One Saturday night at the end of August, we both walked hand in hand into church ready to join a couples group that will be committed to meeting for 18 months. Nervous and anxious for what God had in store for us we checked in.
Many of you already know that I was born with a disease called PCOS (Polycystic Ovary Syndrome). This unfortunately causes infertility. We have been TTC (trying to conceive) for 5 years. It’s been hard but good all at the same time.
“Hi there! Last name please.” The greeter said. “Vahe. V as in Victor, A, H, E” we answer as we always do. The woman went behind the counter to retrieve our name tags from the printer, but then I noticed she was placing a sticker on our name badges. It was an awful burnt orange and brownish color. It read… “Without Kids”.
Inside my head I screamed! Not out loud of course, ‘cause that would be crazy. “Oh great! Like I needed another reminder that I don’t have children, that I can’t have children, that I want children! I want that to read, With Kids!” were my thoughts.
Nick must have seen my face turning red with shame flooding over me so he said, “They just need that for forming the group, it’s not saying you won’t ever have children”. I smiled and nodded giving him the “It’s ok I don’t need you to fix this vibe”. I felt like I was the only one in the room, and my mind translated the label to read: “Can’t have children”, “Infertile”, “Not good enough”, “You are the only one”.
We walked into the long hallway where 1100 people were waiting with their husbands and wives waiting to be guided into forming groups by location, age, and stages of life. While we were waiting another couple approached us on the common ground that we all had the same label, “Without Kids”. We laughed, we chatted and exchanged pleasantries, and before I knew it our little group in the hall had 8 couples all wearing a “Without Kids” label. There was a vibe about this group of strangers meeting in the hall. It was loud, happy, excited and very friendly and others flocked their way to us.
Then I was introduced to Jenny. We chatted, and we ended up talking a little and somehow it slipped that I struggle with infertility. Then she did the most amazing thing, she said, “Me too!” Shocked to find someone else like me in the same room I lean in to listen more. She pointed to her name tag and said, “Felt great didn’t it? Like I needed another reminder!”, and we began sharing our immediate thoughts about having to wear our label.
I took a deep sigh. My soul was instantly refreshed. “I’m not crazy, my feelings are valid, my feelings are real. They don’t need to be brushed off, fixed or discarded. Here’s another human lady having the same exact thoughts that I did about my name tag.”
There I was, feeling alone, hopeless and discouraged by a name tag and what did God do? He met me right were I was, covered in shame and self doubt and reminds me, “You’re not alone. I am here, and there are others who need to hear the same thing. This label is not your identity. You’re not alone.”
After being led to our stations and onto the next auditorium the couples that met in the hallway met up again. We formed our couples group, not based on location but because there was a deeper connection already forming past our labels, and we appropriately named ourselves “No Kids, No Diapers, No problems”. We are 7 couples with no kids, and I’m sure plenty of problems, but excited and anticipating the wonderful ways we will see God in our lives and our relationships. Jenny and her husband are in our group and she has PCOS too. I am not alone. Ever.
It amazes me how God will use anything for good and nothing goes to waste in His kingdom. How wearing a label that made me feel shame and despair was used to bring together a group of amazing people. How wearing a label would bring together two women with the same thoughts, feelings and experience at that precise moment in time. How I have the opportunity to help others grow, and to let other people help me grow in my one true label, “Daughter of the King”. God is so good.
“I will be a Father to you, and you will be my sons and daughters, says the Lord Almighty.” 2 Corinthians 6:18 NIV