I went back to school this year, and one of my classmates phoned me for advice. She’s expecting, and she knows that I work with pregnant women. She described to me how she has terrible fears. She keeps hearing so many stories of tragic events. She now thinks about them all the time in her waking hours and dreams about them in her sleep.

This woman does notPregnant women have normal fears have OCD. She is a pregnant woman, and pregnant women have normal fears. When normal fears are attacked by story upon story of horrific events, it breaks down even the most secure and strongest of women. A woman doesn’t have to be pregnant to feel bombarded by horror stories and catastrophes. All she has to do nowadays is turn on her phone or laptop and be connected to social media and the news.

I sighed and told her that I myself have learned what I must do in order to live—in order to emotionally and mentally survive.

I build a wall of protection and do what I can to keep myself safe inside.

I asked her a question. “Was she and the baby, at least as far as she knows, for now, healthy?”

Yes, thank G‑d.

I encouraged her to stay focused on that and to be in the moment. In my 10 years of being a doula, working with pregnant and postpartum women, I can tell you that I have seen more miracles then not. The majority of women are healthy, and have healthy, beautiful births and healthy, beautiful babies.

I then asked her if she could start to write a list of what she felt helpless about and give the list over to G‑d to take care of. Because, you see, the foundation of a wall is faith and the understanding that G‑d is the One in control. Every day I pray to G‑d, having both “formal” and “informal” talks with Him. Giving over my worriesand fears to Him is both freeing and comforting.

With a foundation in place, I start to build my wall.

The first bricks on the wall are gratitude. Next to the list of helplessness, I asked her to write a list of gratitude—to do this daily, but to keep it short and simple, maybe three to five things a day. The more gratitude we feel, the more we stay focused on the positive.

Now comes the part of the wall that is our defense. I advised her not to listen—at least not right now—to anyone’s stories.

I myself don’t listen, watch or read the news, and I limit my contact with the Internet and social media. And I recommend it all the more so for a pregnant woman or a woman after birth, who needs her emotional energies and physical strength to care for her baby.

It’s not that I want to be “ignorant.” It’s not that I don’t care about the world. It’s just that every day, every minute, we are attacked on all sides, inundated with reports of “news” and with information that may or may not be true. (I’ll never forget when our aunt called us from Mexico with concern for us because she saw that Jerusalem was flooded. I looked out my window and it was drizzling, hardly what I would call a flood.)

There is so much going on around us. For a neighbor, a family member, a friend. I will hear their story. I’ll take a minute to say a prayer. I brainstorm if there is anything that I can tangibly do. I try to see if there is a message for me to learn from. And then honestly, I know for my own mental and emotional health that I must move on.

When the Nation of Israel left Egypt, G‑d made us wait 50 days before giving us the Ten Commandments and the Torah. We were a new nation, like a mother right after birth. We were on a high, but still emotionally and spiritually sensitive. Our freedom, the receiving of the Torah—everything was so fresh and new. Moses then left us to go back up Mount Sinai for 40 days of learning and to receive the Two Tablets. We had already received the Torah, but we needed explanations and more details to understand and keep what we had taken upon ourselves to do.

The nation knew that Moses was going to be gone for 40 days, but there was some confusion. A very small fraction of the people who left Egypt miscalculated and jumped to the conclusion in panic and fear that Moses wasn’t coming back. The nation was fine. They were connected to G‑d, but they were already worrying about what would be if Moses didn’t return. There was no “just living in the moment.” The fears, based on a false story and untrue assumption, shot sharp arrows into our wall of security and shook our foundation of faith. This led to the worshipping of the Golden Calf by a small group who were able to negatively affect the entire nation.

That day, the 17th of Tammuz, was a day of panic and false stories. Panic that aroused our worst fears. This day repeatedly has been a tragic day in Jewish history. It was the day that the walls of Jerusalem were breached by the Romans and that led up to the destruction of the Holy Temple.

The 17th of Tammuz is now a public fast day. A day of repentance and reflection. It’s also a day when a person can ask: “How can I build and strengthen my foundation of faith?”

I can remind myselfI can remind myself to be in the moment to be in the moment—to deal with whatever I need to deal with as it comes. I can talk to G‑d, pray to Him. Give over my troubles and worries to Him, and ask Him to help me.

“How can I build up my wall of protection?”

I can screen what news and information come into my heart and into my home. I don’t have to listen, watch or believe everything out there. Instead, I can hear stories of faith and Divine Providence. I can seek out supportive, positive, growth-orientated people—family, friends, teachers, rabbis, mentors. I can open my eyes to the daily blessings and miracles in my life.

With a wall of protection firmly standing, with G‑d’s help, I won’t get swept away with fears and hysteria that want to knock me down. Instead, I will feel more secure. I will feel strong.