Six years ago tonight, I stood in the synagogue and prayed more fervently than I ever had. I cried, I pleaded, I rocked back and forth on the balls of my feet. I begged God for the clarity to understand why I was denied the chance to mother my child, for the grace to recover quickly from my miscarriage, and for the good fortune to get pregnant again and have a chance to be a mother.
Five years ago tonight, I wasn’t especially hungry. I was pregnant and sick with a cold, and wasn’t planning to fast. I prayed, if not as feverishly as the previous year, for a safe birth and a healthy baby.
Four years ago tonight I took K into services with me and hugged her close while I sang the Yom Kippur liturgy. I was thankful, so thankful, that I finally was a mother. The shehecheyanu – the prayer of thanks for being able to reach this day – never felt more apt.
Three years ago tonight I was feeling testy from the fertility drugs and hormones flooding my body. I had just received a jubilant email from an aquaintance announcing her second pregnancy. Why was it so easy for her, and so hard for me? We were nearing the end of our options: we’d finally made the jump to in-vitro fertilization. I was terrified that if it didn’t work, I’d have a hard time being with our friends who had more than one child. I davenned, prayed, that God would give me the strength of character to accept the outcome of our treatments with patience and peace.
Two years ago tonight I snuggled our tiny baby boy in a Moby wrap and tried to daven, though my attention was mostly on K’s behaviour and N’s feeding cues.
One year ago tonight I was heavily pregnant – overdue, in fact – and didn’t fast for fear that I’d end up going into labour too hungry and depleted to be able to push. I prayed for my labour to start soon.
Tonight I hope to have at least ten minutes to myself to truly pray. I need to thank God for the family that I feared I might never have, I need to atone for all of the big and small ways that I’ve messed up this year, and to pray for patience and strength in caring for this crazy brood, because some days it’s all I can do to close my eyes, grit my teeth, and mutter, “I prayed for this.”
To everyone observing Yom Kippur, Gmar Chatima Tova (may you be inscribed in the book of life) and have an easy fast.