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Letting Go

Letting Go

Dealing with Secondary Infertility

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When we first tried to conceive I asked the doctor if we would have to endure infertility treatments every time we wanted to have a child. I wanted him to tell me that once I conceived, I could put all the injections and pills behind me and from then on conceive naturally. He didn’t. Instead he told me honestly, "I don’t know."

Treatment after treatment, month after month, year after year, my womb remained empty. Nothing happened except the pain in my heart grew stronger. I felt like everyone around me was pregnant and having babies. Especially in my community it’s hard not to feel like you are "the only one" without children.

I cried to G‑d, I pleaded with Him. I looked to our matriarchs for guidance and clues as to how to overcome this test. I spoke with rabbis and friends. At last it slowly hit me that I simply had no control over the matter. It was the first time in my life that I had such a clear revelation of the grandeur of my Creator and how I was completely and totally in His hands.

I let myself go. The stubborn voice inside of me that said, "We will have children," never completely faded, but it did quiet down. We put the conventional treatments on hold, we took a break, and then we decided to try a different approach. We changed our diet, tried acupuncture and took herbs. Shortly after I conceived and nine months later I gave birth to our son.

It took me months to realize that I actually had a son. I had a hard time believing that this beautiful life came from my body and that I was his mother. The gratitude that I feel is immeasurable. Why then has the longing returned; as well as the aching and uncertainty?

Daily I pray for childless couples and I feel so guilty from my feelings. Why can’t I just be thrilled at what I have--the blessing that G‑d has given me? Instead my eyes focus on the bulging bellies of pregnant women. I see siblings play together and large families walking down the streets. I hug my son dearly and wonder if I’ll ever be able to feel the sensation of life growing inside of me again. I wonder if I’ll be able to provide for him brothers and sisters with whom to play.

Letting go helps me get through my darkest moments

I’ve returned to acupuncture and stick to my diet. Nothing has happened, yet. So I’m waiting and I find myself in the same situation as I did two years ago even though now having a son, everything has changed. The little voice inside of me insists, "You have one, there’s no reason why you can’t have another." But it’s fading.

I throw myself once again completely in the hands of my Creator. I admit to Him, to myself, that even with all that I do, I have no control over this, over any matter. I find that letting go helps me get through my darkest moments. A friend of mine asked me how I could do that; how could I give up? I explained to her that letting go and letting G‑d take over is not giving up. In fact it’s the only way to fight a battle.

Originally from northern California and a Stanford University graduate, Elana Mizrahi now lives in Jerusalem with her husband and children. She is a doula, massage therapist, writer, and author of Dancing Through Life, a book for Jewish women. She also teaches Jewish marriage classes for brides.
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Julie August 1, 2014

Would you mind sharing about your diet that helped you conceive? Reply

Ariel'sima Toronto via uptownchabad.com March 19, 2009

Thank you Elana for your beautiful story. I pray for you for #2, and I pray for that same #2 for myself, and all the other mothers on here longing to bring beautiful souls into this world. I feel so many of the same feelings you mentioned in your letter. After trying and waiting so long for #1 , it still feels unbelievable despite our daughter being 26months! We conceived #1 with the help of IVF, but sadly had 1 miscarriage and one failed IVF in our attempt for #2. We will try for a final IVF this summer- with the help of Hashem we hope our little princess will some day not have to endure the pains of being a "lonely only" that I myself had to endure. Reply

Mrs. Lynn Ladnier Mobile, AL/USA January 16, 2009

Waiting on G-d I am a christian and have drawn great strength for these stories of other women who had problems with getting pregnant. It could not have come at a better time in my life. I am 40 and still praying, believing and trusting in the L-rd. I am very grateful for the encouragement that I have gathered from the testimonials. My brother-in-law is having a baby and I am very happy for them, but it can not help but cause temporary pain for those who are having a hard time conceiving a child. Reply

Sarah Leah Worcester, MA June 12, 2008

10 years It has been 10 years since our daughter was born and I still hope for more. Its hard for my Shoshi to see her friends with SO many brothers and sisters. She doesn't understand why she has to be alone. My husband and I try to help her to see the positive in her life but I know how she feels. I really thought after having one baby that the rest would follow. I would ask Hashem (G-d) "aren't there any neshamas that want to be part of our family?" I focus on my beautiful Shoshi and how much she has filled my life with more than I thought possible. This neshama was meant for us. Elana is right about letting go and trusting Hashem. It has taken me seven years to let go and see what will happen. Reply

avi February 16, 2008

We are trying for 2 years and 3 month! This is so hard, also if you know, that the problem is you... Every month shots, research, other painfull stuff and nothing happens.... I am so tired. But I know that we will have kids, and I am never angry or uspet when i see other kids and pregnant woman, it just makes me move on, to my dream. Everybody deserves to be a mother. And I know that G-d will not leave us alone. He is with us, just only He knows when is the right time! Reply

