By Rachel Siegel
I have never been good at living in the moment. During maternity leave, when I spent most of my day on the couch nursing my son, building our special mother-son bond, I looked around my living room thinking about all the things I would do if I wasn’t stuck on the couch: put away gifts, write thank you cards, call the insurance company, CLEAN, and so much more. Last week I went to a funeral of a man who was so loved and respected by his family and friends and I was reminded, as I have been before, that life is precious and fleeting. You or your loved ones are often here one minute and gone the next. It is so important to live each day as one that you can be proud of, not take anything for granted and try your best to live in the moment.
Being wrapped up in the daily ups and downs of being the mother to a 13-month old, it is easy for me to forget just how grateful I am to be here. I have known since I was a little girl that I would be a mother one day and that I would love it. And I do. Even when I am stressed about what Noah will eat for lunch, or how I will leave work on time to pick him up from day care, or why he hasn’t yet taken a nap, I love being a mother.
There was a time that I was not sure I would get to this point. Last week, my husband reminded me that it was National Infertility Awareness Week. I know it is a coincidence that it fell during Passover, but I think the theme of liberation that we celebrate is very apropos. It has been a little while since I remembered the struggle that we went through to get pregnant, how careful we were once I got pregnant, and the rough pregnancy and delivery that I had. There were many tears and lots of frustration with friends, family, and community members. Luckily, my story was ultimately a happy one. I hear of other couples who struggle for years with infertility and I am so grateful that my case was a mild one. Unfortunately, infertility is still taboo and not spoken about as widely as it should be, though that is starting to change. Increased awareness has led to more services to those in need, physically, emotionally, and communally, including in the Jewish community.
I try to believe that things happen for a reason. Why I was one of six women who struggle with infertility in the Jewish community (higher than the national average of 1 in 8), I will never know. I do hope that my experience has made me stronger and ultimately a better mother. I hope that it has already and will enable me to be a better friend and support to others struggling. I will try to continue to remind myself how lucky I am, especially on the rough days of motherhood. I know that I need to continue trying to live in the moment and enjoy my time with Noah as much as I can, since time is moving way too quickly!