It’s a conversation that repeats itself time and time again. A conversation that I have with a woman expecting a baby. She’s usually exhausted, rightfully so, whether it be physically or emotionally. She’s nearly at the end, but not quite yet there, and she cries over and over again, “I’m not doing anything. I feel like I can’t move. I’m tired. I have no energy.”

The normal complaints of pregnancy that IShe’s usually exhausted myself, a mother of five, thank G‑d, have said. The normal complaints that I hear as a doula and prenatal massage therapist.

The phrases repeat themselves.

“I’m tired. I feel like I’m not doing anything.” Yesterday, she had energy to do x, y and z; today, she lies on the couch, and that in itself takes all of her energy.

I listen. I empathize. “Of course, you’re tired!” I validate her initial words, but with the second comment, I firmly disagree. “You’re tired because you are doing! You’re carrying another life, and that takes a tremendous amount of strength and energy. It’s hard work. Just by breathing, you’re doing an act of kindness for another soul. You’re not just doing, you’re doing 24 hours of the day.”

When a woman hears this, that her G‑d-given role is fulfilled just by being and that by being she is also doing, she feels more content. It doesn’t take away the swollen limbs, nausea or varicose veins, but when she understands this and takes that understanding to heart—that just living in the moment, accepting the task of fulfilling whatever role G‑d gave you, just being alive is doing ... she’s happy.

Our sages say that when the month of Adar enters, we increase our happiness or joy. Adar is the only month of the year that we can experience twice. In other words, in a leap year there are two Adars and double the time of joy.

In Hebrew, the term for leap year is shanah me’uberet, which literally means “pregnant year.” It’s not just a coincidence that a shanah me’uberet has two months of increased joy. Because in orderJoy isn’t about proving how much one can accomplish to experience joy, we need to learn the lesson of a pregnant woman—the lesson of “just” being and accepting your limitations. Joy isn’t about proving to the world (or even to ourselves) how much one can “get done” and accomplish. It’s not dependent upon anything or anyone else. It’s dependent upon you.

It’s no wonder then why the month of Adar, of joy, always precedes the month of Nisan, the month of liberty and freedom. Because a person is truly free when their feelings of joy aren’t contingent on anything controlling how they feel. You’re free when you can just love yourself and accept yourself the way G‑d created you, as a Divine soul. Like a pregnant woman accepting what she can and what cannot do.

It’s knowing that one moment a woman could be pregnant and one moment she might not. G‑d gives us all kinds of tests and challenges to grow from in order to become greater. In every moment, whether pregnant or not, we each can feel the bliss that comes with being in the moment, and connecting to the holy soul inherently and always inside of you.