The Abortion that Wasn’t

The Abortion that Wasn’t

My husband, Joshua, occasionally performs weddings for secular couples. But when Josh married Gai and Liat (identifying details have been changed) about a decade ago, unlike the other couples Josh has met with over the years, Gai and Liat stayed in touch after the wedding. For about a year they regularly joined us for Shabbat meals, attended their first family Seder at our home, and became like unofficial members of our family.

But then Liat finished law school and Gai his MBA, and like many secular Israelis, as soon as they graduated they headed straight for Tel Aviv.
Over the years, we sadly completely lost touch with Gal and Liat, which is why it was so wonderful when a few weeks ago Josh ran into Gai, who informed Josh that he and Liat were working hard in their respective professions and also busy raising their 3 young children!
Which led to a beautiful reunion with Gai. Liat and their 3 adorable kids at our home one night this Chanukah.
For me it was magical, to see this lovely young couple now a family. Liat was no longer the insecure, hesitant law student who could never live up to her own uncompromising standards. Being the mother of her growing brood had blessed her, it seemed to me, with new composure and confidence.Their kids were mesmerized by the unfamilar candle lighting and prayers and singing. They also loved the latkes and sufganiot and bonded immediately with my kids over a lively game of dreidl.
While all of Gai and Liat’s kids were adorable, the youngest child, Shimon, immediately and especially captured our hearts. Shimon had a huge teethy smile, and out of the blue he would come up to us, flash his adorable smile and wave at Josh and me. This boy clearly had a special spark. We were in love.
So I was shocked when Josh whispered to me in the kitchen that Gai had told him that Shimon had been a “mistake.” Four years ago, Gai and Liat had already been so busy with their careers and 2 young children, how would they possibly handle another child? They had decided to abort.
In Israel, any woman who wants to undergo an abortion must have her request approved by a committee composed of 2 doctors and a social worker. Gai and Liat’s request was approved. The date for the abortion was scheduled. And then…Gao and Liat couldn’t. They wouldn’t.
I don’t know what brought about their change of heart. Was it her decision, his, or both? Had their parents known, and had they been for or against I wondered.
But as Shimon toddled around our living room flashing his teethy smiles and sharing heart-melting waves in the candlelight, I felt deeply jarred…to realize how easily this life, this light bright enough to light up the world (or at least a family) could have been so easily extinguished. And I felt such deep gratitude for all these lives, all these lights, my husband and I have chosen to bring into this world as well.

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