Editor's Note: The following letter was written by the author to her nearly full term baby who was unfortunately born stillborn. The letter was originally written in Hebrew and translated by the author's mother into English. She addresses her letter to Neshama'le, the Hebrew term of endearment for "pure soul."

Dear Neshamal'e,

I hope you left the womb comfortable for your siblingsI decided to write you.

I wanted to begin with 'My Neshama'le or 'our Neshama'le, but mainly you are His Neshama'le.


I hope the nine months you were in my womb were comfortable for you.

I hope you enjoyed the songs we played for you, the songs your father sang to you. I hope the occasional off- key note didn't bother you too much.

I hope you liked the words of Torah your father told you, even though the angel that taught you Torah the entire time you were in the womb had already taught you everything you need to know.

I hope you left the womb comfortable for your siblings to come, and as your father says, hope you left them some note with the correct operating instructions . . .

Forgive Me

Forgive me for the times I rushed you to come out because it was getting heavy for me to carry you around.

Forgive me that at times I was like the soldier who has had it with the army and would say – 'how much longer'?!

I'm sorry that I complained about the stretch marks – that your father would call badges of honor …(what 'honor' when life did not come out of me, they are there to bear witness of what was and is no longer ?)

Forgive me for all the last ultrasounds I put us through. I know that they were not pleasant for you either – almost always, like G‑d, you would be hiding your face and then they would roughly shake my belly back and forth so as to get you to move to the left and to the right.

Forgive me that during our last days together I fed you sweet things when I panicked that I didn't feel you dance in my womb – I hope that at least it was tasty for you.

Forgive me for the nine months I didn't taste wine – I wasn't allowed . . .

Thank You

Thank you for the big and beautiful belly you gave me, I walked proudly with it, and you made me happy. People would stop me in the street to tell me what a beautiful belly I had.

Thank you for the sweet little movements that came in the 17th week. Your father and I were so excited. Then later the kicks that would surprise me anew each and every time. I loved most to feel your hyperactivity when we were at shul (synagogue).

Thank you for surviving with me on Yom Kippur and for listening to your father who whispered to you to be calm because it was Yom Kippur today . . .

Thank you for always keeping me company, when I was alone you would always move around letting me know that you were there and then I would talk to you and stroke you. When I would hear a sudden noise I would jump - startled - and you too would move and this always brought a smile to my lips. Yesterday a car suddenly screeched by making a frightening noise, I was startled, this time alone. . .

With Full Arms

The first time I was blessed with the blessing for "full arms" it was an unfamiliar term for me yet sent shivers down my spine. Upon hearing it I swallowed hard and said politely "thank you" without giving it too much thought. The first time I heard the blessing I was in my 7th month, but since then many people have blessed me with that particular blessing and I would receive it happily as I had prepared myself for everything except the event of returning home with empty arms.

We did not prepare ourselves for coming home with empty armsI prepared myself for the possibility of a difficult labor because I was told you were going to be a big baby. I prepared myself for the possibility of a C-section in case you had difficulty coming out the natural way. I prepared myself and your father for the remote possibility that you may have something medically wrong with you because I was told of the remote possibility that a lot of amino fluid can mean a possible problem with the fetus – something that was totally untrue in your case as you came out perfect. I prepared myself and your father for a possible difficult convalescence following many stitches, but you left me with one small stitch.

I prepared ourselves for the "baby blues" – postpartum depression – that may arrive after the third day of giving birth (If only I had the baby blues, by me on the third day after birth there was no baby and no blues – I had a lot of greens, yellows and orange but no baby .. .). I prepared a warm comfortable space at home for after I give birth. One of your grandmothers prepared everything for you – from the baby cot to the sponge for the sponge bath while your other grandmother prepared a plane ticket with a full suitcase of goodies for you. At home I had prepared for you a sweet little crib with a cute mobile and even a wall thermometer to make sure the room was warm and cozy for you during the cold winter. Neshama'le, we prepared ourselves for everything, but we did not prepare ourselves for coming home with empty arms.


Words cannot describe the pain in my heart upon hearing the word, 'sorry' when they didn't see on the screen that familiar little heart pumping away. "Sorry', nine months, 'sorry.' We went through the first trimester, the second and just about completed the third and with one small word they finished with your life – 'sorry.' The word still rings loudly in my ears – 'sorry.'

When I felt your little body come out of mine I so much wanted to hear the sound that would declare my new status as Ima, Mommy. Had you cried even a tiny bit, I would have been an Ima, but no, there was only silence in the room and all I heard was the dear midwife being sorry for the sight of the knotted umbilical cord. . .

When I saw you I felt so connected to you – you looked so much like us. You looked so peaceful, your face was peaceful and your hair was a soft clean orange. I so much wanted to give you life, but when they took you from me I knew right away that you were no longer mine - that you were His, that you belonged to G‑d.

Nurturing You

"More than the calf wants to nurse the cow wants to give milk" (Pesachim)

Had you cried even a tiny bit, I would have been an ImaYou should know Neshama'le, I had a lot of milk to give you and you were not here to take it from me. A few days after giving birth to you, the first time I woke up with a wet shirt, your father was witness to the tears mixed with fear, frustration, pain, joy and excitement.

Fear - because I couldn't believe that this white liquid would ever come out of me just like that.

Frustration – because you weren't there to enjoy the bounty

Pain – physical pain from the weight of the milk

Emotional anguish – that I couldn't give you the milk

Excitement and joy – because I felt that as a woman – that G‑d gave me bountiful milk, and with the help of G‑d I know that next time around I will have milk for your siblings who will come at the rightful time.

Devorah Chana

Neshama'le, that's what we were going to name you – for our two grandmothers, but in the end I called you Neshama'le because that's what you were. You were a neshama, a soul, that came down for nine months to settle in my womb. Like a good settler – you did your tikun, your rectification, that you needed to do and you were evacuated from me by force.

On the Wednesday after I gave birth I felt you when I was at the Kotel, the Western Wall. The name Devorah means "bee" and there was that little bee that flew around me and wouldn't leave. How was it that the rain did not bother you?! Will you come again? I miss you so much, and would be so happy if you would come in my dream and tell me that you are alright and then I'll be able to tell you how much I love you.