I am about to state something very obvious and well-known. No big revelation.

Every single person experiences challenges in his or her life.

There is a well-known parable that is worth repeating. A person fed up with the struggles he was facing was given the opportunity to choose to live anyone’s life he wanted. He selected the lives he believed were perfect, only to discover that each person experienced private challenges, ones he could not handle. In the end, he realized that the most desirable life was his own.

We are all living a life intricately crafted to suit our needs. “G‑d gives us only the struggles we can handle”—famous saying, yet so true. So this means that the challenges you may face at any given time are possible for you to overcome, right?

Here is where it gets complicated, because in many situations we are unaware of what other people are going through. We assume that their lives are “perfect.”

In many situations we are unaware of what other people are going through

Cue error sound.

Wrong, wrong, wrong!

I am implicating myself just as much as the next person, since I used to think this way myself. Case in point: About a year ago, I was in a particularly low mood. I had just gotten the results of a (negative) pregnancy test from my doctor. To me, that is the hardest part of each month. The day when all the efforts of the past month are rendered useless in a single moment. I was talking to my mother on the phone later that day, and she shared news that someone we both knew well was pregnant.

Now, let me pause this story for a moment to say that I usually am totally okay with news of other people’s pregnancies, whether it is their first, second or fifth time. This is true even in situations where said person is much younger than me, or got married after I did. However, it was the wrong time for me to hear the news. (Not that my mom knew that, of course. Love you, Mom.) After the phone conversation ended, I began to vent to my pots. (I know, I know, but what other choice did I have?)

“Some people just have it all, don’t they? Look at this woman: she has a gorgeous child, already pregnant with her next, a wonderful husband, nice apartment . . .” I won’t bore you with all the details. Rational voices in my head tried to calm me down, to remind me that even though someone’s life may seem perfect, we do not know what is happening behind closed doors. I knew this, but I was not in the mood of being rational.

The very next morning, and I wish I could say this wasn’t true, I ran into the young lady Mom had told me just the day before was pregnant. We began to chat, one thing led to another, and suddenly she began to cry. Shocked, I sat her down, gave her a hug and asked if she wanted to talk. Slowly, she told me what happened. Doctors had told her there was something wrong with the baby. They weren’t sure the baby would make it, and if it would, it would be very sick.

Needless to say, I wanted to kick myself. Why had I said what I had the day before? I asked her for forgiveness that day, but Why did I think her life was perfect?I don’t know if I can ever really forgive myself.

The story got me thinking. Why did I think her life was perfect? Because to the outside world, that is how it seemed. Her struggles were not apparent to anyone just passing her on the street, and they weren’t even visible to those who knew her! We never know what tests others may be facing.

I have struggled with something in the past. Why is it that when a woman is pregnant, it shows on her body, plain for the world to see? Couldn’t G‑d have created a way for a woman to carry a child without it being so obvious? Isn’t it the opposite of tzniut (modesty) for G‑d to create the woman’s body in this way? Wouldn’t it have been better if the pregnant woman’s belly was hidden? Then, when a woman would experience infertility, it wouldn’t be everyone's business. Imagine a world where you would not be able to tell if a woman was pregnant. So much would change! I would not be reminded of my situation almost constantly by the growing bellies around me, I would not be pitied, I would not be gawked at or whispered about . . .

But I learned something important that day. It is okay for other people to know. Yes, let them know my life is not perfect. I am missing something, something big. And it is okay. Because I know that at the end of the day, I would not choose anyone else’s life over my own.