Esther October 13, 2007

Finally the kind of story I've been looking for! I have a 15 month old son. I had a miscarriage before we had him, and then it took seven months before we conceived again. I completely understand what the nagging voice inside is about, mine makes me suffer a lot. Somehow I think that I'm starting the process of letting go. My husband and I have been trying for 6 months now to get pregnant again, however we don't yet have any good news to share with our loved ones. I suffer a lot from the worrying of what is going to be, but I'm trying to be positive, and have just recently started realising how powerless we are, we just don't know what G-d in His infinite wisdom has in store for us, all we know is that we can pray and try to be good people - He will answer our prayers in a way that only He knows best. Please G-d we should all have good news to share very soon. Reply

Anonymous April 19, 2007

This really touched me. I experienced secondary infertility after having 2 kids. I had several treatments done with failure. Eight years passed by and my life was consumed by this yearning. I couldn't even enjoy my kids because I only focused on what I couldn't have. I finally let go and just trusted my body. When I conceived my doctor could not believe it. I still have the same yearning even with 3 kids, but I learned that G-d has the plan for each and one of us. May you have whatever your heard desires. Reply

Wendy barrington, nj January 9, 2007

Letting Go - Dealing with Secondary Infertility I too had a similar experience and had to let go. However, after 8 years and 9 months of many challenges and even more praying, G-d gave my husband and I a beautiful second child. People always comment about the large age span and I always respond the same way "You get them the way G-d gives them". We have no control so letting go is best. Best wishes and my prayers are with you. Reply

Hannah Chaska, MN January 9, 2007

Your new son Thank you for your story. As a massage therapist since 1981, I've treated many women who 'could not concieve'..one who told me this was her last hope before having to undergo fertility treatments. We worked,and already the first time, I could see the 'flame of the soul' entering and exiting her body . She could not see what I was seeing,but could feel it,and a month later,confirmed that she was pregnant. We worked weekly and the 'flame' would stay longer and longer periods before leaving..After the baby was born,we kept doing massage...by that time the baby had become so used to the rythm of the massage , it would cry if we put him down...so we'd lay him on her tummy or her back,depending on where I was working...he'd instantly fall happily asleep and just purr.So wonderful,so much fun! She went on to have 3 more children ! Some women are wayTOO THIN,too nervous to carry.There has to be a certain amount of body fat to get pregnant..'letting go,letting G-d' is smart,wise.Mazel Tov! Reply

Touched via chabadneworleans.com January 7, 2007

This was a beautiful article. I hope and pray that you have another child and for all the childless couples out there. Reply

Anonymous downingtown, pa January 3, 2007

Secondary infertility Having been in that situation for 21 years and adopting two children I find what you write interesting. I have only recently learned that the first step of a 12 step program is admitting you are powerless and that a power greater that your is in control Without knowing it, you have worked the first 3 of a 12 step program.
Keep surrendering, only Hashem knows what is instore! Reply

Joy Rebello Hoschton, GA January 3, 2007

Understand your viewpoint completely I too went through the stress and uncertainty involved with not having children. I saw a friend undergo three miscarriages before a successful pregnancy. A neighbor and her husband spent around $100,000 on treatments before having a little boy. He seems to be a normal little boy, close to age 4 now, but he is often sick from various illnesses and they worry about losing him. I was treated by a fertility specialist for years before I had a change of heart. I felt confident that I would be a mother, but I said no to more drugs. I thought of Sarah and how it related to our modern issues of surrogacy and infertility treatments. I decided it was not my decision to make. My daughter was born within months of making that decision. I know some people wait months and years without a child, driving them to make desperate choices. I feel fortunate that through faith I was able to make a choice that I did not regret. Reply

Anonymous merion, pa January 1, 2007

Thank you for writting this important article. Your strength in trusting G-d lends inspiration and courage to those who are facing similar challenges. I have lost a child at birth and anticipate the possibility of having another child with all the fears and awe of G-d that it should be born healthy. In reality, we are truly, and solely, in G-d's hands. May you and your family be blessed with many healthy children. Reply

Chana Jenny Weisberg December 31, 2006

Dear Elana, thank you so much for sharing your experiences. Your ability to learn and grow from your hardships are an inspiration to me and so many others!! May we soon read the essay about overcoming secondary infertiity! Reply

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