What the Talmud Can Teach Us About Infertility in the Coronavirus Era
My latest in Tablet Magazine on the anti-baby boom that nobody is talking about
This week, I wrote an essay about how the coronavirus lockdowns have disrupted the fertility treatments of countless families—including my own. As I often do, I turned to the Talmud for help reflecting on my current situation, and to the stories of women who confronted the rabbis with their own desperate hopes to have children under difficult circumstances. I discuss how in those stories, though initially resistant, the rabbis found ways to support those women in their aspirations to motherhood. And I offer some ideas for how we might emulate their example:
Just as the rabbis understood that there are needs that transcend the letter of the law, we ought to strive to understand the struggle of the women in our midst whose need to have children overwhelms prudential considerations. This doesn’t mean that we can reopen the clinics, but it does mean remembering that those who were struggling with infertility before are still struggling now. It means being careful when we talk about all of the babies that will be born because people are bored during quarantine. It means thinking twice about complaining to your friend who wants to have children about how hard it is to be stuck at home with your kids.