When I first moved to Israel with my husband and three children, I was apprehensive at the thought of giving birth in a new country. Thankfully, I was in for a pleasant surprise.

My appreciation for the loving staff and supportive atmosphere has grown with each birth. Being surrounded by my Jewish sisters and assisted by warm and compassionate midwives is empowering.

I’d like to share some life lessons I’ve gleaned through my experiences.

G‑d Is With You in Your Pain

I vividly recall the soothing voice of the midwife at Shaarei Tzedek Medical Center in Jerusalem during my first birth in Israel. Sara is a religious woman who puts her heart and soul into her work. As my labor intensified, she exclaimed with feeling, “The Shechinah, Divine Presence, is here with us in the room!”

I couldn’t believe it. These were words I would expect from a Torah teacher or spiritual mentor. But here, the medical personnel was reminding me that I was not alone—that G‑d Himself was present in the midst of my pain.

These comforting words infused me with renewed energy and helped me through what proved to be my easiest and quickest birth experience.

G‑d’s Salvation Can Come in the Blink of An Eye

I met another inspiring midwife several years later at the Bikur Cholim hospital in central Jerusalem.

Arbel, an energetic woman, sported pink slacks and a white shirt, with a long, dark braid hanging to her waist. Her demeanor was calm and reassuring.

Although I prefer to give birth without pain medications, I wasn’t sure I had the resilience this time around. I asked for an epidural, hoping to spare myself unnecessary hours of pain, as I was still in a fairly early stage of labor.

Arbel checked my progress and noted with excitement, “You have advanced beautifully. Yeshuat Hashem k’heref Ayin: The salvation of G‑d comes in the blink of an eye!”

“I believe you will give birth very soon, and you won’t even need the epidural,” she said.

Arbel’s declaration of faith reminded me that we are all a nation of believers, regardless of one’s level of religious observance. Her encouraging words helped me tap into positivity.

Indeed, within 20 minutes, Shmuel Isaac was born in a particularly natural and peaceful birth. In addition to knowing that G‑d is with you at every moment, realizing how quickly His salvation can come generates optimism and hope.

Count Your Blessings!

Ashrayich, how fortunate you are!” the young nurse remarked. Amid the pain of contractions, tears of gratitude stung my eyes.

She had triggered a rush of emotions, as I realized how true her words were.

It was a simple and standard question, as the new practitioner greeted me in the maternity ward. “Which number birth is this?”

My response was abrupt and automatic: “Seventh.” I was in labor, after all.

But this nurse—a kind Jewish woman with bright eyes—took a moment to reflect and acknowledge. “Ashrayich, how fortunate you are!”

In a world where children are not always appreciated for the blessing that they are, it was refreshing to hear her sincere admiration. My heart felt like it would burst, and my throat tightened.

When I was finally holding our precious son in my arms, I basked in the euphoric high that follows each birth and thought back to the words of the nurse who had welcomed me.

The depth of joy and appreciation that accompanies the birth of a child intensifies with each successive birth, revealing new potential for love and nurturing beyond what I imagined I possessed.

The varicose veins, sciatica, and aches and pains fade into oblivion as I stroke my infant’s silky skin and breathe in his newborn scent.

The satisfaction of career and other life achievements pales in comparison to this happiness, which causes my heart to stretch and inflate with renewed vitality. The words of the Lubavitcher Rebbe—Rabbi Menachem M. Schneerson, of righteous memory—assuring that bringing another child into this world is the greatest shlichut (mission) we can do as women (referring to women who are granted the health and life circumstances that allow it) resonate deeply.

“How will I be able to manage? What about the huge sacrifice of time, resources and sleep that each child demands? And most of all, do I have the physical, spiritual and emotional strength to raise another child wholesomely?”

In this sacred postpartum time and space, there are no questions or qualms. The familiar worries and doubts dissipate.

In these special moments, my trust in G‑d envelops me completely. I am calm in the knowledge that He is a partner in the creation of this child—a partner I can rely upon as I put my best foot forward to try and succeed.

I share these reflections in writing, hoping to bottle the faith and joy to be able to come back to in challenging times. Parenting is a journey that comes with its fair share of struggles, but birth is a poignant reminder that “according to the pain is the gain.”

I remain grateful to my Israeli midwives for their timeless messages: G‑d is with me in my pain, and His salvation can come in the blink of an eye. And, most of all, I appreciate their heartfelt reminder of the gift of motherhood and how fortunate I truly am.