This morning I had a meeting with my Rabbi to discuss how the synagogue can support those in our community who are struggling with infertility. Starting last fall, around the high holidays, we told our Rabbis that we had been diagnosed, had done IVF, and had a loss. I was struggling. We usually participate in the High Holidays services, but I wasn’t feeling up to it (and had actually skipped services the year before). They were incredibly supportive, and have been in touch with us regularly since then. (One of my Rabbis helped me with the mikvah ceremony I did recently.) They also reassured us that others in the community had been talking to them about their own journeys with infertility and adoption. Since then, the synagogue has been committed to finding a way to support this part of the community. I am thrilled to be a part of these discussions, and I also hope it will help me reconnect to my faith.
Unfortunately, I wasn’t able to find a way to reconcile my participation in religious services with my infertility. For me, it was just too damn painful to be in that space. Our synagogue has an incredible community, but it’s very family-oriented. For me, it was just to hard to see that community, knowing that I couldn’t be a part of it (yet). There was one Saturday morning when I walked into the lobby of the building, saw all the strollers, and had a full-on panic attack. I left the building and I didn’t go back. At one point, I tried reaching out to one of the Rabbi’s about what I was dealing with early in the process, and while he was kind, it just didn’t feel like he “got it.” Now it’s been more than two years since I’ve gone to services regularly. I’m starting to feel ready to reconnect with my spirituality, but it’s still hard, and I know I need to be careful about those “trigger” situations. (Even this morning I was overwhelmed by all the kids attending day camp at the synagogue. WOAH.) Looking back, I know that I was protecting myself from inevitable pain that I didn’t know how to manage, but I also lost a lot by removing myself from that community. I’m so glad to know that we might be creating a way for people to stay connected and find support and comfort during such a difficult time.
So, my question for you all - what do you wish your faith community would do to support you in your infertility journey? (Yes, I’m Jewish, but I want to hear from EVERYONE on this!) Please leave a comment or tweet me!