I got to wear one of those stickers on my jeans at church on Sunday. You know the one, a white rectangle with bold lettering showing all who walk past you that you have a child in the nursery? It was a badge of honor for me to (finally) get to wear one. I felt proud. I felt like I was “officially officially” part of the mom club. (And not the “mom jeans and harvest vests” mom club, the “cool mom” mom club. I hope…)
Anyway, it’s one of those little tiny things that I used to see other women wearing and wonder why they had a kid and I didn’t. It was one of those cruel things that set them apart from me. It was a clear and vivid sticky symbol that they were given a child, and I was not. This wasn’t so much an issue in Senegal, because there wasn’t such organized childcare, but there was the “moms with kids go first at the potluck”, and the play date social circles I missed out on, and moms waving at their kids singing on stage at the Christmas play, and other social scenes that left me feeling sad, and left out from something I so desperately wanted to be a part of.
But not today. Today I got to wear a badge saying that I had a baby.
I felt joy. And pride. And even some guilt.
It’s a very similar feeling that I dealt with in this blog post. It’s a feeling of wanting to express to those around me, to that woman who hasn’t been able to get pregnant, or wants to adopt, or who has experienced loss, that I understand grief on a personal level too, and that I’ve seen hope on the darkest of days, and that joy is possible through knowing God. This sticker wasn’t easy to come by – well, actually it was, they literally printed it for me in a matter of seconds – but the baby behind the sticker wasn’t easy to come by. This joy, this moment, was long prayed for, hoped for, wished for, and fought for. If I have a sticker and you don’t, just know that I’ve been there. You’re not alone. And if you too want a sticker, I’ll be praying for you. And in the meantime, through your season of waiting, and through your season of tears, I’ll be your friend.