There's a concept, most often associated with war, called "survivor's guilt". It’s an emotional reaction that’s common for those that endure a traumatic experience and see themselves as having done wrong by surviving the event when others didn't. In addition to combat survivors, this condition is also found among survivors of natural disasters, terrorist attacks, and in my work experience, even cancer survivors. I see now that it can also be applied to those that experience infertility or pregnancy loss. I'm grateful beyond words for my daughter but the pure joy is often compounded by the reminder that so many others are still struggling.
You see, for a while, I wondered why we had to struggle while others didn't. And now the question remains but slightly different. "Why was I blessed and not them?" "What did I do to deserve this while they still have to wait?" It feels strange celebrating that we had a child when so many others are still pursuing treatment, and more invasive treatments, for longer periods of time than we did. I want to be a "normal" mom and post a million pictures a day, parade my daughter around, talk about her progress, etc. I want to join "mom" conversations now that I "belong" but I can't. I feel guilty because I'm all too aware of those still struggling, publicly and privately. So maybe I need a therapist to help me work through my issues but the point is that I'm forever changed by this journey- even now, as a mother. And even though I'm in a different place, my heart is always with you. I will always identify with you and be here for you. I will continue to pray for you and offer support, guidance, and encouragement until one day, Gd willing, you'll join me in this new journey.
I kindly ask you all to please print the prayer list on the blog and during the High Holidays, (if you observe them) say a little prayer for those individuals who are still awaiting their blessing. And when we say the Unetaneh Tokef prayer and ask "how many shall be born" this year, let us have each other in mind. In this merit, may everyone's prayers for this New Year be answered for good and may it be a year of health, happiness, and blessing.
Note: There's an amazing new Facebook group that serves as a support group/chat forum for Jewish women and men experiencing infertility or pregnancy loss. It is a private group and your comments/questions can only be seen by members of the group. Please take a minute to check out the group and consider joining. It's an amazing thing to be able to give and gain support. (In facebook, search for the group "Infertility/Pregnancy loss support group for women of the Jewish community")