Wednesday, January 25, 2017

Facing infertility month after month...the mikvah and infertility

Infertility can often feel like a slap in the face.  Don't kid yourself; I do try to have a positive outlook on all of this, but there are plenty of times where I get angry: thinking about all the effort I have to put into just trying to have a baby-and hey, isn't that supposed to be the fun part?!?  I could have bought myself plenty of wonderful things...had I not had to pay for fertility treatment. Even with insurance coverage, treatment still costs us several thousands of dollars.  Watching people around you get pregnant, have babies, while you're left with empty arms.  But for those of us who follow the laws of family purity, we're faced with an even bigger reminder of how broken our bodies really are.  

One of my first posts highlighted a brief synopsis of the laws of family purity and if you want to read more information you can check out some good articles HERE  and HERE 
Upon completion of at least 12 days of separation, immersion in a ritual bath, the mikvah, occurs.  The mikvah is supposed to be a beautiful commandment marries couples keep, and conveniently, mikvah night, the night where the couple's physical relationship can begin again, coincides with ovulation in a typically working female.  
On a very simple and basic understanding, the practice of keeping the laws of family purity, and then immersing in a mikvah, ensures conception occurs
in typically working couples. 

It's not surprising that keeping the laws of family purity, and finally immersing in the ritual bath, are one of the most challenging and distressing times for practicing Jewish women who are facing infertility.  
Having your faith tested month, after month
failure after failure. 

Today, I'm so happy to have a guest blogger talking about her experience with the mikvah while facing infertility.  My former roommate, Estee, wrote here before, only then she was in the midst of her struggle and her post went live anonymously.  
Today, I'm happy to report that she is a mommy to two little boys


When we were undergoing fertility treatment, I experienced a very big challenge in my religious obligation of family purity. After menstruating each month, a Jewish woman immerses herself in the mikveh (Leviticus 15:24-27). The mikveh is a ritual bath that allows one to achieve both physical and spiritual purity. It’s a beautiful concept and there are many redeeming factors to it, but when you associate this ritual with failure to conceive, it can become a painful one.
The Torah tells women to count seven days of their cycle before immersing in the mikveh. (Nowadays, we count five days of our cycle followed by seven days of no bleeding.) Most observant women refrain from sex, and many refrain from any and all physical contact with their husbands (even non-sexual touching or sleeping in the same bed) during these days. Many relationships suffer during the stresses of fertility treatment. It was an added challenge for me to separate physically from my husband during such a vulnerable and emotionally exhausting experience. When we went through a fertility procedure in which I failed to become pregnant, it felt like I was being punished. I began to dread going to the mikveh, and saw it as a sign of my failure to conceive.
I learned to overcome these feelings through extensive research into mikveh in addition to individual and couples therapy. I read articles by women experiencing situations similar to mine, and was awed to see how one such woman learned to rephrase her experience of mikveh as an act of courage. “It takes courage to walk into the mikveh while dealing with infertility. It takes courage and strength to ask Hashem (God) the same question, month after month, and to keep believing that life is really possible.” 1 It had never occurred to me that enduring fertility treatment could be a testament to my strength of character. This perspective allowed me to feel proud about myself.
A second perspective that I read up on taught me to treat both myself and others more kindly. Being unsuccessful with fertility treatments made me feel like a failure, but I learned that G-d loves me even despite my imperfections. G-d relates to us in the way that we relate to others, and I began to work on being more forgiving towards others.2
Finally, I needed to learn that the good fortune of someone else did NOT take away from me. I so often felt that all of the requests for having a baby had been granted to others and that there was nothing left for me. I needed to reframe this way of thinking. God runs the world, and the same God that could grant children to my friends could also grant children to me.3
Going to therapy was the additional step needed in allowing me to reframe my mindset. Instead of looking at the mikveh as solely a means through which I could conceive, I began to look at it as I did when I first got married, a means through which I could reconnect with my husband. As much as I yearned for children, I appreciated the marriage that I had with my husband, and felt lucky that it was a positive one.
I have posted one other time on this blog, in July of 2013. At that time, I was an anonymous guest writer sharing my experiences with infertility and my hope that one day I would conceive and give birth to a child. I can genuinely say that the time before we had children was one of the most painful periods of my life. Aaryn built me up and gave me confidence even when I was completely ready to quit. Aaryn, thank you, and I wish you so much success and happiness as you continue your journey to expand your family.
A Journey to Parenthood is a series I began a few years ago as a way to highlight the many different paths to becoming parents may look like.  It is about solidarity, uniting through the common struggle of infertility.  I would love to make this a monthly feature on the blog again. If you, or anyone you know is willing to share their story and would like to be featured, please comment or e-mail me!
   

4 comments:

  1. Estee, your boys are adorable. Yashar kochech to you for your thoughtful posting, and to you Aryn, for being such a source of inspiration to so many people.

    ReplyDelete
  2. I was diagnosed with poor ovarian reserve and very bad prognosis of having a baby with my own eggs. I was even given the option to consider donor eggs. That was around july 2014. I was absolutely devastated with the news and I arranged an IVF for November 2016 and it failed also, given that I had nothing to lose, I contacted ( agbazara@gmail.com ) i meet online and he send me his herbal product,. Believe it or not... I am already pregnant within few week after his help. contact him today with any kind of problem and be happy like me on:

    agbazara@gmail.com OR call or WHATSAPP +2348104102662

    ReplyDelete
  3. Don’t think of anything else just contact priest eka and purchase some of his herbal medication and your depression will go away. This was my state of mind when my doctor told me that i will not be able to concieve due to the Fibroid that was rolling in my family life and when i decide to reach out to the priest, and the priest told me what to do in other to get the medication. Eventually I receive all the Herbal medications that cure my Fibroid and give me the chance to become a proud mother: Eka is a great spiritualist, He did it for me, you can contact Eka on (dreka14demons@gmail.com). If you are suffering from the following gynecology disease::
    1. Fibroid, Asthma, All STD, sinus infection, unexplain miscarriage
    2.High Blood Pressure (herbs to reduce your BP within 7days)
    3. Infection, regular body pains (yeast infection),urine tract infection.
    4. Blockage from the fallopian Tube, Hepatitis
    5. Cyst from the ovaries, PCOS
    6. Unpleasant smell from the virginal, virginal itching
    7. Irregular menstruation
    8. Weakness of the penis (not able to have sex with your partner or inability to satisfy your partner sexually)
    9. Watering sperm (low sperm count) not able to get woman pregnant.
    10. Infertility for easy Conception.......
    11. Skin diseases, Toilet infection and bad body odor…….Etc..
    Simply contact the spiritualist DrEka on (dreka14demons@gmail.com) to get his Herbal Medication to cure your disease and put yourself on a motherhood side of life..

    ReplyDelete
  4. I want to use this means to let the world know that all hope is not lost Getting pregnant after having tubes clamped and burned, I know IVF and Reversal could help but it way too cost, i couldn't afford it either and i so desire to add another baby to my family been trying for 5 years, not until i came across Dr.AGBAZARA TEMPLE, who cast a pregnancy/Fertility spell for me and i got pregnant.l hope that women out there who are going through the same fears and worries l went through in GETTING PREGNANT , will find your contact and be happy like me as i drop it here on this site, and solution will come to them as they contact you. Thank you and God bless you to reach him email via: ( agbazara@gmail.com )

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