In December of 2008, I was standing with two of my best girlfriends at a friend’s wedding, eating canapés and laughing at our husbands, who were standing across the room and, I’m sure, doing something immature but hilarious. One of us – I don’t remember who – mentioned a pregnant friend of ours, and asked if we were thinking about babies.
“No, not yet,” said the other. “I think we’ll wait a couple of years.”
I smiled. “Actually, I think we’ll be ready soon. We’re hoping to start trying this summer, maybe June.”
June. Of 2009. Why not? I had a good job, we had a cute house, we’d been married almost two years, and we were feeling the emotional readiness for a family earlier than the four years we’d originally thought.
We all know what happened next: I lost my good job in April, and we decided to wait until things were a bit more certain.
Meanwhile, the girl who’d said they were waiting a couple of years found out – quite surprisingly, especially to herself – they were expecting a baby.
Simon and I decided to move to England in December, and figured it’d be best to wait until we got here to start thinking about babies again. For me, it was mostly about not hitting my parents with the news we were leaving North Carolina and the news I was pregnant with their first grandchild at the same time.
December came, and we moved. Meanwhile, throngs of my close friends had called or facebooked or emailed to say they were having babies. I smiled and congratulated each one of them, but every time, my heart ached a little bit. It had been a year since that conversation at the wedding.
Once we got to England, things weren’t easy. We lived in Simon’s old bedroom in his parents’ house – an arrangement that was supposed to last for a few weeks – for five months.
Jobs didn’t come through (that’s another story), and I started working at Starbucks while Simon helped out doing landscaping with a guy from his parents’ church. Every day, while I poured coffee and wiped tables, I watched women – some younger than me, some older – come in with their babies. They fed them and smiled at them, and held them, staring down at them lovingly…
I sometimes went into the bathroom and cried.
In March, my phone rang at midnight, and I answered it, startled out of sleep.
“It’s me,” said my friend Emily, the other girl from the wedding conversation. “I’m pregnant.”
“Oh, wow…that’s so great. Congratulations.”
“Did I wake you up?” she asked. “I’m so sorry. I’ll call you back later. Go back to sleep.”
We hung up, and I stared hard out the window, tears stinging my eyes.
“Why are you doing this to me?” I whispered in the general direction of the God I knew could hear me…
…the God who was making me wait while everyone around me was getting what I wanted…
…the God who knew that, at that moment, I was carrying a child the size of a mustard seed.