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    While some are
    counting down to
    Mother’s Day this

    Sunday with great ex-
    citement and anticipa-
    tion, many are looking

    at the calendar with
    dread and anxiety. For those desperately

    longing to have a child but have been de-
    nied by nature or because they are waiting

    to find a spouse, Mother’s Day and all the
    fanfare that surrounds it only pours salt in

    While many of our young men and wom-
    en of marriageable age assume that once a

    couple decides they would like start a
    family it is simple to conceive and bring a
    healthy baby into the world, the truth is
    not so simple. One out of eight couples
    suffers from infertility, which includes the

    inability to get pregnant, secondary infer-
    tility, or loss of a pregnancy/stillborn. Up

    to twenty percent of those who do become
    pregnant experience a miscarriage. Eighty

    percent of those miscarriages occur with-
    in the first trimester, when the couple is

    unlikely to have told anyone they were
    expecting and before the woman begins to

    Our matriarch, Rachel, knew the pain of
    childlessness. She screamed out, “im
    ayin, meisa anochi, if I don’t have a child

    I am already dead,” from which the Ge-
    mara (Nedarim 64b) likens that the pain

    of being childless while wanting children
    to a form of death. Indeed, those longing
    to have children describe the pain of their

    disappointment as the death of their
    dreams and hopes and the grief similar to
    the loss of a loved one who isn’t coming

    back. Day after day of taking shots, under-
    going fertility treatments, attempting IVF

    cycles, and going into debt to afford it all
    is extremely painful, but well worth it if
    resulting in a healthy baby. But when the

    results come back negative, the proce-
    dure turns out not to help, or the IVF

    proves unsuccessful, the physical and
    material pain is negligible compared to
    the emotional agony and anguish.

    Compounding this deep pain is the re-
    ality that most of the people struggling

    with infertility or who have suffered a
    miscarriage are
    grieving without
    anyone even
    knowing. They are
    forced to spend

    their days interact-
    ing with others as

    if all is well, when
    in fact it isn’t.
    Since others
    don’t know about
    their struggle,
    they are deprived

    of awareness, sup-
    port, love, or as-
    sistance and it

    leaves them feel-
    ing lonely.

    Talk to anyone

    suffering with in-
    fertility, or with

    loneliness and the
    longing to meet
    someone and start
    a family, and they
    will tell you that

    worse than the in-
    difference of

    friends and ac-
    quaintances is the unintentional insensi-
    tivity of so many who have been blessed

    with healthy children and who make com-
    ments, tell stories, share pictures, or com-
    plain about their kids.

    Our parsha enjoins us, V’chai achicha

    imach, when your brother or sister is feel-
    ing down and out, uplift them and support

    them. We can’t necessarily help our single
    family and friends find their spouse and
    we often don’t even know who around us
    is in anguish from infertility. However, we
    can all do better—we must do better—to
    be sensitive in how we talk, what we post,
    when we share.

    On Mother’s Day, rath-
    er than turn to social

    media as a public stage

    to profess love and ap-
    preciation to mothers

    and wives, we should
    directly and personally
    tell the mothers in our
    lives how we feel, or
    take the time to write a
    private heartfelt card
    making our loved one

    feel good without mak-
    ing others feel bad.

    Rachel’s prayers were
    answered, and her hopes
    realized. She not only
    became a mother, but is
    known in perpetuity as
    our Mama Rachel, the
    mother of our whole
    people. Take a moment
    on this Mother’s Day
    weekend and pray that
    all those longing to be

    married and those long-
    ing to have children

    have their prayers an-
    swered and their dreams