Being able to share in someone’s joy is a distinct privilege and honour, especially when it is due to a life changing event. Earlier this week our department threw a baby shower for a colleague. A few of us early birds gathered in the decorated office, eagerly awaiting her entrance and consequent reactionary surprise. Sleepy-eyed and unaware of the spotlight, she breezed in to find a sea of faces gazing upon her, lit with mischievous smiles, glistening eyes and, with bated breath, we watched her expression change from quiet calm to happy chaos. Balloons bobbed around on weighted ribbons, others taped to her computer screen; bunting and banners adorned walls and doors; wispy pastel coloured shapes floated down from the ceiling; a ‘Mum to be’ sash sat perched on the back of her chair, wanting to be worn; and a large blue-iced sponge cake with letter block design atop, sat proudly at the centre of her desk, hand made by a colleague. Suffice to say she was shocked. Once we felt she had been embarrassed enough we dispersed wishing her a happy shower day.
At lunch time we laid out the party food, to which we’d all contributed, enough to afford us lunches and snacks for the remainder of the week. On display, upon a cleared desk sat a large cardboard box, dressed in baby themed wrapping paper, overflowing with gifts. Rather than a collection we’d opted to buy presents individually. For a department of around 20 staff this was an impressive, and very generous, haul.
Now, I’m not a fan of babies, but I am a fan of parties, especially of helping to organise them; and this party was extra special. The mum-to-be silently suffers an irrelievable pain that comes from being unable to carry your own child. What should be every woman’s natural born right – to procreate – has been denied her; for a woman with such maternal instincts and desire for a child, this truly is one of life’s cruellest injustices. However much it will remain a tragic lament in the depths of her heart, it should pale into insignificance thanks to the imminent arrival of a 9month old baby boy into her and her partner’s lives.
The adoption process is arduous and characteristically intrusive with good reason of course; the safeguarding of a child is paramount; but considering two spotty teenage oiks can perform a drunken have-at-it and immediately fall pregnant, the lengths two genuine and decent people have to go to seems relentlessly burdening. Still, perseverance has proffered what they wished for; a child to raise and call their own. Biology isn’t everything and it’ll make them no less of a Mummy and Daddy, in fact it’ll make them more so.
After the lunch and gift opening had finished and all was cleared away, as if right on cue, she received a call from her social worker to confirm the adoption had been signed off and paperwork was in the post. It was official. All that remains is for them to be introduced and, at the end of a week of supervised meets, bring him home; a beautiful new chapter to begin together.
For the rest of us, we are all sharing in their joy. We’ve been kept in the loop over the last year as to what stage they were at; the trials, the hopes, the upsets and now the reward. It’s fair to say that we all feel we’ve adopted a part of this baby boy; we are Aunties in waiting (and one Uncle.) No doubt we’ll be seeing him inside and outside of the office very soon.
On the whole, at work, we are a unified team. The women I work with are incredibly compassionate, generous, loving, caring. Having been on the receiving end of the cushion of love and support they instinctively provide at times of need, I knew exactly how the mum-to-be felt….overwhelmed. Needless to say the bubba has no idea how much love and fun he is about to inherit from his new folks….not to mention his army of work Aunties! How unique it is to proudly call your colleagues family.