One Mother’s Embarrassing Secret

One Mother’s Embarrassing Secret

I’m struggling with a certain personal issue which I’m embarrassed to share.
So when I saw that there would be a class this week on my exact issue at the annual Binyan Shalem conference on family and marriage, I went. To get some perspective and chizuk. On the way to the class, yikes! I ran into somebody I know. B”H, she didn’t ask me what class I was rushing to. And she was (I noticed) vague about what class she was on her way to as well…
When I entered my lecture on my problem a few minutes late, I discovered around 500 other women sitting there, also in need of perspective and chizuk.
The lecture was great, just what I’d been yearning for. But maybe just as important, looking around at all the other women there, I understood that I’m not alone. That there are other women, in fact LOTS of them, going through what I’m going through.
And afterward I thought about the 8000 (plus) women filling the lecture halls of Jerusalem’s International Conference Center at the Binyan Shalem Conference this year.
I thought about the women in the class titled “When Marriage is Tough.”
The women in the class, “Our child isn’t religious anymore .”
The women in the class, “When mental illness hits home.”
The women in the class, “Facing addiction in your family.”
The women in the class: “Post-Partum Depression: Coping and Prevention.”
The women in the class, “Mothering Your own Kid at Risk.”

All of us women, feeling like we are the only ones.
But we’re not.

4 years ago, after my youngest child was born, I spent a few days at the Beit Hachlama in Telzstone to recuperate. I have such sweet memories of that place and the conversations I had with the cool JewishMOMs I met there.
But the memory that’s seared most deeply in my soul from my time there is the memory of over a hundred Jewish mothers lighting Shabbat candles together in the dining room.
Other Fridays, I thought that night, each one of us lights candles on her own. Behind her own locked door. Alone with our own personal blessings and secret struggles.
And sitting together with those other mothers watching our Shabbat candles flickering by the window, against the falling darkness, I realized that that is how Hashem sees us always. Even in our own homes. Behind our own locked door. Hashem sees us alone and also standing together.

And that knowledge alone gave and gives me strength.

8 comments

  1. That feeling of isolation can make what is already a challenging time all the more challenging.
    We are on the verge of having to put our child into a non Jewish special needs school as there isn’t a Jewish school that fits his needs. I feel like I’m the only one in my community having to do this. Very very hard.
    Is anyone else out there in a similar boat?
    His needs are behavioural and emotional rather than academic.

    • JewishMom

      oy, that sounds challenging! I’ve read about that situation quite a few times I think in ami and mishpacha. but i live in israel so haven’t known anyone personally.

  2. Thanks, it is. I remember seeing an article in one of the magazines recently but lost it. It had contact details of the author. I wonder if anyone knows it?

  3. I could have written this and so could have most women I know (I mean re embarrassing issue, I didn’t get the chance to go to amazing classes like that as yet). The issue just changes. Being private is beautiful but can be isolating too. BH we have these gatherings of women!

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