My Most Difficult Pregnancy of All by Elana Mizrahi

My Most Difficult Pregnancy of All by Elana Mizrahi

I think my most recent pregnancy was by far my most difficult, or maybe I just don’t remember the other ones. The circumstances surrounding the pregnancy certainly made it feel that way. My age and physical medical factors, which was a reality that I couldn’t change. My father passing away in the beginning of my third trimester compounded by being sick with Covid, a reality that I couldn’t change. It was hard and difficult and a lot at once.
Nights I would awake in pain from pregnancy pains. The pains of sciatica. The pains of varicose veins. The pains of a racing mind and a racing heart. Nausea that lasted all day and all night. Pains from standing too much and pains from sitting too much. Let’s put it this way. There was a lot of physical pain, exhaustion and discomfort. Which naturally impacted my emotional state.
And what was so ironic during all of this is that I’m a doula. I’m a childbirth educator. I teach classes to mothers and I counsel both newly expecting and veteran mothers. I am passionate and can talk hours and hours about pregnancy, birth, motherhood, family relationships. I love pregnancy. I love birth. I love motherhood and yet that didn’t take away from the pain. Nor did any homemade remedies, natural or not so natural cures. Nothing could alleviate me from the pain of what was my reality.
One night I awoke in my bed in pain. And then a thought struck me as I felt my baby move. “My G-d, this is truly AWESOME.”
And it is.
I then allowed myself to feel two things at the same time. I felt better.
I also realized that I am the only one who can experience what I experience and feel what I feel and that the situation that I was, it was from G-d.
You see, in life we think everything is one or the other. We think that feelings are exclusive. We tell ourselves, “I feel this, BUT….” Yet, I have been taught that it is not true. Life is complex and people are complex. In life there is such a thing called “and”. I feel this, and I feel that and it’s not a contradiction. G-d created man with a heart. The heart, has four chambers. In a single heart beat it both contracts and pumps. Oxygenated blood goes out as deoxygenated blood comes in. Symbolically, the heart can contain many emotions at the same time. Which enables one to conclude that yes, you can feel pain and discomfort and also feel happiness and gratitude. A person who is in pain can even experience and feel joy.
I’m thinking of myself and this most recent pregnancy. I’m thinking of all the times in my life where I have felt a mixture of emotions. Where there was pain and yet there was joy. Where an end brought a beginning and where I had to say goodbye in order to say hello. Where I had to feel something within my body, to experience a pain, a discomfort, a disappoint, a loss, even a fear. When there was something that I could do alleviate the pain or fear I tried to do it and when there was nothing to do. It was clearly out of my hands, simply accepting and understanding that this is from G-d, gave me peace of mind and tranquility.
We have a holiday, Purim, in which we celebrate and are supposed to act joyous and be “happy. The holiday is light and fun. It’s a holiday with a few obligations, but really no restrictions. We are told to eat, to enjoy, to be with friends, to give each other gifts. Our children dress up in costumes and there are parties and gatherings
Then there is a reality that people are alone on Purim. Not everyone has a festive meal to go to and not everyone is healthy nor (especially in light of current events) safe and secure. There is a lot going on in each person’s life, in each person’s home. How can we be happy? How can we be told to “be happy” with so much going on?
On Purim we read from Megillat Esther the story of Mordechai, Queen Esther, King Achashverosh and the evil Haman, who wanted to destroy all the Jews. It’s a story of an attempted genocide and a salvation. Who is the most instrumental person in the story of Purim? Esther.
It is Esther, who teaches us the lesson of “and” which in a way gives us permission to be on Purim, and every day, happy even when so much is going on and we are sad.
Esther was able to feel fear, pain, and doubt and still fulfill her brave and courageous mission by coming to plead to the king on behalf of her people. She was able to hold a space for prayer and fasting and a space for dressing in her royal gowns. Esther was able to be both humble and proud. She was able to have total faith in Hashem, that He would save them and yet actively do something to nullify the decree. Esther was able to be both hidden and revealed. Quiet, and yet speak.
In Purim maybe Hashem is asking us to put on an appearance and yes, also to feel, to both act and to be “real”. To be okay with the doubt, with the pain, with the feelings and at the same time, to trust and to know that G-d willing, the salvation will indeed come. It’s not a contradiction. It’s acceptance. It’s being. It’s trying. It’s peace of mind and simcha. It’s difficult. It’s awesome. It’s “and”.
There is always a Higher purpose and a Higher Power watching over us and orchestrating it all. The “megillah” מגילה in which Hashem’s name is never mentioned actually “reveals” (megale מגלה) to us His Presence. It is “and”. Hidden and revealed.
May we tap into the joy of Purim no matter where we are, who we are with, or where we are holding.
With blessings,
A freilichen Purim!
Elana Mizrahi is passionate about helping Jewish women to connect-to connect to Hashem, to themselves and to each other. She is a coach, published author, writer, and lecturer. In addition to teaching, Elana also specialized in Women’s Health, Infertility, Prenatal & Postpartum Care, Postpartum Depression, Birth and Fertility Related Trauma, Anxiety and works as a Doula, Birth Educator, Women’s Health Care Practitioner, Parenting Coach, Shalom Bayis Coach, Core M.M.C, Reflexologist, and Massage therapist. She teaches parenting classes (chinuch banim) and shalom bayit classes. Elana brings Torah into her healing practice and healing into her Torah classes.

3 comments

  1. Beautiful and inspiring! Gave me a lot of chizzuk. Thank you!

  2. THis is so much what I need to hear. I am struggling with an “and” for so long. Do I take this path because I so strongly feel this way or do I take this path because my emotions are strong on this side too?
    I hear it’s okay to feel both, but how do I decide? And maybe I’m not deciding at all, Hashem is really the one making the decision. But I totally get this contradictory “and”. Maybe I will contact her to help me!

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