Mourn with Me for the Children I Will Never Have by “Tamar”

Mourn with Me for the Children I Will Never Have by “Tamar”

The following heartbreaking letter was translated from the original Hebrew version which was posted today on Ynet.

I am writing anonymously for professional reasons, but that’s not the only reason.

I am writing anonymously because I am someone whom it is difficult to look at, somebody bad. A woman who has not fulfilled her mission in life. A childless single woman who is Israeli, and furthermore, religious is muktseh, set apart out of disgust. I am someone who has something wrong with her.

I am writing anonymously, because I don’t want pitying looks, whispers, or an abundance of advice and suggestions.

Let me present myself: I am a woman, 41 years old, religious, and single. A woman who from early child wanted to get married and to be a mother. I’m an OK person who looks OK and has a job and depth. A woman who dated for over 20 years, who has had relationships with men, was in this and that kind of therapy, workshops, segulot, singles shabbatons, was in Uman twice, prayed Monday-Thursday-Monday by the Tsaddik, lived in the neighborhood where all the singles live, and it didn’t happen. I didn’t get married. And I didn’t give birth. And today I understand that chances are I won’t give birth. And that’s what I want to talk with you about.

As I wrote, from early childhood, I wanted to be a mother. I loved playing with my dolls as though they were my children. I saw my sister kept her various collections to pass on to her children (and in the end she did give them to her children) and I did the same thing. Already in adolescence, I began to choose names for my children. My highschool classmates will testify that one of my hobbies during boring classes was to find out what each classmate wanted to name her children, and at the end of the year, my desk was full of the lists of names of the children of my classmates. When I did national service, I spent Shabbats at host families, and began collecting adorable family traditions which I saw at the different families and planned to do the same when I had children. I continued doing this in the years that followed. And I began to choose names for my children. My taste changed and the names changes as the years passed.

And I waited for them, for my children.

The years passed and I reached my thirties, and then my mid-thirties, and I understood that the dream of 10 children would not be realized. I understood I would have less. I froze eggs. I reached almost 40 and then 40 and I understood that I would have fewer children, and that maybe I wouldn’t have children at all. And now I am 41, with no partner and without my children. And after a quick calculation, I understand that it seems I won’t ever know them. Never. My children.

Trust me that I checked and researched options. My friends became mothers on their own and I have an acquaintance who is raising a child together with someone she made an agreement with. I love and respect my friends and their children and their choices. But those choices aren’t for me. I don’t want to give birth to a child outside of a loving relationship, and I don’t want to raise a child alone. If that annoys you and you think that if that’s the way I feel then I have no right to talk, that’s OK. Just stop reading at this point.

But if you are willing to put up with the idea that I prefer not to go against myself, even though I want children terribly, then you can continue.

So, as I said, by a quick calculation, my children will never be.

I don’t want to talk here about the social stigma, about the tear-filled nights, about the worries for the future, about the loneliness, about the fact that I will not have a continuation of myself in the Jewish people.

I want to talk about my mourning.

For the last half a year, I am understanding more and more, that it’s not going to happen. I am trying to digest the knowledge, that my life will not be at all as I wanted and planned for them to be. And to cope with that, and to make peace with that, and to try to be happy with that, and to trust Hashem, and to give thanks for what I do have. And for what I don’t have. To believe together with what is lacking.

Over the last few days, I have come to understand that I need to say goodbye to my children. My children, who were inside of me since I was small, maybe since I was born. The children whom I thought up and looked forward to and missed them and dreamed of them, and who I worked so very, very hard to meet them one day, and they never came. Whom I never actually met, even though I know them for so many years.

I feel like they are dying now. One after another, so quickly. I feel that they are dying. But they have no grave or funeral or shivah. My secret 7 children are passing away without a sound, in complete silence, without anyone sitting shiva for them.

I assume that married women who wanted or want children and they don’t have or don’t have yet, will identify with me. But I think there is a difference.

Maybe I am mistaken, but it seems to me that married women who wanted and tried, and with great pain did not merit to have children, society can tolerate that. When there is a couple without children, people will usually feel sorry for them.

