Although I do not believe in medical miracles, I rejoice in the reality that I have experienced two—when I became pregnant with (and ultimately gave birth to) first my son and then my daughter.
From the age of thirteen-and-a-half, when I began menstruating, until age eighteen, I endured a great deal of pain whenever I got my period. My parents took me to the gynecologist, but he did nothing but assure me that “this too shall pass” with time.
Unfortunately, he was wrong.
In the summer of 1965, a few months after graduating from high school and a month before entering college, I underwent surgery for a cyst on my left ovary. Not until one week within my recuperation period, when I felt more alert, did my parents confess that the surgery had been more involved than I thought: the doctor had removed my entire left ovary and three-quarters of my right one. The chances of my becoming pregnant were slim.
Thus, I added a new worry to my long-time worry that I would never find anyone to marry me: I feared that should I marry, I would never be able to have children. I saw myself as the “broken-winged bird” in a Langston Hughes poem.
I married in June, 1972 and spent the next year living in Jerusalem. I felt that the Holy City offered the perfect site for me to ask for my miracle. One day, without my husband or a friend to accompany me, I walked to the Western Wall in the Old City and prayed. Then, as so many other worshippers do, I put a note—one I had written earlier in my dorm room—into one of the many cracks in the Wall: Please let me become pregnant. I remember leaving the Wall with a sense of serenity and acceptance. “It will be what it will be,” I told myself. I had asked for my miracle, and now I had to find the patience to wait for the results of my asking.
The results came a few months later when I visited a Jerusalem doctor to complain of ongoing nausea and tiredness. “You are pregnant,” he announced. “Mazel tov!”
I patted my still flat stomach with tenderness, gratitude and shock, both then and two years later when I was again pregnant. Two miracles in one lifetime made me feel blessed.