It’s not the first time I hear this, and it probably won’t be the last. The woman sitting before me is so afraid of having a baby. I watch her face and try to decipher the source of the tension fromI try to decipher the source of her tension what I see on her body. Fears, they are normal. Everyone either faces them or tries to run away from them. They exist. They’re normal. When a woman tells me (a prenatal massage therapist and doula) that she’s afraid, I would rather that she acknowledge and embrace the fear than pretend that it doesn’t exist.

I speak with her and ask her to explain the fear. We look for the source of it. She realizes that it’s not actually fear of having a baby that tightens every muscle in her body, it’s the fear of being a mother. A real fear of being responsible for a precious human being, of the entire weight and package that comes along with it. What if she’s not perfect? What if she makes mistakes or doesn’t live up to her own unrealistic expectations? What if she doesn’t know what to do or when to do it? Her mind wanders down a journey of 20 years of parenting, and she worries about schools and expenses that will occur in the future.

I stop her racing mind from going any further and tell her: “When the baby is born, it’s only a second old, and then a minute and then an hour. At first, you need just one blanket, one outfit and a diaper. You’re not giving birth to a teenager. The baby grows, and you, the parent, grow with the baby. You make mistakes, you learn, you see triumphs and successes. The baby grows and you, G‑d willing, grow with it.”

“Know,” I tell her, “that if G‑d gave you this role, it means that He’ll help you and give you the tools you need to succeed in this laborious and yet incredible beautiful, holy mission of being a mother.”



I look at my youngest and I look at my oldest, who are now a decade apart. The older children had one type of mother, the younger ones another. It’s not that the younger ones lack routine or discipline, but the battles I fought over treats and baths with the older ones are just not worth it. Waiting for a teenager to come home in the evening takes up more head space and energy than arguing over zipping up a jacket.

Am I more patient and kind? I don’t know, I would hope so, but I can’t say for sure. At times, I’m tired and overwhelmed. But one thing is certain—with the years come more light and understanding. G‑d gives us more experience and more time to think, and hopefully, to learn from any mistakes and errors. The older ones were like a small light in the darkness. Just a little light, and they changed my world, but as they got older and more children came into our world with their own light, my world got brighter and fuller.



I look at the Chanukah menorah, and it’s no wonder to me that the word Chanukah has the same root as the word for chinuch, “education.” It’s not a surprise to me because each night of Chanukah, as we light the menorah, we increase light. Each day, a parent has an opportunity to gain new insights, and hopefully, more clarity. With the days and the years, you begin to understand your child’s ways and their personality, their needs and wants. When another child is born, he or she augments and increases the light—the light of understanding, of educating. The light of making mistakes and from learning from them. The light of growing.

When the small group of Jewish fighters wentI’m sure they were scared against their numerous Greek oppressors, I’m sure they were scared. Maybe they thought to themselves, “Who are we to fight? What if we fail? What if we lose? We are nothing in military might, and the Greeks are the strongest soldiers!” But they had a stronger voice inside that told them, “It’s not about you, it’s about your mission. One battle at a time, one fight. G‑d is on our side, He gave us this role. He’ll give us the courage, the strength, the capability—all that we need to win the war and reconquer the Temple.”

And He did, and they did. They returned to the Temple victorious and saw the menorah extinguished. They looked for suitable oil and found just a little. With that small amount, they lit the menorah, and the light grew and lasted for eight days instead of one. And this—this to me is what educating is about. It’s about faith and believing. It’s about time and patience. It’s about learning and falling and getting up. It’s a mission, and it’s challenging, but it’s also rewarding and beautiful. It’s an opportunity for more and more light in your life.