The doctor poked and prodded for what felt like hours. My skin was bruised from needles and blood work and my heart felt a heaviness I never could have anticipated. This was not my first fertility treatment nor would it be my last. I was so angry, so bitter and so broken that hope seemed to be slipping away as my friends, one by one, got pregnant.

I spent about two-and-a-half years trying to get pregnant and ultimately went through 11 fertility treatments. I had one miscarriage at 20 weeks before finally having a successful pregnancy; my son was born last November.

I used to read stories like this and watch TED Talks about people on fertility journeys and always hated how they ended up with a child. It felt so cruel, and yet it also gave me hope during a dark time. During my journey I found comfort and healing in many things: meditation, yoga, therapy, running and, surprising myself, deep Jewish prayer. I went to Temple Israel almost every Friday night as a place that seemed grounding and filling of spirit.

And yet it was hard. Hard to watch the baby-namings. Hard to see pregnant people come in and out. Hard to watch parents beam as their children sang and blessed the challah on Friday nights. Judaism grounded me during this time. It washed me over with prayer and hope, and yet it reminded me of how much I wanted what I couldn’t have. To be pregnant. To start a family. To beam as the future generation basked in Shabbat light.

Related

How do we, as a Jewish people, create safe spaces for people who are—by choice or not—unpartnered, unmarried, un-“2.5 children and a dog”? How do we make this community feel as loved, valued and supported as the ideals we read about in texts and see at our places of worship?

I think a good place to start is to talk about it. To write about it. To cry and laugh about it. To commune about it. To not “otherize” it, but to invite this kind of challenging dialogue into our communities, our spirits and our hearts. I believe we are starting to poke at just this at Temple Israel this spring as we embark on running a fertility journeys group in partnership with Uprooted.

If you or anyone you know is looking for a safe and welcoming space to talk about what it means to be part of the Jewish community while on a fertility journey, I hope you will encourage them to attend.

This post has been contributed by a third party. The opinions, facts and any media content are presented solely by the author, and JewishBoston assumes no responsibility for them. Want to add your voice to the conversation? Publish your own post here.