On The Path To Healing

On The Path To Healing

By Divine Providence, the deadline for this article fell on the anniversary of my own miscarriage three years ago. I planned it, wrote and rewrote the article in my head, revising it for months.

As the deadline loomed near, I found that I couldn’t write; there was a barrier: the emotions buried under the surface that I didn’t want to release and feel. I waited until the time of year passed that marked the anniversaries of the dates I found out the pregnancy wasn’t viable, the date the bleeding started, the date the labor began and I delivered my empty egg sac, the date the “after-birth” contractions ended. It wasn’t until after that time had passed that I finally felt ready to unearth the words I had long ago written to assuage my own feelings along with the pain of others’ deep emotional wounds.

Healing is an ongoing process. Even when we feel we are finished with our mourning and acceptance, there can be times when we revisit the deep pain of our loss. Indeed, one of my friends, who had also experienced a miscarriage, was told that women have “wells of tears” and sometimes they overflow and that they need to do so. I can certainly attest to that!

When G-d created the world, He left some things for us to do in order to complete Creation. Every person, in fact, every soul, has its own special mission in order to fulfill its purpose in the world and to help complete it. We do not always know what our mission is; rarely do we know for sure. For some it may be a dramatic contribution to the world of medicine, such as discovering the cure for a disease, or a major contribution to the field of education, or an artist’s great masterpiece, or a moment of quiet and serenity as someone restores peace and order to chaos.

Many people may have a relatively undramatic mission that is nevertheless essential to the interconnectedness of the world. It could be as simple as passing a tissue to someone in tears, helping someone cross the street, listening to someone cry, applauding the lecturer who needs recognition, or smiling at someone who has no smile of their own.

Each individual mission is essential for the completion of G-d’s plan for the world. Some may take a lifetime to fulfill; yet others are actually fulfilled while in utero and the soul need not even enter the physical world. Our tradition teaches us that not all souls have bodies. Every time a married couple unites together they bring down a soul. Some souls enter the world in a physical form; others are so pure and righteous that their mission is fulfilled just by being created or during a short duration in the womb.  While in the womb, the soul is taught Torah with its own special teacher, an angel of G-d. The womb is a private house of study for special learning. Just before birth, the soul forgets the Torah learned and endeavors to relearn it after birth*.

A soul that completes its mission in utero or soon after birth is held to be very pure and is a special merit for the couple that was chosen to bring it into the world. When our righteous Messiah (Moshiach**) arrives, these souls will recognize and reunite with their parents. Even though the parents endure real pain and loss, it is a blessing to have merited having such a pure soul within one’s womb for however short or long a time.

But, this explanation feels incomplete to me. My husband and I suffered a loss. Every parent who conceives a child who does not live to be born feels tremendous sense of loss and pain and feels a strong sense of something missing. I miss the pregnancy. I miss the baby. I miss the baby’s Torah learning within my womb. I miss the angel, and I miss the cherished dream of birthing that baby in September and raising him or her lovingly with my husband. I miss being treated like a pregnant, expectant mother. I miss the treasured sharing of the expectation with my husband. I miss confiding in my mom and sisters and close friends. I miss being able to tell everyone that I was pregnant. I miss the baby. Knowing what I do about Jewish wisdom comforts me and encourages me. But, I still feel the pain. I still feel the loss. Yet, I know that this was G-d’s will. The little soul, who learned Torah within my womb, is a special soul and I was blessed to have that soul within me – and how I miss that soul.

Acknowledging someone’s pain and letting them cry is one of the greatest gifts a person can give. It helps the missing not hurt as much.

Within a year after my miscarriage, indeed, before our original due date, I became pregnant again. Even though my healing and acceptance had begun well before I conceived, the hope of a new baby certainly helped heal the emotional wounds.

I gave birth very happily and healthfully to a baby boy, whom we named Tuvia, which means goodness of G-d, or G-d is good. He is named symbolically for my father and my husband’s father, may their memories be for a blessing; and to give appreciation to G-d for all of His blessings, and for all the challenges and seeming obstacles on our path towards the blessings. We are grateful to G-d not only for the blessings, but also for the journey. I can let go of the pain of the past as I embrace the future with love, hope, prayer and thanks.

* Learning Torah in utero is a kind of head start from G-d. Instead of starting from scratch, everything will be just a little bit familiar so that all you learn will in actuality be a review of what was once learned and then forgotten. In learning through life’s experiences and your own efforts, true knowledge is absorbed and treasured, versus spoon fed knowledge that is easily lost and has little value. (Talmud: Nidda 30B)
** Moshiach (lit. "the anointed one") the Messiah. One of the 13 principles of the Jewish faith is that G-d will send the Messiah to return the Jews to the Land of Israel, rebuild the Holy Temple and usher in the utopian Messianic Era.

Reprinted with permission from Natural Jewish Parenting. Lilly Rubin-Sokoloff is a mother, writer, teacher and certified massage therapist with a private practice in Chicago, IL. She leads a support group for Jeiwhs women coing with primary and secondary infertility and it the list own of the 'healthy kosher' email group.


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