Thursday, 18 February 2016

Thoughts about the Fertility Process and Adoption

I am busy reading an article about adoption published in a South African publication, Cape Town's Child entitled "Adoption, One woman's quest to be a mother, against all odds, as told to Donna Cobban". As an occupational therapist and infant massage instructor reading up on all kinds of topics related to our clients is important. The article begins about the weather. What an interesting place to start. It talks of a grey rainy day and I think of my own path towards becoming a mother. I always thought it would be rosy and sunny. But to me, it has been like a grey rainy day, probably the kind one experiences in Britain. Why? The skies I experienced in the UK are grey and feel low and oppressive, almost closing in with the bleak cold days.

I continue reading a little and am struck by a point that I mention often to clients. The couple interviewed in the article had elected to wait before starting a family and then when they did begin to try to start a family they began to discover difficulties. Why is this important to share? As the couple mention, once difficulties were picked up, there was less time to attempt to intervene. Fertility and starting a family is a very important reason to focus on getting married young and not to delay starting a family. Of course there are unique situations and every case should be discussed with a competent rabbi who is expert in the laws of family purity and aware of the consequences to one's chance to begin a family if one were to wait. However, in hindsight, if I had the chance all over, I would focus on getting married rather than on career, and make starting one's family a priority.

I often think of one of the best students I ever supervised. She was over 40 years old and had begun to study for her first degree after her youngest child began university. Then she felt her time was free to embark on a career. What a very wise woman. She not only made sure to have her family when she was young and to focus her time and energy on taking care of her family but, once she began studying occupational therapy she was settled within herself and had a wisdom that made such a difference in her approach to therapy with her clients.

Next in the article is a comment from a doctor. Their doctor found all tests to be normal and gave them a blessing to go forth and procreate. What a difference to the doctors I have met. The second doctor I went to began our discussion with "you have no Mitzvah to be a mother, what are you doing here?" Those words cut to the quick and still hurt more than I care to admit. I am so baffled. Why become a doctor, especially one involved in women's health if you have no positive feelings or thoughts towards your patients? I often wonder how different my life would be had the doctor greeted me, introduced herself and then asked why I had come instead of judging me upfront without even knowing my name, age, why I was there or taking my health insurance card. What a change in tone and attitude that would have been. I would have been more relaxed, more open to meeting with her, more willing to be checked out to make sure I was healthy. No blessing came my way, certainly not from doctors. On the contrary, the doctor who made an error had the "kindness" to inform me that he was "tired of those who don't have expecting blessing."

I am baffled by his approach too and again I find myself wondering, why did he get into the health profession of any kind. Why did he obtain a doctorate and elect to work in a hospital. Who else might have or must have suffered by his cruel and harsh words.

At this stage I stopped reading the article. Perhaps I will go back to it, but for now I decided it was time to share my experience in the hope of opening the eyes of the public to how harshly women are treated when wanting to become mothers. As one health professional said to me, most women have the basic desire to be mothers and everyone should have the right to make this decision for themselves. It is not something for a doctor to impose on his or her patients no matter what kind of a bad day s/he might have had. On the contrary, if the doctor has had too many patients for the day and is starting to take out his or her frustrations on their patient, it is time for a break. Time to go home early, even if it means a loss of income for an hour or two or three. That would be preferable to damaging the lives of innocent others for no apparent reason.

Being a part of the medical team is a tremendous responsibility and one not to be taken lightly. If the practitioner begins to resent their patients or to feel that no woman should be having children, then perhaps it is time for them to take a break, have a vacation and maybe even change profession.

I look forward to hearing that all doctors are able to wish their patients well with a parting blessing. What a nice, kind world it would be if we could all learn from the kindness of the doctor mentioned in the article and give a blessing to those we meet with as we part ways. Fr those embarking on the journey to become mothers, may your process be rosy and filled with sunshine. May you meet caring, knowledgeable practitioners and may your goal be fulfilled for the good a good that is revealed, visible and manifest

What kind of fertility process have you had? Are you struggling to gather the emotional strength to do what it takes to become a mother? If you are looking for support, mentoring or a drug free approach you have come to the right place. Visit my website for further details and to schedule an appointment for a session.

With blessings

Shoshanah Shear

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