Pregnant women are everywhere. At least, it often feels that way for women who desperately want children. And, this time, we might have the stats to prove it.

As The Wall Street Journal recently declared, "America's baby bust may be over." Reporting on new data from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the article asserts that women who delayed pregnancy during the economic downturn are finally ready to start a family. Some of those babies will come right on schedule, and many happy couples will shift their savings to pay for maternity clothes and baby name books and nursery furniture.

But for other women, fertility, pregnancy, and children will remain elusive. "Hope deferred makes the heart sick," says Proverbs 13:12. For these women, being in community with others—receiving yet another birth announcement or shower invitation—can seem excruciatingly painful.

A few weeks after miscarrying our first child and facing the prospect of surgical intervention in order to get pregnant again, my husband and I attended his family's reunion. Still grieving, I walked into the cottage and saw my nephew, the beautiful baby of my sister-in-law, sleeping peacefully in his swing. My eyes filled with tears, and I turned away from his tiny fingers and toes, to see my husband's aunt— a woman who already had two teenaged children—her hands resting on her pregnant belly.

It was too much. I ran out of the room and sobbed in my husband's arms in the driveway. How could they have babies when I had none? How could the women in my church and neighborhood be surrounded by chubby cheeks and dimpled fingers when I had only emptiness and death? I knew I should be happy about other people's children, but I couldn't figure out how.

Watching others get the things we ourselves desire can devastate our fellowship with them. Recently, Amy Klein wrestled with this topic in her New York Times essay, "Baby Envy." When Klein's friend called to announce her pregnancy, Klein's first reaction was bitterness. "Infertility," she writes, "unleashes in you terrible jealousy of other women, women who conceive easily, without thought, without drugs, without dozens of days lost to medical intervention. Women whose biggest problems are swollen feet."

Christian women are not immune to this. Sarah and Hagar, Rachel and Leah, Hannah and Peninnah, all experienced broken community as a result of baby envy. Modern women, too, find that our insistent cry of "where's mine?" can keep us from delighting in God's goodness to our Christian sisters.

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But babies are not a zero-sum proposition. When Klein told her husband about their pregnant friend, he said, "'Her pregnancy has nothing to do with us…Babies are not like lottery tickets, where one person's win means another's loss.'"

In one sense, he's right. From a Christian perspective, God's goodness never comes with the price tag of someone else's sorrow. "When we view others as a measuring stick for God's love to us, we rob ourselves of our participation in their joy," writes Melissa Kruger, author of The Envy of Eve: Finding Contentment in a Covetous World. "We will never be able to rejoice with those who rejoice, because God's goodness to them is only wrongly viewed as one more way He has failed to be good to us." As hard as it can be to believe in the midst of grief and loss, God's gift to one person isn't an unkindness to another.

But Klein's mantra "her pregnancy has nothing to do with us" rings hollow. Babies may not be a zero-sum proposition, but they are not a discrete statistical event, either. Klein herself acknowledges this tension at the end of her essay: "Other people should have nothing to do with me — but, somehow, they do. It's ugly thinking and I feel ashamed."

By this point, I want to give Klein a hug. I want to hand her a Kleenex and tell her that she's on to something, and it's not ugly or shame-worthy. Other people's babies have everything to do with us. It is not apart from other people, but instead by fostering community with them that we have a path to true rejoicing.

When I envy my neighbor's baby bump, I hurt myself and others. By distrusting God's purposes, I refuse to learn the good lessons he is teaching me through my trial. By obsessing about what I don't have, I fail to glorify him and serve others with the many gifts I do. And by responding to a friend's "We're Pregnant!" with bitterness, I deny myself participation in her joy. "Rejoice with those who rejoice," commands Romans 12:15. The Christian's joy, the shared happiness of the haves and the have-nots and the wish-they-had-mores, comes when we recognize that we have a stake in one another's lives. When I am a part of the Christian community, someone else's good news is actually my good news.

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Because it is not about her. Nor is it about me. It's about what God is doing in the world, for his glory, through his body. And when I belong to Christ's body, the joy of my Christian sister's baby or marriage or promotion or spiritual gift is mine to share.

In God's all-wise provision, blessings are for our benefit, but they are not just for us. "But God has so composed the body…that there may be no division in the body, but that the members may have the same care for one another. If one member suffers, all suffer together; if one member is honored, all rejoice together." (1 Cor. 12:24b-26)

Long after that tearful family reunion, my husband and I began an adoption process. In the two years it took to adopt our youngest child, I watched more than one woman announce her pregnancy, give birth, and then announce a second pregnancy, all before I even knew my own child's name. Each new babe in another mother's arms was a reminder that mine was still months and miles away.

But each new baby was also a sign that God was accomplishing his purposes. He was enlarging his kingdom, advancing his cause, and glorifying himself with each new life. He was filling the pews and hallways of my church with tiny worshippers. And, though my desires for my own child were yet unfulfilled, being in community with others allowed me to rejoice in the unfolding of God's good purposes.

What is good for Christ's body is good for each member. And if we cut ourselves off from community—whether through bitterness and envy, or through isolating ourselves from other people's lives—we cannot truly rejoice.

In the Christian community, and particularly in the church, other people's babies are an opportunity for the childless to share in the delight of children. As Gina Dalfonzo wrote so beautifully, "It's been one of my greatest joys to learn that the childless life doesn't have to be a child-free one." In a very real sense, children belong to the whole church and need every member of the body to care for them. "So in Christ," writes Paul to the Roman church, "we, though many, form one body, and each member belongs to all the others." (Rom. 12:5)

I hope that Klein's broken heart and empty arms lead her to a church. I hope she can find, as I have, that in the community of the redeemed, other people's joys become my own.