By Cara Rock-Singer
Miscarriages and fertility challenges happen a lot; even within the Jewish community. Though many people suffer through the pain of infertility or the loss of miscarriage, they often do so in silence. The burden of silence can be compounded by an all-too-common and troubling belief that women are to blame for these issues: that reproductive challenges are caused by laxness in following the laws of taharat hamishpacha (laws surrounding the mikveh; literally "family purity"). And though the Mishna states that those who do not keep the laws punctiliously may be punished in childbirth, the mishna says nothing about infertility. Likewise, while the time of immersion is a special time to pray for the blessings of fertility, it is not a magical cure to medical issues. Zeal in keeping the laws of niddah has no relation to becoming pregnant or carrying a baby to term. It’s time for our community to trade the silence and the for more open, supportive conversation that acknowledges these losses.
It’s not difficult to explain the silence around miscarriage and infertility. With miscarriage, it’s hard to openly grieve a loss that most people don’t know happened: