A PUAH Story of Miracle Births
Year after painful year, Sarah hoped, prayed and desperately waited for a child of her own. She was willing to do anything it took; yet, despite all of her and her husband’s efforts, nothing seemed to work. The years passed, month after month of ‘no, not this time’. But still, she kept hoping. Kept trying. Kept praying.
At PUAH, we know the power of hope. When our rabbinic counselors meet with a couple, before they offer their expert halachic and medical guidance, the first thing they offer is hope. “Today, the vast majority of couples struggling with infertility will end up having a baby. The chances are very, very good that, with Hashem’s help, you’ll succeed.”
We meet with so many heroic couples on a daily basis, couples who’ve tried so much, and encountered so much failure, and yet refuse to give up.
“Is there another procedure we can try? Maybe there’s a different doctor we can consult with?” And we continue guiding them, helping them, and holding their hands through the ups and downs of the journey.
After so many years of longing, suddenly, it was all over. Sarah’s childbearing years had passed. She was forced to face the excruciating reality: she would never have a child.
What do you do when you keep getting no as an answer? When one procedure after another doesn’t result in pregnancy? Fertility treatments are painful and draining on so many levels – physically, financially, psychologically, and emotionally. Our PUAH Cares division is here to provide emotional counseling and support, while our rabbinic counselors provide warm, empathetic guidance.
“I remember one couple who’d been struggling for years with infertility,” relates Rabbi Gideon Weitzman, head of PUAH’s English-speaking division and Senior Advisor to PUAH U.S. “They came to consult with me, and I recommended a specific procedure. This particular treatment was quite intense, but I thought it could help them. As soon as the couple heard that, the husband said angrily, ‘That’s all you can recommend? The doctors have told us to do this, but we don’t want to have to go through such a painful procedure. We thought you’d have something better.’ And they turned on their heels and stalked out of the room. “
Rabbi Weitzman understood that their frustration wasn’t really directed at him, but at their situation. This is exactly what PUAH is here for – to be their rock, their bulwark of security, a place to release their anger, sadness and pain and receive the strength and optimism they need to keep going. Rabbi Weitzman contacted the couple later and told them gently that he’s always here for them, whenever they feel they’re ready. It took them several more months but eventually they returned and said they’re ready to undergo the procedure.
Baruch Hashem, Rabbi Weitzman was able to join them the following year for their son’s Pidyon HaBen.
For those of us blessed to have children of our own, it’s impossible to truly understand the depth of the challenge of infertility – how much pain a couple is forced to wade through, how much courage they must draw on, just to keep putting one foot in front of the other. It’s so easy to wonder if there will ever be an end. When one procedure after another yields a negative answer, sometimes it feels like it will take a miracle to actually have a baby of their own.
Then, one day, Sarah receives the most astounding news. She is going to have a baby! At the age of 90! From sheer shock and disbelief and utter joy, she laughs and laughs.
Because Sarah Imeinu knows that she is not just giving birth to a miracle baby; she is birthing a miracle nation.
This is our secret, and our strength. You, I and every Jew alive today is here only because of a miracle.
We began with a miraculous birth – and we went on to become a nation of miracles.
When we cried out to Hashem in Mitzrayim to save us from the unbearable slavery… we knew that miracles were possible.
When we stood by the Yam Suf, with the Egyptians pursuing us and nowhere for us to go… we knew miracles truly happened.
And when a couple finds the strength to continue on in their fertility journey - when every one of us finds the inner fortitude to push on through whatever challenge life throws us - it’s because, deep down, we know.
Miracles can happen. Every one of us is living proof.
Today, we’ve come full circle. Just like at the beginning of our history, once again we live in a generation of miraculous births. As the world moves closer to the final Geula, more and more neshamos are coming down to the world, many in ways we never could have conceived just a few short years ago.
At PUAH, we’re witness to these miracles on a daily basis. Rabbi Elan Segelman, rabbinic director for PUAH U.S., recently flew to Chicago from his home in L.A. for a special bris. He’d guided the couple through their long journey: Seven miscarriages. Thirteen failed IVF transfers. Years of disappointment and discouragement. Doctors couldn’t explain why nothing was working - until their miracle happened. As the new mother declared at her son’s bris, “We’re living proof not to give up hope.”
Today’s medical advances make parenthood possible for couples who, just a few years ago, could never have given birth. (Think about the miracle of a uterine transplant!) And tomorrow’s developments will bring even more miracles and more births.
We’re living in an era of Geula. The tens of thousands of babies who have been born through PUAH’s help can attest to the fact that the yeshua can come – and often, in the blink of an eye. Suddenly, she gets the joyous news – she’s pregnant!
But there are still so many more couples waiting for their personal salvation, for their precious little neshama to come down from Shamayim. With your help, we can continue giving them the guidance and strength they need to see their miracle happen.
And may we be zocheh together to witness the ultimate miracle and see the final Geula.
By Gila Arnold