After spending the day participating in, Holding Hannah’s Hand: A Jewish Fertility Training for Clergy and Mental Health Professionals, she was awestruck. She had just heard three women share their personal stories in a keynote presentation, and she expressed her amazement at what women are willing to go through to become mothers. It is true, some women are willing to do anything! Put their bodies through any procedure, ingest anything, inject anything, travel to the ends of earth, and hope and wait for what feels like an eternity.
Many women are also willing to try and try and try again.
This notion of trying is something that is understood by the rabbis of the Talmud. Although the topic at hand is not trying to conceive, they nonetheless see merit in the act of trying without having yet achieved success. In Talmud Tractate Brachot 6a, Rav Ashi states: If a person intended to fulfill a commandment but did not do so because of something beyond his or her control, then it is considered as if s/he accomplished it.” This is surely of no comfort to someone trying unsuccessfully to conceive. Only actually becoming parents, or having another child, will allow them to feel as though they have accomplished what they have been longing to do. Nonetheless, this idea of acknowledging effort, may be something important for us to think about this Mothers’ Day.
This Mothers’ Day let us not only focus attention on those who have been granted the title mother, but let us also shower love on those who are trying to become one. If you know someone who is trying to grow his or her family, consider what you can do to help support them on this challenging day. Acknowledge their incredible effort, listen to their stories, shelter them from the barrage of Mothers’ Day paraphernalia and media posts, and celebrate them for the person they are today.
If you are struggling to grow your family, then please consider doing something kind and loving for yourself on Sunday. Whether you have been trying for a few months or countless years, this journey is challenging and often full or moments of self-blame and doubt: “Maybe I am not doing enough…,” “If I had only…”, “Maybe I don’t deserve this…” “What is wrong with me?”
Spend this Sunday taking some time to acknowledge all you have done in your efforts to become a mother. “I am so proud of myself for….” “I can’t believe I endured…” “I made a really smart decision when…” “I will celebrate all of my efforts and be kind to myself today by treating myself to…”
You are amazing, you are strong, and your are on a journey.
Have a meaningful Trying-to-be-Mothers Day.
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