For most of the last five years, the baby dedication event at church was always a tearful event for me.  They were the bottled-up kind of tears, the bitter ones I would not let myself shed, the kind that burn from the inside.  If you aren't familiar with the baby dedication, it's where people bring their baby or young child to the front of church and pledge to raise him or her according to the faith, and the congregation pledges to support them.  It replaces baptism or christening.  There are grandparents taking pictures, sometimes there are frilly white dresses, there are tears and hopes and prayers.

At our old church, I was part of a population where the majority was single.  No one dated for several years and then some good things started happening and soon a lot of us in our (very, very late for me) thirties and forties started getting married.  Soon after that there were babies, more than we had seen before.

This meant that of course you heard the horrible, gleeful cry "It's in the water!" which, just in case you didn't know, you should NEVER EVER SAY.  Don't you haaaaate that expression?   

Anyway, there were a few years where 10, 12, 15 new babies got paraded on stage, held by people I knew, some who were my age, while I tried not to sob.  They often did baby dedications on Mother's Day, and I finally wised up and stopped going.

Today at church there were two babies being dedicated and when I saw it in the program I thought, oh wow.  I don't have to feel that … pain.  I don't have to cry.

And then I started to sob.  The babies were at the perfect baby age, goggle-eyed and plump, a boy and a girl, and the whole thing was so personal.  Their moms looked weary and fat and happy, as did the dads.  I could see me looking like that.  Hell, I look like that now.  The congregation did that melty awwwww thing when they went by.  I looked around and felt like I could open my beat-up heart to the people around me, finally.  That they would share the awwww with us too, when our baby comes, and it won't be about what we made, or what we have, but just the rush of love that unites us all when there's a baby.  I felt like the walls between me and the unknowing, uncaring, fertile world could come down.  They were always my walls, anyway. 

The pastor made a point to mention those who want to be parents, and aren't, before everything got rolling and I was glad to hear it.

I hoped that anyone who saw me could tell the difference between bitter infertility tears and hormonal, grateful, awed, joyful, scared pregnant tears.

"We're having one of those," I sniffled. 

Thank you, God.