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 couldnt write; there was a barrier: the emotions buried under the surface that I didnt
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 wasnt 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 wasnt 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
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
artists 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-ds 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
ones 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 babys 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-ds 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 someones 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
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 husbands 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 lifes 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.