Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Jewish Motherhood: Building Her Own "Brady Bunch"

In this installment of The Jewish Motherhood Project, we hear from veteran mom Elisheva. At 43 years old, she is mother to eight (kein ayin hara)! Her first child arrived when she was 26 and living in Jerusalem.

If you want to participate in The Jewish Motherhood Project, the Q&A are at your fingertips! Also, I'm looking for more words of advice from first-time (and seasoned) fathers.

Did you always want to be a mommy? Why or why not? 
Yes. Growing up I was obsessed with "The Brady Bunch," and I always admired families with a lot of kids. I love babies!

What was your greatest fear when you found out you were pregnant? What was your greatest anticipation/excited feeling?
Greatest fear: miscarriage. Greatest anticipation: holding the baby.

How did your husband/partner and family react to you being preggo?
Happily, Baruch HaShem.

What was your pregnancy like? 
The first time around, I only suffered sciatica during the pregnancy, but the birth was via cesarean because he was breech. I did have an ectopic pregnancy between babies #3 and #4 and two miscarriages before #8.

How did you decide to start telling people you were preggo? Did you wait to reveal the gender?
We waited until the first trimester was over before we told people. For the first four, we didn't find out the gender, but after that we did and we didn't tell :) The children's names were decided on together by me and my husband.

How did the pregnancy affect your work, schooling, or family?
They didn't, B"H.

In the days and weeks leading up to the birth, what do you remember experiencing or feeling?
EXCITEMENT! I love giving birth.

How did you infuse your Jewishness into the pregnancy/labor experience?
Reb Neustadt has two very inspiring shiurim (courses/lessons) on childbirth that I listen to every time I am pregnant. (Link #1, Link #2, or Link #3, and this mom suggests "Growth Through Childbirth" and "Balancing Bitachon & Hishtadlus in Pregnancy")

If you’ve had more children since your first, how were the experiences different? Were you more or less prepared? Was it harder or easier?
I have had seven successful V-backs B"H. I also accidentally gave birth at home once, which was surprisingly (for me) an amazing experience. As I get older, pregnancy is definitely harder.

What would be your three top tips for a first-time mother?
  1. Trust your instincts.
  2. Birth imagery is very important for an easy birth.
  3. Colicky newborns do stop crying. 
Is there anything else you want to add?
The actual act of giving birth is the most amazing experience in the world. The best thing a woman can do for herself is to make sure she is accurately educated and has a support team that she trusts to help insure a smooth delivery.

Chavi's commentary: I'm a big believer in trusting your instincts, too, and I think it's one thing that new moms are the most scared of. Also? I have to wonder about being excited about giving birth. The physical act, that is. All I can think is "Oh my gosh it's going to hurt and be horrible and miserable and traumatic and painful and ouch ouch ouch." I pray that it won't feel that way, that it will be an amazing and emotional experience, but everything I've ever seen on TV tells me otherwise. TV, by the way, has largely ruined my view of everything having to do with giving birth. Argh!