8 Comments

  1. Rabbi – 20 years ago, I came to understand that my husband and I were possibly not able to have our own children, We tried for years, unsuccessfully. We decided then that we would try some initial fertility treatments – they were maybe $2000 at the time – but if unsuccessful, we would not devote our lives to it. The tyranny of extended assisted fertility treatments sounded like hell, and I would not subject our lives to it. Our next step would be adoption research. Without compromising our ability to feed or house ourselves. After that, foster children. Miraculously, after we had our initial visit but before actually starting fertility treatment, a pregnancy test came back positive. A generation later, I have 3 healthy children – for whom I am daily most deeply grateful – I’ve had a couple miscarriages, and I am feeling it incumbent upon myself to adopt a child without a parent, or foster a child without trust. I knew from childhood I wanted, needed, ached for children. Too much fun I needed to have with children of my own. I adored my students, my campers. And I wanted my own. Keep looking. Consider all avenues. Be open – anything is possible, but routes that work for others may not work for you. Anything is possible – if you can redefine “anything.”

    Posted by
    Daphna Oren
  2. Robyn:
    Infertility is the silent stressor. It’s the big secret you cannot share because you are trying to get things to work and yet you don’t need anyone’s input or opinion. Tough enough just to manage your own feelings and that of your partner’s. Stay strong. After years of procedures, shots of ugly hormones, IVFs, etc. we decided to stop trying. We went the route of adoption and though that added another three years to the wait the result was worth it. Yes, it takes money to make it all happen. Little did we know that when we were 8 and pushing a baby carriage with a dolly that years later it wouldn’t be so easy. Our son is almost eight. He is the light of our lives. He is not of my womb, but as the years pass it seems less relevant. I still have trouble seeing pregnant women. One thing I’ve said to all who ask me to advise them during these challenges is to allow yourself to feel the grief. You are dealing with your own loss, repeatedly. It’s not okay. It’s lousy. Go through it and realize that some day you will be on the other side of it–whatever that will be. And most importantly, your relationship with your partner is the thing you must cherish and nurture, no matter what the challenges at any given moment.

    Posted by
    ellen
  3. Infertility is a phase one goes through (and hopefully emerges from). I, too, went through it, feeling that because the tradition understands Pru U’rvu to be a specific commandment that devolves upon the male I was not fulfilling a very important (‘critical!’) mitzvah. Now that I have been able t0 have a child through the costly and difficult procedure of IVF, the shame and condemnation have receded somewhat in a rear view mirror, of sorts, although they have not disappeared completely. Know, however, that as difficult as it may seem, and despite the casual way many people speak of these things, you are not AT ALL alone in this difficulty. Why, even on Rosh Hashana, we read of infertility and a blended family and surrogacy. If Avraham and Sarah can get through the difficulty somehow (you have until age 90 to catvh up!), maybe you should cut yourself a little slack.

    Posted by
    Rabbi
  4. My heart goes out to you…Many years ago, I went through very similar heartaches and in the end, adopted two wonderful children. Though my issue is not the same as yours, I will tell you that almost one year ago, my son very suddenly died at age 46. During this year, I have been asked by people from time to time, “how many kids do you have?”. At first, I was startled and unsure how to reply. Now, I simply say the truth. “I had two children, but unfortunately, my son died in November.”

    Sending wishes for a healthy and peaceful 5775. BTW, I am a congregant at Netivot Shalom and a friend on Menachem’s

    Posted by
    helen schneider
  5. Just wanted to take a moment to tell you my (non-Jewish) best friend, survivor of twelve years infertility and now mother of three children, just forwarded this to me. I survived seven years of fertility; my miracle will be two years old next week. I hear your sorrow and your fear; both you and I know others at our shuls whose stories of infertility did not have the ending we all hope and pray for. My husband and I used to answer That Question “Not yet.” Our openness about our infertility ultimately created the opportunity for our whole community to rejoice with us– I hope you will have the same experience.

    Posted by
    Talya Tree McCurdy
  6. Thank you for your article. Too few people recognize infertility and pregnancy loss as well as the grief that follows.
    In the past, I have answered the question about kids as. “I have no living children.” For me, that acknowledges the ones that I have lost.

    Posted by
  7. A lovely piece. Echoes how I often feel as a single person in a sea of couples/families. Best wishes to you on your journey, wherever it takes you.

    Posted by
    rachel
  8. Hang in there, Rabbi. Such a personal, powerful message. Thank you. From your lips to God’s ears. and if not plan A, then my hope for you is that your plan B becomes as satisfying as can be. Love, appreciation, beauty and prayers in your direction.

    Posted by
    mary
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