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Archive for August, 2010

Confronting My Pain

A picture of "The Shul on the Beach"
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Through the encouragement of the Puah Counselor with whom I talk to every week, I went to shul last Shabbos to be around little children and mothers with babies.   Her rationale was to prepare me for the upcoming High Holidays when I will be going to shul.  Keep in mind that our shul is in a house with very small space so during kiddush the place is packed with people from wall to wall.  During the times when my emotions become overwhelming there is nowhere to escape to unless I walk out the door.

Last Shabbos it was pretty hot.  I braved the 1 mile walk in the heat and was truly grateful for the shade.  I thought that there would not be too many women with small kids in shul due to the heat.  When I got to shul, I was in for a surprise.  Not only was the shul packed, there were lots of small kids, including two babies.  I had to confront my pain….  I told Hashem, “You sure are testing me!”

I had flashbacks to the three embryos that did not implant and I felt a twinge of sadness.  I had to tell myself that there will be a second chance for a new set of embryo transfer.  With my self-talk, I was able to carry on a conversation with a couple of women.  I could not bring myself to talk to the mothers with their blessed bundles of joy.  The pain was still raw yet I felt that Hashem was transforming me in that moment.    Had my Puah counselor not pushed me, I would not have gone to shul.

I got an invitation for Shabbos lunch with friends of ours.  They have three children, and the youngest is a cute 2 (perhaps 3) year old.    I should ask how old she is.  We had an enjoyable lunch.  The walk back to our apartment however was not so enjoyable.

Did I pass the test?  I certainly hope that in Hashem’s eyes I did.  Often transformation comes with a lot of effort to step into a zone that does not feel comfortable.   Being at home on Shabbos is comfortable.  I do not have to confront my pain.  At shul on the other hand, I have to deal with the painful reality that presently I am not pregnant and that furthermore a viable pregnancy means I need medical intervention with no guarantees of success.  This is a situation where I have no control.  I depend on Hashem’s compassion and mercy.  May He answer my heartfelt prayer and the tefilos of every Jewish woman who is presently childless.

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Image by Lauren Treece via Flickr

The weather is hot.  My new apartment is full of stuff that I have yet to put away.  I just finished drafting a contract related to a potential opportunity to help Mercaz Beth Israel with their United States fund raising.  Could this be an answered prayer for a home based profession with the possibility to transfer the position to Israel.

So much to keep me busy yet I am going crazy with the uncertainty of the future. Will I become a mother?  Will my going to shul for Kiddush work out as I attempt to be in harmony with the babies and toddlers that will be present.  Elul is the month and Hashem is in the field.  I need to reach out to Him given the easy access.  Today I feel proud I read the daily readings from Chofetz Chaim and Tehillim.

Tomorrow is almost Shabbos.  To think that someone is davening for my husband and I at the Kotel.  Plus we had Pidyon Ha Nefesh where a Tzaddik sent up his prayer to one of the open gates of shamayim. How was this accomplished I asked my husband.  To which he answered, “If I knew, I would be a Tzaddik.”  Next plan of action a letter to the Lubavicher Rebbe’s Ohel.  For now, I will bravely face my fears.

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This baby is one month old.
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Recently a friend asked this very poignant question, ‘What are you doing besides trying to get pregnant?”  As someone struggling with infertility getting pregnant is constantly on my mind.  I had to take a step back and analyze her question.  What I am doing besides trying to get pregnant.  Yes keeping busy does help.  Recently we moved from one apartment complex to another so my energy has been occupied with moving.  I also have been networking and looking for a job.    Plus I have an idea for a new business.  I also hang out at Starbucks with a friend of mine to chat and also to get work done.  Another major development in my life is free counseling via a wonderful person.  I have Puah to thank for for that.

Another question that I have been struggling with is how to deal with the pain associated with seeing other pregnant women and women with babies and toddlers? How do I get rid of the piercing pain that stabs my heart and hurts the very core of my neshama?  There are no easy answers.  We are in the month of Elul, a time for transformation.  Hashem is also in the field so He is within reach to hear heartfelt prayers.  The Hebrew verb for praying is “Hitpalel” which is a reflexive verb.   Prayer in this context is a time for self-reflection.

After analyzing the source of my emotions at shul when I see a pregnant woman or a woman with a a baby/small children, I came to the realization that deep down inside I really do not believe that I could possibly get pregnant.   What if I took a different perspective and applied emunah (faith) and I told myself that regardless I will be a mother whether through pregnancy or adoption?  Would that change how I view pregnant women and women with babies and toddlers.  Through the encouragement of my counselor, I am embarking on a journey of going to shul during kiddish and actually being around these very woman who unwittingly are a source of my pain.  If I do not go through with this, then how can I possibly grow?

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Doing A-O.K Today

A shofar made from a ram's horn is traditional...
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I am doing A- O.K today.  The fact that I spent time on FaceBook and actually posted something is a dramatic improvement (LOL just kidding).  Also got my shaitel  styled so feeling pretty glamorous!   I feel that I am slowly but surely getting back on the saddle.  Soon I will have another opportunity to try IVF again.  In the meantime I have a lot of things I need to accomplish such as losing weight, eating more healthy, exercising, working on my new business, and most important of all preparing for the High Holidays.

I just put in a 40 day prayer request at the Kotel during the entire month of Elul through Rosh Hashana!  May HaShem answer all of our heartfelt prayers!

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Stroller
Image by QualityFrog via Flickr

Last Shabbos I went to shul because of a lunch invitation my husband and I had received. I was apprehensive about seeing the line of strollers outside the shul.  When I did not see any, I thought I was home free so I strolled into shul feeling happy and carefree.  Lo and behold the strollers were inside!!!  Of course they were because it was the hottest day of the month at 104 +degrees fahrenheit.  Seeing the babies was overwhelming to say the least.  I wanted to scream.  I felt so much like an outsider.  I told myself that it was a test from HaShem so I acted gracefully and smiled.  Talked to a couple of people. There was a point where I was visibly upset.  When asked if I was O.K. I claimed I was not feeling well.

Our gracious host gathered all his guests and my heart sank.  Two of the couples were the ones with the babies and strollers.  “HaShem,” I thought, ” You have a sense of humor but I am not amused.”  Rather than running home, I thought I would proceed to our guest’s lovely home.

I tried to judge my hosts favorably.   When they compiled their guest list, they had no idea that childless couples have difficulty being around other couples with babies.  This validated my perception that there is a need for compassionate education.  Unless I communicate openly how will people know?  Once I get past my own emotions, I will be ready to embark on my mission to educate.  In the meantime I have my work cut out for me.  I am in the season of being refined.

My counselor (yes I am getting counseling, although in my previous post I had concluded that I am not insane!!!) recommended that I go to the mall to seek out strollers with babies.  Upon spying a stroller,  I should walk up to the mother and say, ”  What a cute and adorable baby you have!!!”  Since I love babies so much, this exercise should enable  me to admire the shul babies without going into avoidance mode.  ” Attention attention incoming strolller!  Must evacuate the building immediately!!!”

So this week I will recruit one of my friends and head on over to the nearest mall to go baby hunting.  G-D willing one day I will go stroller shopping to trade in my symbolic stroller with tefillos and tears for an empty one soon to be filled with a baby (or two or three) of my own!!!

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