“Elana, if I only knew when I would become pregnant. Then I could wait. You can tell me that it will take a year’s time, even two years. Whatever. But just give me a number and tell me that it will happen. I can handle that—waiting—as long as I know. But this not-knowing—that I can’t deal with . . .”

“Elana, when do you think I’ll give birth? Do you think it will be soon? Tonight? Tomorrow? When? If I could just know, I would be so much calmer. I could go on for another few days, if I just knew when . . .”

“When is this labor going to end? How much longer until I have my baby?”If I only knew when I would become pregnant

“Elana, when?” The famous question I hear all the time. And “How?” Women want to know. And they want to know now. Their knowing stems from a desire, a need to control. I wish I had the answers to give them, but maybe not knowing and relinquishing control is actually the answer.

G‑d commanded the man, saying, “Of every tree of the garden you may freely eat; but of the Tree of Daat (Knowledge) of Good and Bad, you must not eat thereof” . . . The woman saw that the tree was good for eating and that it was a delight to the eyes, and that the tree was desirable for comprehension, and she took of its fruit and ate; and she gave also to her husband with her and he ate . . . And G‑d said to the woman, “What is this that you have done! . . . I will greatly increase your suffering and your pregnancy; in pain shall you bear children. Your craving shall be for your husband, and he shall rule over you.”1

What exactly happened here? Eve, the first woman of the world, ate from the Tree of Daat. She didn’t eat from the Tree of Life. She didn’t eat from the tree of beauty, wisdom or desire. No, she ate from the Tree of Knowledge. Eve wanted a specific type of knowledge. She wanted the knowledge that is only in G‑d’s hands. She wanted to control. Don’t we all want to know and want to control?

“I feel so bloated. When are my menses coming already?”

“What is going on with my body?”

“What is happening with the baby?”

You want to get pregnant; you can’t. You don’t want to get pregnant; you become pregnant. You want the baby to sleep; she won’t go to sleep. You want him to wake up; he won’t wake up. You know what’s best; you see with such clarity, but your husband won’t listen to you or take your advice. Knowledge—that is control. This is what we all want, right? (I certainly do!) And yet, the more we want to know, the less we do. The more we want to control, the less we can.

There’s a woman who comes to me for a reflexology treatment for infertility. She has read all the medical literature and knows how to calculate her ovulation and how to optimize her chances of becoming pregnant, but she still cannot become pregnant. I tell her, “Stop being so smart! Stop trying to figure it all out. Stop trying to know so much! Babies are from G‑d. Relinquish control to Him and work on having a loving relationship with your spouse and G‑d.” She comes to me three months later with good news: thank G‑d, she’s pregnant.

Another woman has read every birthing book and spoke with every Stop trying to figure it all outmother that she knows. As her doula, I breathe with her, I dance with her, I massage her back. She wants to know every detail of what is going on: “What process of labor am I in? How long do you think it will be now?” And with all her questions and wanting to know, she stays closed. I whisper into her ear, “Let go. Stop trying to control your body.” When I tell her that it doesn’t really matter, when she lets go of the control and need to know, this woman opens up and calmly births her baby.

The sages say that only G‑d holds the keys to birth, the revival of the dead, and rain (all which have to do with growth and life). That means no doctor or healer can tell you when you will become pregnant or when a treatment will work—it is purely in G‑d’s hands. When you are in labor, no doctor or midwife can tell you when you will give birth—only G‑d knows.

As women, we have a tikkun (reparation) that we can do in order to rectify the sin of Eve: to relinquish the desire to control. To call out to G‑d and let Him open up the door to salvation. When we do that, we convert the “curse” into a blessing.