As I finish nursing my newborn son, the door bell rings and my heart jumps with excitement—my best friend and her husband have come to visit. I have been home (or should I say- in my bedroom, attached to a nursing pillow) with my baby for three weeks now and crave adult company.

I quietly sneak out of my bedroom (the baby is finally asleep) to greet them. Before I have a chance to hug my friends, I hear the loud roar of my four year old son—Ilan. He has broken my seven –year- old Zachary's Lego ship (the one he has been working on for the past two hours). Zach throws a piece of Lego at Ilan, Ilan bites Zach, Zach bites him back, the nanny jumps in to the rescue, yelling at them in Russian, they scream back at her in English, entering the "who is louder" contest. The rest of the evening is the same as it began- out of control The dog wakes up and jumps with excitement onto Zach, Ilan and the nanny, and now all of them are yelling at him to stop. The baby begins to howl, and as I run back to the bedroom to get him, I step over my hyperactive dog, fall a few meters across the room and hit my head on the edge of the bed. Then the dog spots the cat, napping on my bed and, with a loud bark, begins to chase him around the house. I yell for an icepack, but in this madhouse, no one can hear me. A few minutes later, with my head wrapped in a wet towel and the baby at my breast, I notice my friends' faces- 'Where are we? Circus, zoo, horror movie?!'

"Its OK. Come on in, guys," I say, catching my breath. "It's a normal evening in the Agranovichs' household." I try to be funny, but without success; they don't share my sense of humor. And they are right. It's not funny to a couple whose kids are older and who are used to enjoying calm evenings by the fireplace with a glass of sweet wine and a piece of dark chocolate.

My postpartum hormones take over and I begin to cry In my house, the rest of the evening is the same as it began- out of control, with cranky kids and irritated adults. Cold dinner dishes remain on the table almost untouched, since none of us has had a chance to sit down in peace for longer than five minutes. An hour later, our diplomatic friends suddenly remember they have an important event to attend. I completely understand- if I were them, I would have escaped much sooner! I watch the door close behind them, almost wishing I could step into the freedom with them- the kind I used to have before I had kids. My postpartum hormones take over and I begin to cry, feeling sorry for myself, wondering what happened to my old life and what I am doing in this one. A few years ago, with only two older and semi-independent kids, I had a busy doctoral practice, attended workshops and conferences, ran on the beach with my dog and traveled with my husband. Now, three boys later, I feel like a pie- everybody wants a piece of me. Well, I am running out of "pieces," as well as my sanity. Crying helps; it makes my mind dull and foggy, numbing the feelings.

My husband takes the kids to their room, getting them ready for bed. I sit down in the chair by the window to nurse the baby, slowly rocking back and forth. Quiet fills the bedroom, and I can't get enough of it. From my bedroom window I see hundreds of houses covering the hills. Glowing lights in their windows are dancing in the night, amongst the stars. I wonder: what are the people living in these homes doing with their lives? What struggles do they have, what challenges do they face? Are they happy to be where they are? My eyes lose focus and I fall into a dreamlike state, sinking deeper into the comfort of the chair. With my baby curled up on me, I am melting into his sweet warmness, as if I am near a cozy fireplace in the midst of a cold winter.

I accept my life for what it is, perfectly imperfect In my dream, I see an angel appear. She asks me what kind of life I would like to live. I am puzzled—I don't know what to say. She reassures me that anything I choose can happen. I am still perplexed- this is so unexpected. She starts showing me possibilities… I am an independent and very successful single woman; my husband and I have no children and are free to do whatever we please; my husband and I have one older child; I am a firm and slender yoga instructor…. the film keeps on rolling, but I can't make a decision. All these lives seem great and exciting, perhaps easier to handle, but I don't connect- they are not mine. The angel tells me I am running out of time— she expects me to make a choice, or she will choose for me. Suddenly, my breathing quickens, my stomach sinks in and I am scared, even petrified, to lose what I have now— my messy, chaotic, and loud life! It is as if my spirit begins to shine through the darkness of the mind, showing everything in a different light—the light of gratefulness and appreciation. I wake up shaking in fear, praying I never lose what I have. I hold my baby tight to my chest, franticly thanking G‑d for all the blessings in my life, even if I don't always recognize them through their disguise.

Zach and Ilan, both in their pajamas, rush into the room to say goodnight. I am so happy to see them, as if I have not seen them for days! Zach gives me a hug, kissing the baby. He asks if I want a massage (he knows my answer) and begins rubbing my neck as hard as he can with his little hands. Ilan quietly sits next to me, his soft curls touching my cheek, and I can smell the scent of cherry baby shampoo. With three boys, my sons, around me, I realize that there is nowhere else I would rather be than right here, in this rocking chair, filled with breathtaking gratitude for what I have been given and the devastating fear of losing even a bit of it. That there is nothing else I would rather do than nurse, burp, change diapers, clean up kids' messes, listen to their whining, handle their tantrums and understand my husband's fears and concerns on a day-to-day, around the clock, basis.

So what if I need to arrange babysitting to take a shower and I am overdue for a pedicure? So what if my business clothes have been replaced by nursing clothes? So what if I consider a trip to the grocery store with my husband the highlight of my week? And so what that I am no longer a busy doctor- I am just a mother? So what??

I accept my life for what it is, perfectly imperfect, and let myself fall madly in love with it, just like with my baby- from those impossible-to-handle sleepless nights to melting into his toothless smile. Only by living this life, my life, do I feel truly alive and on the edge, breathless from the contrast of feelings it brings.

That night I fell asleep with a light and joyful heart, knowing I would not mind getting up five times to feed and change my baby. That was the night when he actually slept a six hour stretch for the very first time!