By: Daniella, Uprooted Client
For the first time in years, since the beginning of my fertility journey, I was looking forward to Mother’s Day. For years this was an ominous day – a 24 hour period during which I tried to avoid social media and hide from the world. This day showed me how many happy and beautiful mothers were out there in the world, and made me feel acutely aware that I was not among them. This day was something I dreaded.
However, this year was going to be different, and I was eagerly awaiting Mother’s Day. After struggling for years to conceive and not receiving a single-positive pregnancy test, I finally saw a second line on my pregnancy test.
My journey toward that moment was filled with ups and mostly downs. Moments of hope, and moments of despair. Moments where I felt like I could not keep going, and moments where I was willing to try anything. And then, a few months ago, shortly after my 41st birthday, I had begun doing some emotional healing that led me to feel really hopeful. I felt like I was getting close, and “doing everything right.” With my heart full of hope, on day 14 when I thought I was ovulating, I went to the bathroom in the middle of a meeting. I realized that not only was I not ovulating, but my cycle was ending on day 14. I was in shock and panic. What was wrong with me? Everything that could possibly be wrong flashed through my mind, and I did what I knew I should not – I started googling.
After scaring myself further, I somehow managed to pick up the pieces and head into the next month. This next month, my only goal was to have a cycle that made it past day 20. From day 14 on, I held my breath, hoping beyond hope that I would get through another day. Amazingly, the days passed…14, 15… 20, 21… 30, 31. I had never made it that long, and so with trepidation in my heart, I took a pregnancy test. And, there it was that faint second line.
After everything I had been through, a big part of me didn’t believe it. How could this be after all these years and my 14 day cycle the previous month? Could this really have happened? Is it ok if I start connecting with my baby? Am I really going to have a baby?
With each passing day, it started to feel more real. I started to believe I was pregnant. I sat in synagogue on Purim listening to the story of Esther and how the fate of the Jewish people was flipped from impending doom to jubilant celebration. That complete reversal resonated with me so deeply. I too had experienced a complete ve’nahafochu a reversal of my life situation.
My heart felt full and my mind began to wander. Perhaps we could share the news with our family members at the Passover Seder. Would it be a boy or a girl? How should I plan my work for next year to accommodate this new life? Would I be able to tolerate the summer heat during my third trimester?
Most present though, was the question of how would I enjoy Mother’s Day for the first time in so long? With a full belly and a life growing inside me, would I go to the store and read every Mother’s Day card on the shelf, or read every post on social media, or go to brunch with my friends who are already moms? It didn’t really matter, just so long as I no longer needed to suffer through the day.
And then it happened, my pregnancy ended. Just as naturally as it began, it ended. With no warning, no explanation, and no care for how it would impact me. I again was shocked and felt like my world had been flipped on its head, a heartbreaking venahafochu. I was overwhelmed by sadness and feelings of hopelessness again, and I no longer know what I will do on Mother’s Day.
I was a mother for a few weeks – does that count?
If you’re a woman longing to be a mother (or if you love someone who is), Seeds of Hope, a program of Jewish Community Services, invites you to Coping and Hoping Together, a Jewish Healing Circle for Mother’s Day on May 5th from 7:00 – 8:30 pm via Zoom.
We invite you to connect with others in the Jewish community to find hope, emotional support, and spiritual comfort to help you through the holiday. Facilitated by professionals from Uprooted: A Jewish Communal Response to Fertility Journeys, this program is free and open to the public. Visit jcsbalt.org/coping-together for more information and to RSVP for our healing circle.
Uprooted: A Jewish Communal Response to Fertility Journeys, allows those struggling to turn toward the Jewish community as they navigate their fertility journey, to break through feelings of isolation and shame, and to connect with others traversing the same path. Jewish Community Services is a proud partner of Uprooted. Learn more at weareuprooted.org.