With bright eyes, wide smile, and hand resting protectively on a still-flat stomach, she shares the news.
And her family, friends, and co-workers erupt in praise-filled pandemonium with clapping hands, squeals of delight, and endless congratulations.
A tiny baby onesie embroidered with the word, “Nana,” is opened, and tears of joy and excitement flow down a face. A ridiculously small pair of boots is nestled between dad’s worn leather work shoes and mom’s red ballet flats, and the image gets 300 likes on Facebook.
And this is exactly as it should be. New life should be celebrated, and soon-to-be parents should be embraced, applauded, and encouraged. Of course, in the midst of the revelry, the parents know how many things could yet go wrong. The potential dangers, gathered from fearful late-night Google searches, live constantly in the back of their minds, but it is the insensitive person who offers statistics on miscarriage or birth defects in place of joyful wishes.
Another woman, with bright eyes and wide smile, shares similar news.
And too often, her family, friends, and co-workers erupt in…..awkward silence. Arched eyebrows. Confused glances. Unsolicited advice. Insensitive questions. Uneducated concerns.
…”Are you sure? Can you handle that? What if…..? What about…..? Have you considered….?”
There is little uninhibited joy. Responses are uncertain. Guarded. Limited.
And this is not how it should be. Because yes, actually, she has considered all those things. She and her spouse didn’t come to the decision lightly. They prayed, read, and studied. They labored through endless forms, tests, interviews, and visits. And they’re well aware of their own weaknesses…..well aware of the many things that could go wrong.
But that woman? She deserves the same cheerful exuberance as the first. Please, don’t take it from her. Because families should be celebrated, whether they are together from the beginning or find one another later down the road. Because children are a gift, whether they’re two-days-old, two-years, or 20.
So embrace, encourage, and celebrate. Her path to motherhood may look different, but it is equally deserving of joy.