That’s not my situation. I am alone. I am saying goodbye to my children alone. Without a spouse. And most importantly, without a society which will allow me to mourn. I am expected to suffer silently, because I am such an insufferable sight. Because I am a distorted woman, who never married and never had children. Maybe not a woman at all. I am expected to manage with my mourning alone, to smile at the world, to function and keep going.

But every night my children are dying. Whom I waited for so eagerly. Whom I missed for at least 40 years.

So in order to survive I am writing to you. So that you will join my shiva.

Be with me when I say goodbye to Hoshaya, to Akiva, to Tama, to Maayan, to Neta and to many more, goodbye my cuties. How much I yearned to meet you. But it wasn’t possible. Maybe we will meet in another life. I will continue to miss you. Not meeting you will cause me pain until the day I die; maybe also after.

Thank you, readers, who were with me.

You don’t know who I am, but it doesn’t really matter. Because maybe I am writing for other women like me. Because maybe, when you see us now at work, at the supermarket, at shul, you will know that maybe at night, alone; we buried a child, we sat shiva, and you will be with us in your heart.

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19 comments

  1. What can I or we do for this woman?? I want to do something to make her happy!

  2. I am heartbroken to read this. I also have single friends who must be going through the same agony, the same longing…

    I would love to do something l’ilui nishmas these children… which I hope will indeed be born. Hashem can do anything. But I would love to do something for the neshamos of these children now, even before they IY”H make it to the world.

    To all those going through this, I wish I knew what to say to you, to show that I care more than I can say, and that I feel so helpless knowing I have all you pray for but have no way to share it with you… Knowing of your loneliness but being unable to fill in the piece that you need. If I knew of potential husbands, I would run to share… I can’t tell you about all the times I tried, about all the times I hoped… but I want you to know that I will drop everything to dance with you at your chasuna, and to celebrate with you on the birth of a child.

  3. very hard to read. very painfull.

  4. this was truly unbearable to read. how can we help?

  5. I’ve never thought about it this way. Thank you anonymous writer.

  6. I just read it again. She says “I am someone whom it is difficult to look at, somebody bad. A woman who has not fulfilled her mission in life. A childless single woman who is Israeli, and furthermore, religious is muktseh, set apart out of disgust. I am someone who has something wrong with her.” I hope she’s saying it from what she’s think is “our” perspective, and that she’s doing all the inner work necessary to stop believing it about herself.

    • JewishMom

      I think she’s saying these things from what she feels is how society views her

  7. I saw this in Hebrew it is truly painful to read what this woman and many others are feeling on a daily basis.
    I’m grateful to the woman who shared this revealing and personal letter. a small window into experience of what she and others are feeling and living.
    There’s not much we can “do” but be kinder and more compassionate. Daven. And maybe be more sensitive about what we say in the presence of other people…….

  8. YES,there is something everyone else can do. It is not enough to feel bad for this girl. Every one who is married must constantly be trying to introduce the single people we know or meet, especially thosevwho are older. It is not enough to say “I don’the know anyone,” and get on with yourown life. If you don’t know someone, then ask everyone you meet – your friends, your relatives, your co-workers – everybody knows someone,and one never knows from where the right match will come.Don’t ever get to busy for this.Married people often get so busy with their own lives that they forget they were also once in this situation.Even everyone reading this article – stop and think – who do we know and who else can we ask if they know of someone for this girl.What a great opportunity, this article is reaching so many people. Contact ‘jewish mom’,if she is willing, who can probably get in touch with her. There should be a long list of possibilities by tomorrow! Maybe we all can facilitate this girl achieving her dream of getting married and having children.Many women have children well into their 40’s – today it is common! I implore everyone to try and help in this big mitzva.

