By Ronit Schwartz
When the cradle is empty, the nursery clean, and the basement devoid of toys we are hopeful for a quiet afternoon, perhaps a luxurious nap or time spent alone. We revel in those stolen moments and listen to the stillness, the silence offering a respite for a household bustling with children. Oh, how we sometimes long for that silence. But the silence surrounding those suffering with infertility is deafening. It is a silent cry for help, a pain invisible and unbearable. It can be a pain triggered by passing a playground on a summer afternoon or a mother rocking her infant to sleep, the agony of attending your niece’s Chumash play, your nephew’s fifth birthday, and yet another bris. Always someone else’s child, someone else’s simcha. Never your own.
Dreams. We all have them. Yesterday my son dreamed of being a policeman. Today his dream is to be a superhero, and tomorrow he will likely dream of being a baseball player. My daughter dreams of being a morah and a mommy. It is always the same dream. My son will eventually learn that superheroes don’t make a real living, and he may never play major league baseball. The death of these dreams will remain a fleeting thought wrapped in the memories of his childhood. Some dreams don’t always come true, but the wish of a couple to become parents is one that must come true.
We tend to mark milestones and celebrations of our children based on passing years and those that lie ahead. Another birthday passed and a grade in school accomplished. However, for couples facing infertility, the time is marked in months. Months passed, months passing, their bereavement growing. Each month marks another failure to conceive, to bring joy into their worlds.
The instinct and desire to produce a child can be as strong as the will to survive. When this desire is compromised, it is understandable that the grief that follows is overwhelming. Couples who are faced with infertility are not visibly ill and do not exhibit symptoms of a disease. They do not receive the support and compassion evoked by those with a physical ailment and yet their suffering is very real. Their prognosis may be bleak and the hurdles ahead overwhelming. Treatments are financially and emotionally draining and the promise of a bright future often masked by yet another month of failure.
The Gemara (Yebamos, 49) says that the sign of the Jewish nation is that we are meek, pitying, and bestowers of kindness. The Rambam expands on this and remarks that all Jews are siblings and it is our chiyuv to look out for one another. We are a single nation and therefore cannot turn a blind eye to those who are suffering.
Bonei Olam is an organization whose sole purpose is to provide funding for fertility treatments and offer emotional and physical support. Founded in 1999 in a small office in Brooklyn, Bonei Olam today boasts locations worldwide and the miraculous births of over 3,000 babies. Bonei Olam has a network of doctors and fertility centers who are experts in their fields. Trained counselors and medical experts are assigned to couples, helping them navigate the complex world of medical information and procedures in their quest to become parents. In this tough journey, Bonei Olam is there holding their hand, guiding them through, and bringing them one day closer to the dream of parenthood. Please join us in becoming a partner in their road to parenthood. For more information please visit www.boneiolam.com and join this Sunday, September 9 at 7:30 for an event at Sunny Atlantic Beach Club in support of Bonei Olam.