My Mother’s Miracle
My story begins with a series of incidents that encapsulate how my mother who was completely sheltered from the even the slightest adversity faced a situation so demanding it could have destroyed her. But instead, with a strength and vivacity she never knew she possessed, she rose up to meet the challenge that brought about a resolution one can only hope for. The significance of these events will become apparent as I reveal what has become a miracle for my mother, and for me.
It was the early 1930’s when my mother, an only child, was born to an affluent and well-respected family. They lived a very privileged life wherein my mother was treated like a princess and anything and everything she ever needed or wanted was always at her disposal. She was extremely overprotected to the extent that she never knew of or ever had to face even the slightest hardship. These perks, however, came with a high price in that this little girl was expected to exemplify the very high standards her mother demanded of her, being born into a family of influential standing. Nonetheless, she lived a carefree childhood and contentedly lived her life through rose-colored glasses where, in her naivety, she was certain nothing untoward could ever happen to her.
At the tender age of seventeen, my mother met her Prince Charming and after a whirlwind romance married just shy of her upcoming birthday. The new bride flourished under her so recently acquired independence that was part and parcel of married life. Having cut the strings that bound her so close to her mother, she was now free to make her own decisions, not only for herself, but for her household as well. One of her most cherished dreams was to surround herself with a houseful of many loud and boisterous children. Her own childhood home was filled with a rebounding silence, and except for being with other kids in school, most of her time was spent in the company of adults. My mother vowed that her own children would never experience such loneliness. Sadly, the road to achieve that goal did not come easily and her fairy tale life began to unravel. For the first time in her life, my mother faced a problem that her family’s wealth and circumstance could not mend.
You see, my parents tried so hard to have a family. They became pregnant easily enough, but the joy this news brought shortly disappeared when my mother miscarried soon afterwards. Her doctor assured her nothing was amiss, and explained that this happens more often than not, many times without the mother ever having known she was pregnant at all. My mother was hopeful, and became pregnant for the second time shortly thereafter. Unfortunately, this resulted in a second miscarriage, and then, yet another. In less than eighteen months, my mother had been pregnant three times and, to date, there was no baby. With each loss, her grief mounted and the reality of having a family of her own fell farther from her reach.
With news of a fourth pregnancy, her doctor became more vigilant and followed her extremely closely in the hopes of avoiding another mishap. This time she passed both her first and her second trimester without incident and was overjoyed as she watched the gradual swell of her belly. She waited, with increasing trepidation, for the birth of her baby two months hence. Alas, three weeks later, one month prior to her supposed due date, my mother was jolted awake in the wee hours before dawn with a sharp pain in her belly. This pain signaled a terrifying feeling of anguish and dread, and in haste, my parents drove to the hospital. Some three hours later, their tiny baby girl was born, weighing in at a mere 3.2 pounds. Unhappily, my parents would never have the opportunity to meet their daughter as she left this world only thirty hours after she entered it. Later, my mother would recall, ironically, it was at the exact time of her baby’s passing that she was once again jolted awake during the night. This time the feeling of dread was more pronounced than it was the first time and, thus, when later that morning she was informed of her daughter’s passing, it came as no surprise. My parents were devastated, my mother, inconsolable. Doctors’ advised them that my mother’s health would be seriously at risk should she attempt another pregnancy and she should seriously consider adoption.
“Adoption! Never!” my mother exclaimed, in her intractable grief.
For my mother, adoption was unacceptable. “Bones of my bones, flesh of my flesh (Genesis 2:23)”, she quoted from the Bible.
A child of her own body was the only baby she would ever consider as her own. Five days later my parents left the hospital empty handed.
My mother’s desire to bear a child would remain steadfast despite medical advice to the contrary and she did not stand idly by and willingly accept her fate. Thankfully, as time would have it, my mother was blessed with her fairy tale ending. Three months after the tragic loss of her firstborn child, my mother became pregnant for the fifth time. The ensuing months passed in a flurry as her home was busy with the comings and goings of doctors and nurses hired to closely monitor her progress, and, frequent visits by family members to help my mother in her confinement. But the greatest blessing was the constant presence of her mother, my grandmother, who remained at her bedside for the duration of the pregnancy as she so selflessly ensured that all my mother’s needs were lovingly met at all times. I claim, to this day that I actually felt her constant caresses and heard her adoring voice from deep within my mother’s belly.
I was born exactly one year following the passing of the sister I would never meet. The first few days after my birth were precarious at best, but we both passed the test with hope, strength and confidence. Several days later, my parents took me home, this time their arms and hearts full and sincerely grateful for the precious gift they were given. And not far behind, for everyone to see, was my proud grandmother, at the ready, prepared to pamper me, her miracle baby, as he always called me, in the way she did her daughter.
I don’t believe in coincidence, or in luck or happenstance. It is truly my firm belief that it is through divine intervention that I am here today. I am my mother’s miracle brought about with the help of a kind and loving G-d. To say He works in mysterious ways is an understatement, as it is only He, with his abounding love and mercy that can perform miracles well beyond the capacity of human endeavor.
As a postscript, it is also through His grace that my mother went on to birth two more healthy children that further guaranteed her “happily ever after”. She now had not one sibling to keep me company she added another to the mix! She thus ensured I would never be lonely, and the big, happy family she so desperately desired would always surround me. My mother was not blessed with one miracle she was blessed with three!