You Must Have 9 Kids to Qualify

You Must Have 9 Kids to Qualify

From my 3rd birth on, I would go straight with my newborn babies from the hospital to Beit Hachlama, the Recovery Home, a kind of hotel where postpartum women go to sleep a lot and share their birth stories over and over and eat lots of fantastic food (especially cheesecake) so they’ll return home stronger physically and emotionally to care for that newborn and that newborn’s siblings.
In my childbearing days many moons ago (my youngest is turning 7 next week) the hospitals would give a free night at Beit Hachama as a gift to any woman who’d given birth in their hospital.
But things, apparently, have changed.
Today, I ran into my friend who just gave birth, and she, it turned out, was on her way to the Beit Hachlama.
“It’s expensive though,” she told me, “and the hospital started only paying for a night of Beit Hachlama starting with your 9th child!”
This conversation drove home for me, yet again, how we Orthodox moms tend to live in a world where large families are (b”H!) the norm and that makes it increasingly easy to forget just how challenging pregnancy and birth and all-around being a mom is.
But just because “everybody” is doing it, doesn’t make it any easier! In fact, in a way, it makes it harder since we look around and see “everybody” having baby after baby and think this is normal.
And what’s the matter with ME that I’m the ONLY ONE who is struggling. (I’m for sure talking to myself as well).
But just think about it. How many moms in the world are coping with what so many Orthodox moms do? How many moms in the world have over 2.4 children, which at this moment is the average worldwide fertility rate? Not to mention that Orthodox moms tend to have their children closer together and have additional responsibilities like preparing for Shabbat, the equivalent of preparing for Thanksgiving every single week.
And I just want to say that if I could I would send every mom to a Beit Hachlama! Those who gave birth yesterday and those who gave birth 2 years ago (or 7 years ago–I’ll send myself too!). Those with 10 children and those wiith 1. We all deserve a vacation, a pat on the back for all our hard work. And of course I would throw in cheesecake too. Lots!

6 comments

  1. love this post!
    Apparently Bikur Cholim gives 1 free night of beit hachlama.
    Chana Jenny, can you please share how you were able to go (without family here to help watch your kids?)
    I dream to go to beit hachlama but practically wonder how my husband can deal with everyone (and take off of work) for 3+ days without any extra help?

    • I found that lots of Israelis are in the same boat as us, since they usually don’t live in the same city as their parents and their children need to stay close for schools. The best option is to find a few friends with whom you can exchange, so you take their children for a few days when they have a baby and in then they will take your children.

      This is a win, win for everyone.

    • my mil would come for every birth, so between her and my husband it was OK.

  2. Mina E. Gordon

    Thank you Chana- for reminding us how amazing women are!
    I think however that we may also need to be reminded that having children is not just a difficult task that we need to work on; it is also the greatest blessing.

    Let us appreciate our children, they are our greatest assets.

  3. My grandma always said that children are an investment, grandchildren are the dividends and great grandchildren are compound interest! We take on a very rewarding challenge with each child. Their health and ours is not guaranteed. I was 23 years old when I had a son with Down Syndrome. We need to acknowledge Hashem daily for these precious gems.

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