With all that’s going on, how will I crown Him King?
t’s another busy week in Elul. There are orientations to attend, lists of school supplies to shop for, and new shoes to buy. There are also endless appointments, scans, blood tests, phone calls, and results. It’s the dichotomy of parenting through infertility, the sweet challenge of being present in the moment while preparing for the future.
Throughout this haze of never-ending doing, my lucky husband gets to hear the shofar each morning. The Elul seforim on my shelf beckon, but my paltry attempts at carving out time don’t get me too far.
Yes, I know that mothering is my avodah, and doing a treatment now is the right choice for us. Yet something in me twists. With all that’s going on, how will I crown Him King?
We’re no newcomers to the joys of treatment, but having to restart at a new fertility center due to a trans-Atlantic move has led to challenges we hadn’t expected. Our old center was in the heart of Eretz Yisrael; our team knew more about fertility-related halachah than we ourselves did. Here, an ocean away, we find ourselves as ambassadors of sorts, explaining and presenting so many details to our non-Jewish team and non-observant doctor.
It all comes to a head when things take an unexpected turn. The results are in, and they’re different from what we’ve come to know. Our doctor wants to start a new protocol — and start it right now. We’re to check in with her first thing the next morning to begin.
The hours pass quickly in a flurry of phone calls between our local rav, our rav abroad, and our fertility organization’s advisor. We hash out details and discuss our options, but it doesn’t take much for us to reach a joint takeaway.
Yes, what our doctor is recommending would bring the best results, from a scientific standpoint — and quickly. But the halachah is not on her side. “At least not yet, not now,” says our rav. “The correct thing is to hold off for the time being.”
We hang up, and I cry. A lot. We’ve put so much into this treatment. So much energy and effort and cost and expense — financial, emotional, physical — juggling schedules and workloads and medications and emotions. It’s so hard to have to push it all away when success feels so close.
I dread having to call the doctor, knowing she will never understand this decision that seems so clearly self-sabotaging. I grapple with how to explain our choice and prepare myself for confusion, derision even.
I spend a lot of time that night thinking. I think of those who came before me, turning down jobs for Shabbos, holding back from seemingly obvious solutions, with full awareness of what and Who truly calls the shots. Their choices were met with scorn, their losses immeasurable, but they pulled through, somehow — week by painful week. How?
I can’t claim to understand their sacrifice. Their selflessness and purity is well out of my reach. But perhaps I can borrow some of their strength? Is there a way I can learn from their choices, until I, too, can give this up with joy?
Morning comes, and while the clarity helps, the ache is still there. I push myself to make the call with my head held high, infusing my voice with a confidence and chipperness that I don’t truly feel. The nurse who picks up is happy to chat, and I thank Hashem for sparing me from having to talk to the doctor directly. I know that too, will come, and I hope to be ready when it does.
Until then, I try and hold on to the small feeling of peace I feel emerging within. Rosh Hashanah is coming, and Elul has been hectic and crazy. But I wonder if perhaps, in my own small way, I’ve managed to crown Him King.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 811)
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