Ladies in Waiting: Some Thoughts on Making Waiting Easier

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Last week I got a phone call from a young woman who has been married for 3 years, and has been unable to get pregnant. “The doctors say everything is fine. And if I knew I would get pregnant in six months or 16 months or 26 months even, then it would be so much easier. But this waiting and not knowing if I will ever have a child is so incredibly difficult.”

Infertility is one of the most difficult challenges a human being can face. A student once told the Torah scholar Nechama Leibowitz, “You never had children, but look at your thousands of students whom you have influenced so deeply! We are your children!” And she shot him a look dripping with pain, and said, “When Isaac was brought to slaughter by his father during the Akeda, he still could not begin to fathom the pain of a woman who waits and waits to become a mother.”

But the truth is that we moms know that even after we become mothers, the waiting doesn’t end. We are waiting to give birth. We are waiting for the baby to start sleeping through the night. We are waiting to get pregnant…again, and then we wait some more. We are waiting for our husbands to change, for our children to change, for our lives to change.

Waiting is the essence of being a woman.

But that doesn’t make it any easier.

So what can make your waiting easier? Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi explains that a woman who is waiting should focus on gratitude.

You don’t have a baby—but, thank G-d!, you do have a husband who is your best friend, you do have a job you love, you do have time to write songs and study Torah.

Your family bank account has crashed, and until things improve you can’t afford help in the house—but, thank G-d!- you have three children, everybody in your family is healthy, and you own a home in a great Jewish neighborhood.

You have difficult pregnancies, and this one has been particularly brutal—but, thank G-d!- your parents live nearby and come twice a week to watch the older kids, you always dreamed of having a large family and you are well on your way to achieving that life goal, and at least your babies are born sleeping through the night…

Be grateful for what you have because that daily dose of gratitude will be the spoonful of sugar that makes your own personal dose of waiting sweeter, shorter, easier.

(This article was based on the classes of Rabbanit Yemima Mizrachi)

And now scientists have also figured out what we Jews have always known—that gratitude promotes health and happiness. Read the cool scientific findings here:

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