling. After all, this was an expectant mother, regardless of her age. And although I detected maturity beyond her years, this was also someone who had not lived much life yet. She was totally overwhelmed, but, as you might expect, wanted to keep her babies. That seems like a pretty natural reaction, but also one that doesn’t realize or acknowledge just how difficult the road ahead could be.
Simply allowing young people to vent their issues and emotions to a total stranger is one advantage TheHopeLine offers to chatters. A nonjudgmental approach is another. We’d rather help people resolve to move forward with proven coping strategies and with better decisions than to send them on a guilt trip about something they can’t undo. We’ll provide them with resources to help cope. In the end, we believe God’s love is sufficient to overcome any situation, and we’ll share about His infinite love for them if they want to hear about it.
Many times, we won’t know the outcome with a client. In the case described above, the client also confessed to having suicidal thoughts, which we also addressed. TheHopeLine is a virtual triage center for issues. We attempt to stabilize the client and refer him or her to a specialist. We’re responsible to them, but not for them…so there is no “enabling behavior” here. If they want help, they can get it. If they don’t want help, or aren’t ready for it, there are others standing in line to receive it.
If you’ve not already made your pledge to TheHopeLine, won’t you do it today? Your tax deductible contribution will make a difference in the lives of hurting teens and young adults. You can pledge your support by clicking this link. Or, you can click here to find out why Debbie and I think TheHopeLine is worthy of your support.