  9. I think she is not asking for practical help. She’s been there and done that. She is asking you to suspend your judgment and to join her where she is emotionally. People have a hard time with this emotional exercise even at actual shiva houses. They want to bandaid the bad feelings, to minimize them, negate them, gloss over them because they are uncomfortable. It’s not easy to confront a painful reality. But she’s brave enough to be doing that. And we should applaud her bravery and join her in her pain. And just be there. Just understand and have compassion, without judgement, without bandaiding the pain. My experiences with older singles is that they are very sensitive and don’t appreciate that their being single is THE only topic people are interested in discussing in social settings. Have tact and sensitivity with suggesting ideas for them. Be discreet and private about it. Don’t make it the topic of discussion at the Shabbos meal where you’re hosting them. Don’t look at them with pity when you see them. Just understand in your heart that they may experience a private pain like this woman does. And let that guide the way you speak to them. But there are also women who don’t want to become mothers, so don’t assume all older singles feel the way she does. A private, tactful, respectful, sensitive conversation could go a long way, even if it doesn’t result in her getting married and having children. It could just give her a feeling of being respected, loved, and accepted. Thank you, Chana Jenny, for sharing this in English.

  10. She should not give up yet. She still has time especially if she froze her eggs. Each day is another day that she can meet someone. She can have children naturally for a few more years. Too soon to despair. Perhaps if she is confident and hopeful she will present a different face.
    Hatzlacha and may she merit children soon.

  11. Esther, you make a wonderful point. And so does Sarah
    🙂

  12. Thank you for this wonderful letter! I think it’s important not just for singles, but also for anyone whose life has permanently gone off the course they had planned: childless couples, wives of abusive spouses, mothers of children with debilitating diseases. We all mourn the loss of our hopes and dreams, and this letter is right on target.

  13. Mina Gordon

    Please understand that although the pain is real and excruciating, and as Chaza”l says that one should not attempt to comfort the mourner when his dead relative is still lying in front of him, still I feel that the there is another path in this dark tunnel.
    We cannot fathom the ways of Hashem, but we know there is Someone who is a metticulous bookkeeper upstairs. We may not be able to understand how He calculates His sums, but we are assured that everything matches up, and that each person has a unique mission to accomplish, and what looks incomplete to us is perfect in His eyes. Read what the Navi says about the barren ones, that He will make for them a “yad veshem”. Our high school Navi teacher who taught us those pesukim never had children, and I never forgot that lesson.

  14. Mina Gordon

    I want to add that the writer is truly a heroine, that she made a decision to act according to what she feels is what Hashem Yisborach wants, instead of thinking only of what would make her feel good. She is also brave and compassionate, to write about her feelings, so that others will understand the plight of people in her situation.May HKB”H send her blessings from His Full, Open, Holy, and Broad Hand

  15. My heart really goes out to you. I was almost in your situation and reading this brought back memories of those years.
    B”H, I was zoche to marry and have 2 young children, both born when I was in my 40’s.
    One thing that helped me out was remembering that Hashem has His plan for me – what I need to do to perfect His world – and my neshama. (Chaim B’rtzono” _ life as Hashem wants it to be, even if it is not how I wanted to serve him
    Kavei el hashem, Chazak v’ametz libecha v’kavei el hashem.

  16. Shelley, thank you for sharing your personal experience – truly inspiring!

  17. Hadassah

    Hashem should send comfort to the writer as only He knows how, whether He sends her bashert and children – or sends her the peace that comes with knowing she is fulfilling the tafkid Hashem has given her (even though it is not the one she would have chosen for herself). May we all see revealed goodness in our lives!

  18. Thank you for this wonderful letter and Channa thank you for your response. There are many whose lives go off the road they planned for for different reasons. Sometimes their is a universal let me hug you and pull you up support system and sometimes like in this case or other examples the topic is not “socially” appropriate. Regardless it is important to find a support system tailored to your needs with others who have gone through the challenge and IYH’m overcome, are in the middle of the challenge and just living with it. and those just realizing that they have this challenge.

    Either way H’shem does provide exactly what we need, he is our loving father and always there to make sure we have enough. It doesn’t mean we can’t grieve, we can’t feel our emotions, but we must know that we should find and search for support through the right channels and know that H’shem is watching over us and guiding us. Please H’shem let us follow your GPS and let us see the coming of Mosiach soon when we will only see beauty in this world.

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