| Words Unspoken |

To My Friend at the Infertility Clinic

He gave us one of the most beautiful brachos we’ve ever received, “May you have much bruchah, hatzluchah, and nachas”


To My Friend at the Infertility Clinic,

I was quick to learn the social norms, nuances, and rules of the early-morning appointments at the infertility clinic. No talking. The waiting room may be full, but no one wants to be acknowledged or talked to at an unearthly hour, in a personal space.

Until one morning when someone broke the silence.

It was 5:30 a.m. in the surgery center at the clinic’s main location. Outside the building, the moon was shining brightly, the world was still and dark, and a thin layer of frost covered the ground. Inside, the building was eerily empty and silent; the perky receptionist hadn’t yet arrived.

So many hopes and dreams were pulsing through the very atmosphere. My husband and I entered the elevator. A moment later a young chassidisher man — a boy really, he couldn’t have been much older than 20 — walked into the elevator. I looked down, trying to give him some space and privacy. As a veteran to the world of infertility, I’d been there, done this before. This young man looked so vulnerable, so young — too young to be dealing with this.

Fifteen long seconds passed in silence, until we reached the second floor. I got out of the elevator. The young man suddenly looked up at my husband, and with tears in his eyes, he gave us one of the most beautiful brachos we’ve ever received, “May you have much bruchah, hatzluchah, and nachas.”

And with that, he disappeared down the hallway, and we never saw him again.

Several days later I was back in the clinic for routine monitoring. The room was filled to capacity, and the line was endless. I found myself sitting beside you, a sweet, refined frum woman. Like the young chassidisher man from a few days ago, I wanted to break the silence, to smile and perhaps give you some chizuk. Twenty minutes passed in silence. I lowered my medical mask to take a sip of coffee and our eyes met. It was my chance. I smiled. You smiled back.

I decided to say something very neutral. “What’s up with the wait this morning? It’s forever.”

You smiled back and rolled your eyes. You must have been desperate for a listening ear, for a friend who got it, because you opened up. And for the next 45 minutes you told me all about your infertility journey.

I sympathized and shed a tear or two. But mostly I just listened with my full heart. You experienced so many ups and crashing downs. You dealt with so many curveballs, so many challenges that the rest of the world knew nothing about. By coincidence — Hashgachah, really — we were both dealing with the same obscure issue. Talking to you was one of the most validating experiences in my infertility journey.

I was able to share a few valuable tips, which you appreciated, and you shared some with me. That hushed early-morning conversation with you was a real gift.

And then a nurse called my name and the magic was over. Slowly I got up, smiled, and walked away.

As I followed the nurse down the hallway, I realized that our short-lived friendship was sadly over. I didn’t know your name, where you lived, or anything about you. Shortly after that visit I was, baruch Hashem, discharged from the clinic for good reasons, and I would never see you again.

But I want you to know that I still think about you. I’m hoping that one day soon I’ll bump into you somewhere, and you’ll be pushing a baby carriage. How my heart will fill with happiness!

But until that happens, I want to wish you the same brachah we received from the young man in the elevator. “May you have much brachah, hatzlachah, and nachas.”

Your Friend Who Is Thinking of You


(Originally featured in Family First, Issue 879)

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