By Naomi Less
5777: A new year, and as I step into the beginning of October, it’s another year to reflect on journeys and passage of time but not just any time. This year Yom Kippur, the day of “who will live, who will die” coincides with the Gregorian month that commemorates pregnancy and infant loss.
Entering into this year’s sacred 10 days coincides with me getting back on the proverbial fertility horse; instead of fasting, I’m injecting shots. And instead of just reflecting on wrongs done and who I want to be, I’m confronting if there will be life growing in my womb again in just a couple weeks. This, all the while I’m saying Judaism’s most sobering liturgical poem – u’netaneh tokef – I know my mind will wander to whether or not life will be sustained in my womb, should an embryo implant.
It’s really hard to believe that it’s been over three years since I had a miscarriage – and I wasn’t quiet about it, like I’m not quiet about my fertility journey in general. But I know so many people are.
It’s excruciatingly hard to get back on the horse and try again. I’ve actually lost count after loss.
Try to imagine, if you can – each person who tries – ends up making plans, living in the land of hope, attachments, thinking about the future and then…nothing. And often that nothing comes with shame, isolation, depression, and a lack of faith in the future.
October is a month designated to open up this conversation about pregnancy loss, to not live in isolation, to reach out and support those who have struggled on these journeys of trying to create a family. And for those who have struggled and continue to, it’s a time to mark and note that it’s real and it’s hard and, most importantly, you are not alone.
So, as we enter into the first days of this new year, let’s do so with compassion – the Hebrew word for womb is rechem, the same root as compassion. Let us hold each other in comfort and compassion as these challenging journeys continue.