Sunday, October 18, 2009

Important Lesson I've Learned on the Job

Over the years, I have been privileged to serve as mohel for parents at all stages of parenthood. First timers, Second timers, etc. up to tenth-timers. I've worked with parents of twins (a number of times) and triplets (twice).

Thankfully, most births are without complication, or with minimal complication.

But I once had the sad role of being the mohel for a premature twin who lived only one day. (There is a custom to circumcise baby boys who do not survive, so their body may bear the mark of the covenant. You may or may not agree with it, but for the parents who lose a baby so soon after birth, this can be very comforting.)

And I've been the mohel for babies who came against all odds, after their parents experienced numerous miscarriages, or many years of infertility - treated and untreated.

I was once called to do the bris on a baby whose parents - both of them - are cancer survivors. I did not know this about them until after the bris. The husband/father gave the most emotionally packed speech I have ever heard at a bris, and I kid you not when I say there was not a dry eye in the room. Their friends and family all know their story, and they all celebrated the birth and bris of that baby in a way I hadn't seen and haven't seen since.

So here is the lesson:

You never know what people go through before having or in order to have a baby. One father put it to me this way: "People keep saying to us, 'why are you waiting? Don't you know it's better to have the kids closer in age?' We have one daughter, and we've had nine miscarriages. We'll take 'em when we can get 'em."

Obviously he won't say that to people. But it just goes to show that people can be really dumb in the things they say.

Those who are blessed to have babies, whether without difficulty, or with difficulty and with help, are truly blessed.

And those who seem to "wait" a long time before having their first, or their second, etc. - they are blessed in a different way (perhaps moreso) when they have their babies.

And those who don't have any children - you never know why it is so.

Wish those who become pregnant the best of wishes. And if they don't become pregnant, do what you can to help only when they reach out to you. Otherwise, don't say anything.

You have no idea what they're going through.

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