Dearest Penina,

I’m sorry I didn’t come to your son’s brit (circumcision) last week. The reason I didn’t is simple. The thought of attending caused me so much anxiety that I decided to be kind to myself and give myself permission not to attend.

Because the last brit I attended is playing out in my mind like a bad horror movie. I can see the guests saying, “Please G‑d, you should soon make a brit, too,” or simply, “Soon by you,” with a smile and a look of pity. Yes, everyone, please continue to publicly poke at my deepest vulnerability and yearning.

Penina, please understandI tried to talk myself into coming that these unsolicited blessings trigger my greatest challenge in life: jealousy. You see, I have been working for so many months to not be insanely jealous of your growing baby bump. I meditated deeply on it: “I am on my own soul journey. There is no competition here. G‑d is guiding me and my dear friend to our respective soul sparks, etc.” But still, it was so much kinder to myself to be happy for you at home with a cup of raspberry leaf tea and sourdough French toast.

Oh, I tried to talk myself into coming: What kind of person am I that I’m jealous? That I avoid people? Just get over yourself. I even tried to convince myself that going to the brit in itself is a blessing that could help me conceive. But the problem is that along with the holy blessings of the brit, I would be subjected to the blessings of all the well-wishers. And I remembered how, after the one, I broke down crying as soon as I had a moment alone with G‑d. So I made the decision to do what was kindest for me.

Of course, there are some blessings that are so sincere that I can actually take them in. This past summer, at a wedding held on the 18th of the Hebrew month of Elul, a young man came over to Ariel and me. I was busy feeling sorry for myself, watching other women’s growing stomachs. Hey, the bride will probably have a baby soon, too, while I’ll be busy injecting Pergoveris 450 into my abdomen. This young man interrupted my daydream to give us a blessing. He had had a little too much to drink by this hour, and from the heart he said, “I am officially giving over all of my merits to you. It’s right before Rosh Hashanah. I don’t want them. I don’t want a reward. I just want you to have a baby this year.”

Amen,” I said, choking back tears.

Another time, I was preparing for Rosh Hashanah, and there was a new young couple I really wanted to invite over for dinner but I didn’t have their number. I prayed to G‑d, saying, “You can make me bump into them if You want them at our table.” With an hour left before candle-lighting, three more recipes to make and a pile of dishes to wash, I ran out of my kitchen and to the grave of the Arizal. I prayed for 10 minutes, and on the way back up the mountain, there they were! So I invited them for dinner. When they didn’t show up at the appointed time, I left 30 guests waiting and went to their house to ask them to come.

At the end of a long night of laughing and deep sharing, the husband stood up and said to me, “Thank you.” With an intense, holy look in his eyes, he prayed out loud, “G‑d, she deserves it, please bless her with a child this year.” That blessing is what gave me the strength and joy to start praying for children again. Standing there beneath the stars on Rosh Hashanah, I felt like the biblical Chana being blessed by Eli HaKohen (the High Priest) for a child.

And then there are those who bless me without saying a word. These are the people who don’t pity me. They see me as I am in this moment and wholeheartedly embrace me. They see me as I see myself: happy, living life exactly as G‑d needs me to right now. They see me as whole, not broken. Me, with my ups and downs, my jealousy and joy. With one glance, these souls empower me to accept this moment and myself with love and simultaneously hold space for all the blessings to come that G‑d wants to give us. I feel truly blessed by these souls.

Because I know that I’m notI know that I’m not meant to have a baby now meant to have a baby now. What’s the proof? G‑d is running the world, and if I was meant to happen, it would. So right now, I’m complete and whole and present with G‑d. According to Chassidic philosophy, G‑d is constantly recreating the world. So we are brought into being from G‑d’s essence every moment. When we become aware of that, when we feel our Source, we’re living with messianic consciousness. We’re experiencing deep, radical acceptance of reality and ourselves.

Deep down, I know that, really, all well-wishers are harmless. They are just people eating, talking, doing their best, meaning well. If I believed what they believed—that I’m meant to have a baby now—I would say the same things. So I can listen to all of their words. I’m just a woman being in the moment, enlivened by G‑d. When I give these words meaning—that I lack something I should have—I suffer. When I simply listen, they just are. I’m working on living in that truth more.

With the last failed IVF cycle, I realized my truth. The cycle didn’t fail. It was a major success! It woke me up from every fantasy I have of this painful thought of “G‑d doesn’t want you to have a baby; you don’t deserve it.” It was a total success in birthing me—the true me. As I lay on the couch recovering from my last procedure, I thought about how G‑d is all-powerful and loves me completely. He created this miracle egg that they retrieved after I had already ovulated, which the doctor said scientifically made zero sense. But it was an egg that did not produce an embryo. What was the purpose of this, I wondered? I felt G‑d was telling me, “I’m obsessed with you, and I want only good for you. At the time that is the perfect moment for this baby to be conceived, I will roll out the red carpets ... And I will make a miracle for you in that perfect moment.”

So who knows, maybe at the next brit, I will be so at peace with G‑d and His reality that I’ll be able to come and laugh at every silly comment and embrace each blessing with an unscarred heart. For now, though, I’m celebrating with you in spirit.

In truth, nothing in the world makes me happier than knowing that the soul that from the beginning of time was meant to be loved by you is now safely in your warm arms.

Much love and mazel tov,

Your friend,

Chana Margulies