Two of my closest friends recently had their first babies, and I’ll admit, I was nervous about how it was all going to go down. I didn’t know what negative feelings might surface as I was reminded – yet again – that their story would never be my story.
One of these women is my best friend of 28 years. We met on the playground in kindergarten and have been “bosom buddies,” as Anne Shirley would say, ever since. Most of my best childhood memories involved this woman. Pioneer Girls. Halloween haunts. Bike rides. Band performances. Beach bonfires. And of course, there were the days when we were really young and played house. I was either the teacher or the mom; she was the pregnant teenager (I guess we knew that was a thing even when we were 7 years old); and her sister was either the baby or the dog. (Yes, we were mean like that.) But somehow, I knew, long before boyfriends, falling in love, or marriage, that my best friend would grow up into an adult, get pregnant, and become a mom. It just. . .fit. And now, even though her son is less than a month old, I can tell after several phone chats, text exchanges, and Facetime sessions, that she’s an amazing mom. I can’t wait to meet her little nugget in January!
The other woman is my associate at work. She is currently on maternity leave, but I stay in touch with her because we work at a church and have relationship outside of supervisor / employee. I was just at her house today holding her precious little one. It’s amazing what those tiny humans can do to us. As soon as I held her in my arms and looked into those sleepy eyes, everything about the world felt a little less scary. Every stress from earlier in the day seemed a little less important. Every worry over the future could be cast into the “that’s okay, I’m holding a baby” pile. (I immediately recognized this feeling was because the baby was not screaming her head off in an inconsolable state. But apparently, she doesn’t do that much, so that’s nice. :))
The point is, in the past few weeks, I have been able to celebrate new life with these two women I love. Two women whose babies are magnificent. Two women whose babies I show pictures of to my other friends! I know these babies aren’t mine. I know they are God’s. He brought them into the world and gave them to my friends to raise. What a treasure! What a miracle! Indeed, a baby is a reminder that life is a gift. That we are all a part of this beautiful mess called humanity. And that all is not lost in the world.
I will never get to hold my own biological babies. But that doesn’t mean I cannot celebrate with those who do. I will never understand what it’s like to be a biological mother like these two women and so many of my other friends. But the crazy thing is, they can’t quite understand each other either! My best friend and associate had completely different labor experiences; one was more traumatizing than the other. Their babies already have different sleep patterns and personalities. One woman brings more life experience to the table, the other brings more youthful vivacity. They have different husbands, different homes, different communities, and different extended families. They started this journey of motherhood around the same time, but their journeys are so drastically different, it’s hard to compare!
This is what we, as women, fertile or not, must come together and recognize. There are vast differences that make our lives so unique and there is a shared humanity that holds us together. That is something to celebrate.
So today I celebrate two precious babies. I champion their mothers. I remember their children in my prayers. And I thank God for my unique life: a life that can be full no matter what my family looks like, a life that is beautiful, a life that is His, a life that can look into the sleepy eyes of a newborn baby and feel. . .hope. Indeed, all is not lost in the world.