When Dalia Davis was in her late 20s, she wanted to have another baby. But it wasn’t to be. Not right away, anyway.
“We struggled for a long time,” she says. “And I noticed that being in the Jewish community was challenging. There was questioning and comments. People meant well, but they didn’t know how to talk to me.”
Davis felt alone.
“There wasn’t any Jewish place to turn within our community that was about healing and emotional connection,” she says.
And so Uprooted
was born. The organization offers a mix of education and advocacy for people on a “fertility journey,” Davis calls it. “We help people dealing with a miscarriage, a loss, et cetera. We don’t like to say ‘infertile.’ It feels final. This is a journey, because who knows how it will end?”
The “uprooted” name comes from the sense of isolation and otherness people often feel when struggling to start a family.
Through Uprooted’s program, hopeful parents can confide in mentors who grappled with similar family-building issues, ranging from adoption to miscarriage to difficulty conceiving to same-sex parenting, egg donation and surrogacy. The free service pairs “travelers” on the journey with a “guide” who’s been there for support and encouragement through confidential emails, phone calls, Skype and in-person meetings. Uprooted recently obtained a grant through Combined Jewish Philanthropies, and they’re now recruiting mentors in the Boston area. (The program connects participants nationwide.)
“The goal is to find a person who knows what you’re going through and for them to be there for you, especially if you don’t have a community like a synagogue,” Davis says. “We understand people’s desire for privacy.”
Davis is also a dancer, and she’s working with actors and musicians in New York City to create a performance centered around various Uprooted narratives. Uprooted is also working with Mayyim Hayyim on a fertility healing guide.
And although Davis went on to have more children after years of trying, she remembers how lonely she felt while undergoing her own fertility journey. After three years of trying while modifying her diet, taking up acupuncture and embarking upon an adoption process, she and her husband learned they were expecting identical twins.
“I still feel like they were our miracle,” she says.
But she remembers the pain that came first.
“I wish people didn’t feel so lonely, and I wish people knew that they shouldn’t feel self-blame. And for those who aren’t going through it, it’s helpful to understand how painful it is. The best thing you can do is listen. Don’t give advice,” she urges.
To learn more about Uprooted and to connect with their mentoring and other programs, visit their site.