I know you don’t mean to stab me when you ask me how old my baby is
I don’t know what I stand to gain by counting the number of times I get asked the question, “So, how’s your baby? How old is she now?” But I feel like doing it anyway.
It was after 13 long and difficult years of waiting that we finally merited our miraculous, beautiful, precious little girl. She was a dream come true and the world rejoiced with us. The joy that everyone displayed reminded me of how much they’d actually cared when I was hurt by their insensitive comments. The gifts, the simchah, the care — it was so touching.
According to the doctors, the next one was supposed to follow easily. According to Hashem, it wasn’t. When our hopes were dashed month after month, we knew we needed to go back to the doctor. He didn’t think it was a serious problem. A few months of medication and everything would be fine, he said. It was great we came right away because, since we’d married a little late, our time frame was limited, but it should sort itself out soon.
A few months passed. The “no big deal” meant difficult medication, regular blood tests, ultrasounds, needles, constantly counting days and hours, and endless stress. But that was nothing compared to our past experience, and besides, soon everything would be fine.
So we did it all, and we did it all, and we did it all. And after two long years, the doctors decided to probe deeper, and discovered that according to their (very limited!) knowledge, there was nothing they could do to help us have another child.
It’s been four months since their verdict. We know our hishtadlus has to be in the realm of the ruchniyus and in a way that’s easier, because I don’t have to go through the constant stress of treatment. But it’s not only needles that cause pain.
My beautiful, precious little girl has already started kindergarten and is mature beyond her years. We love her, she’s our life, but we don’t want her to be our only child. I go to the park, I sit with women way younger than me, all with large families, and I’m running after my one little girl. They all schmooze and relax, and I can’t breathe watching her go up the tall slide because she’s my whole life.
I do my best to do chesed, to be a good mother and wife, and try my best to run a happy home. I buy gifts for my friends who are, baruch Hashem, constantly having babies, and I share in their simchahs. But last night I had another difficult disappointment, and right afterward I went to a chasunah and counted three people asking me about my baby. So now I decided to sit down and write.
I know you mean well, and I know you don’t mean to stab me when you ask me how old my baby is. But it does stab me. Although I smile and tell you she’s already in kindergarten, inside I cry.
Yet as I sit down to write, I remember the doorbell constantly ringing and gifts arriving from friends and barely-friends, I remember the true joy you all felt when you met me pushing my carriage down the street, I remember the dancing in the shul for my husband, and I remember that you really care so much about me, and know you’re showing it by asking me about my baby.
You’re telling me that you remember my pain and are glad I had my yeshuah, you’re telling me that you still care about it four years later, and without you even knowing it, you’re reminding me — I did have a baby, and, with Hashem’s help, one day I will have another one too.
And for that, I’d like to tell you thank you.
(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 703)
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