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How One of My Dearest Friends Told Me She Was Pregnant
A blog by Rhonda Levy, March 27, 2014
I married my husband more than two years before my dear friend married hers. I began trying to become pregnant immediately after my wedding, but on the day of my friend's wedding, she was already pregnant and I was not. By that time, a devastating miscarriage was the closest I had come to having a baby. By her wedding day, my husband and I had attempted to conceive via in vitro fertilization (IVF) three times and failed. Needless to say, it was not the happiest time in my life, but I put my misery aside on my friend's wedding day because I love her with all my heart and was thrilled to see her so happy.
I think my friend threw caution to the wind during her engagement because watching what I was going through scared her to death. Unlike me, she had no difficulty conceiving. On her wedding day, my husband and I were the only ones in the room, aside from her immediate family, who knew that she would be having a baby seven months later. I remember exchanging concerned glances with her mother when, in accordance with Jewish tradition, she and her new husband bobbed up and down in chairs held high in the air as their guests danced around them in jubilant celebration. With only our eyes, her mother and I asked each other, could this be harmful to the baby? Well that baby just turned eighteen and is soon off to college, so there is the answer to our silent question.
It could not have been easy for my friend to tell me she was pregnant, but with exquisite sensitivity, she did. We live far away from one another, so she told me over the phone. I think it was better that way, because it gave me a chance to hang up and digest her news in the privacy of my own home. There is nothing I would change about the way that she told me. This is what she said: "I know that you are going to be happy for me when I share this news with you, but at the same time I know that hearing it will be hard for you." With that single, perfect sentence she acknowledged that I would never want for her to experience what I was going through, but that her pre-wedding pregnancy would shine a harsh light on my own struggle and cause me some pain.
Many years have passed since then and she is still my very dear friend. We are tuned in to each other's emotions in a very unique and special way. After two more attempts to conceive via IVF following her wedding, I finally became pregnant with my twin sons, now seventeen, on what was my fifth IVF attempt. Shortly after they were born, my friend and her husband visited us with their son, who was by then a beautiful blond, curly haired, blue-eyed ten-month-old. Within a few more years, my friend gave birth to two more sons. We often shake our heads in disbelief that, between the two of us, we now have five sons.
Although they don't see one another as regularly as they would like to given the miles between us, our five sons have a deep connection, which brings my friend and me great joy. We are particularly grateful for the special bond between my sons and her youngest, who is cognitively impaired. The love they feel for one another was especially palpable on two very important days in their lives. On the day of my sons' B'nai Mitzvah, after they read their Torah portions and returned to their seats, her youngest son jumped out of his, ran across the aisle and squeezed in between them, smothering them with wet kisses and tight hugs. Three years later, on the day of his Bar Mitzvah, after his parents movingly helped him repeat some words from his Torah portion, he made a bee line past hundreds of guests he knew and loved, and, once again, squeezed himself in between my sons. This time it was they who smothered him with wet kisses and tight hugs.