I slowly drag my feet into the hospital room where some Jewish patients and visitors are eating the Shabbat meal together.

Noise, movement and the scent of Shabbat food. Last place I want to be.

Mazel tov! WeThe stark contrast of our realities is screaming just had triplets!” calls out a euphoric and exhausted young man as he happily takes a seat at the men’s table. I don’t hear much of the ensuing congratulations because the stark contrast of our realities is screaming louder than their voices.

I am in the hospital because the previous night I lost my pregnancy, my potential baby. He is in the hospital for bringing three new babies into the world.

How could this happen?

My baby lost. His baby born. No, wait. His three babies born.

I miscarried. His wife carried.


How can that be?

I start crying.

I catch myself. “It’s Shabbat,” I think. “I mustn’t cry.”

I wipe my tears, half-smile to the woman next to me, dutifully swallow some food past the lump in my throat and start crying again.

I want my baby.

It’s not fair.

“What are you here for?” asks a kind-eyed, older woman.

I can’t speak.

I don’t know what to say.

I don’t want her comfort. Nothing can comfort me. I don’t want her sympathy. I don’t want her to lessen my pain, take away my right to mourn and possibly think this is not the worst moment ever.


What an ugly word.

What a horrible concept.

Miscarriage: Death in the womb

Wombs bring life; my womb brought death.

“Do you want to talk?” My neighbor at the table is warm and loving.

I don’t want warm and loving.

I want my baby.

How is it and why is it that the other guy is so joyfully celebrating three new souls sent to this world, and I am sadly mourning the loss of mine? What have we done differently?

Did his wife care for her body better than I did?

It can’t be.

Miscarriage is not the fault of the carrier, no matter how misleading the word can be.

My miscarriage was determined by G‑d, just as her healthy pregnancy and delivery were determined by G‑d. Neither of us can take credit or blame for what happened. It is G‑d’s world; only He calls the shots.

For some reason, G‑d trusted that guy with children and not me. G‑d gave him and his wife a special mission to take these precious new babies home, nurture their bodies and souls, and lead these children to make the world a brighter place.

G‑d gave me no such mission.

I came to the hospital with my husband and a pregnant belly, and I will go home from the hospital with my husband and an empty belly. To our empty home.

“Don’t cry,” I remind myself. “It’s Shabbat.”

I look for my husband. He is at the men’s table, conversing and eating with the other menfolk. I see the father of the new triplets. The man who walked into the hospital with a wife and a pregnant belly, and will go home with a wife and three babies.

It’s gnawing at me, this discrepancy. I don’t think it’s jealousy; I think it’s bewilderment.

Why is the otherI don’t think it’s jealousy; I think it’s bewilderment guy trusted with a purpose and a mission, and I’m not?

Am I not needed as he is? Am I superfluous? What is my role? What does G‑d want from me? And why did G‑d want me to hear about this three-fold gain at the time of my utter loss?

To have our iconic moments—miscarriage and triplets born—so glaringly contrasted side by side like this, speaks to me that our lives and roles must have something in common.

What can life and death have in common?

They are absolute opposites.

One carries with it the opportunity for growth and giving and light and the spreading of G‑d’s Name in the universe, and the other is ... wait.

As far-fetched as it seems, can death possibly also carry an opportunity for growth and giving and light and the spreading of G‑d’s Name in the universe?

Maybe G‑d is telling me that He expects identical results even though we were given different experiences? Maybe He has charged us both with the same mission, the same purpose, the same goal and just set us on different paths to get there?

But how?

How can I do that?

And why?

Why send me through blackness and grief when the same thing can be accomplished through light and joy?

G‑d is purposeful.

I must ponder the reason for our different journeys.

The contrast of dark and light sparks the memory of a conversation I once had with a Chabad woman I met on a business trip.

She and her husband are representatives of the Lubavitcher Rebbe, Rabbi Menachem Mendel Schneerson, of righteous memory, who sent them to be a fountain of Judaism in the sunny town I was visiting.

Surely, she reveled in the choice location she had received—sunshine all year round!

“Actually,” she had admitted with a calm smile, “my husband and I both suffer from the heat. The weather is very difficult for us. We’d both prefer a colder climate!”

I was taken aback. “So, why do you live here?”

“We live here because we are needed here,” she answered simply. “We were sent here to spread the light of Judaism and so here, we will stay.”

Spreading light, even in the sunshine. Spreading light, even when you’re suffering.

I’ve met a number of Chabad emissaries, as they’re called, and this exchange made me realize something incredibly admirable about each and every one of them. Although they all live in such different climates (literally and spiritually), they all do their work with an identical thought: “I was sent here to light up this corner of the world with Torah and mitzvot, until the Final Redemption comes.”

You gotta be tough stuff to live like this. To go to any corner where you’re sent, to do what is needed and to never stop until your goal is completed.

Maybe I can learn from them.

Maybe I can adapt this “emissary” line of thinking.

No, I’m not considering picking up to relocate to a far-away spot to spread awareness of G‑d, but maybe I’ve already been sent to an emotionally far-away spot to spread awareness of G‑d.

Maybe G‑d is telling me, “Rachel, there are many who reveal My identity through the children they bring into the world and the love and joy and holiness these children spread.

I want you to make Me known in other places; theI carry a mission, like anyone else places void of children. I want you to let people know that I exist not only in life, but also in death.

I am present in the pain, the loss, the grief and the emptiness of miscarriage and infertility no less than I am present in the joy and celebration of births, brit nilahs, bar/bat mitzvahs and wedding ceremonies.

There are many whom I’ve designated to experience and then share with others the beauty of life; I have chosen you to experience and then share the beauty of faith through pain.

Both are ways to make Me known. Both are needed for my revelation to be complete.

Many find Me only in the light but I must be found in the dark, as well..”

Turns out, I didn’t miscarry.

I carry a mission, like anyone else.

And I carry with love.