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The Hidden Pain of Infertility

By Michelle N. Goldberg, LCSW-C

We know that infertility can feel hopeless.

We know that rates of infertility are higher in the Jewish community.

We know that people struggle in silence.

We know that family and friends say things that are not always comforting.

We know that being in the Jewish community can be challenging when you are struggling to build your family.

Seeds of Hope (SOH) targets women and couples struggling to build their families by providing one on one consultations, connecting people in similar situations, and offering support and resources through a holistic experience. Additionally, SOH serves the community by focusing on raising awareness, educating, and supporting.

I have the pleasure of meeting monthly with fertility professionals who speak candidly about the hidden struggles of infertility. We record “15 Minutes With….” videos and post them every fourth Thursday on the JCS Facebook page. These conversations provide an abundance of information and resources. Last month I spoke with Meryl B. Rosenberg, an attorney, and Director of ART (Assisted Reproductive Technologies) Parenting who has helped intended parents build their families through surrogacy, gamete donation, embryo donation, second parent and stepparent adoption. Prior to that, I sat down with Dr. Julie Bindeman where we spoke about Secondary Infertility. April’s video will address the benefits of mental health support when I speak with Dr. Bill Petok, a Baltimore psychologist specializing in reproductive health and male factor infertility.

We began the series with Baltimore’s own Rabbi Nina Beth Cardin, the author of Tears of Sorrow, Seeds of Hope, a spiritual guide to infertility and pregnancy loss. She wrote the book as a response to her own experiences of loss, and to help fill the liturgical and ritual gap regarding these issues of pain and loss. Rabbi Cardin explains how important it is to provide an opportunity to ritually acknowledge grief related to infertility or perinatal loss. Because of her efforts many years ago, we have the benefit of a local Healing Garden to acknowledge infant and pregnancy loss. We are holding space on Sunday, April 30th from 3:30-5:00 pm for anyone who has experienced infertility or pregnancy loss to drop by to express their loss by planting seeds of hope and personalizing a small stone to place in the Garden. RSVP here: jcsbalt.org/planting-hope

Additionally, beginning on May 24th, we will offer a 6-week Pregnancy and Infant Loss Group for individuals and couples grieving a miscarriage, stillbirth, or infant death. The group offers the opportunity to share experiences, receive support and find comfort. Register here: jcsbalt.org/pil-support

We know you are struggling. We see you, and we are here.

For more information about Seeds of Hope contact Michelle Goldberg at mgoldberg@jcsbaltimore.org or (410) 843-7355.

Seeds of Hope program is made possible by grants from Michelle & Ira Malis and the Jewish Women’s Giving Foundation, a program of The Associated: Jewish Federation of Baltimore.

Michelle Goldberg Michelle Neufeld Goldberg, LCSW-C, is Senior Manager of Community Engagement & Partnerships at Jewish Community Services.

Jewish Community Services (JCS) provides programs and services for people of all ages and backgrounds, helping them achieve their goals, enhance their wellbeing, and maximize their independence.  To learn more, visit jcsbalt.org or 410-466-9200.

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