The Jewish Woman
A Gift Instead of Abortion, Happy Birthday to Mika
Tehilla was only 22, and was very worried about continuing her pregnancy, but with the help of her supportive family, she refrained from carrying out an abortion. Today, a year on the birth of her daughter, Mika, she does not regret it for a moment. "She is beyond anything ever created"
It's time to talk about the wonderful side of motherhood, the net profit — that all the money in the world doesn’t come close to, and the most beautiful thing in the world that you will be embracing in your arms after nine months, if you make the right decision.
It does not matter how old you are and under what circumstances you became pregnant. It doesn’t matter how much cash you have in the bank and it doesn’t matter which important positions you have. Motherhood is the role of your life, and it's important you learn to listen to your soft and tender inner voice that whispers somewhere deep inside the real answers to your questions.
Still not convinced? Perhaps the story of Tehilla, 23, from the north of Israel, will convince you:
One morning, at the age of 22, Tehilla felt pain during urination and she feared that she was suffering from a urinary bladder infection. She did a routine checkup with her gynecologist, and was shocked to hear his answer. "You’re pregnant," her doctor informed her, without any preparation to digest the news.
Tehilla came out of the clinic crying and anguished, feeling that she had just destroyed her life. In a moment, her life changed dramatically and she found herself in a new situation in which she had to grapple with conflicts and complex questions, such as how to tell her parents and how they would take it. How would she tell her boyfriend who hadn’t even completed his military service, and what would she do with this child? Of course she understood that new life was forming inside of her now, and that she had a chance to fulfill her dream of becoming a mother. Yet she felt that she was too young, and could not raise a child on her own. She felt real fear of the unknown future.
Confused and panicking, she called her religious sister who was abroad at the time. The older sister heard the story, calmed Tehilla down and said: "You cannot have an abortion. G-d has chosen you to bring this child into the world. You know what that means? It means that you're a great soul chosen to give this small and helpless creature the protection that it needs. You have something that only you can give it. Be strong, and I will be at your side. Tell our parents and do not worry about anything. Everything will work out for the best."
Her words penetrated Tehilla’s heart and calmed her down. Equipped with the tools of faith and trust, Tehilla told the news to her parents while preparing herself for the worst. At first, her mother supported the idea of abortion under the pretext that she was too young to raise a child. Later, under the influence of other members of the family, the mother was convinced that abortion is murder for all intents and purposes, and decided to stand by her daughter, whatever decision she made.
Her family's support for the idea of her giving birth infused Tehilla with courage, and she saw it as a sort of sign from heaven that she shouldn’t have an abortion. She decided that no matter what happens, she’ll go with her faith to the end, and wouldn’t let worry or social stigma decide instead.
One year old Mika
"I was too young," Tehilla replies when asked why she thought about abortion. "I was afraid of society’s disapproval and what everyone would say. In addition, since I come from an economically disadvantaged family, I knew that even if my boyfriend would agree to marry me, my family would not be able to finance such an expensive event. Today, in retrospect, I realize I was in emotional distress and the only thing I needed to give up on the idea of abortion was reassurance and encouragement from those closest to me."
Now you are Mika’s mother, and she is already a year old. How does it feel?
"Wow. I'm trying to find the right words to describe the feeling, but I just can’t. There aren't words that can describe this amazing feeling. You can read this letter I wrote to Mika recently, when she turned a year old. This was the only way I could express my feelings," she says, handing me the letter in a pink envelope.
"My beloved Mikush, now finally, a day after we celebrated a lot, I have time to bless you. My gorgeous girl, mom wants everyone to know that from the day you were born, my life changed. You created a new life in front of which everything is dwarfed in importance. Suddenly, from the moment I saw you emerge into the world, when we were excited together, when we cried together tears of joy and relief, when we hugged each other, when your mother was finally able to go and see you in the preemies department, when we looked at each other with eyes of belonging and understanding — all of a sudden everything started to flow, and everything had a double meaning.
“You highlighted for me many concepts that previously were just ordinary flowers in the garden of life; you revived for me the concepts of giving, love, joy, relationships, family and unconditional happiness. Difficult yet so satisfying at the same time.
“I knew it would not be simple to raise a child at my young age and without any prior preparation, and true, I admit I thought about an abortion. But at the same time, I knew deep inside of me that I'm not going to give you up no matter what. Nine months I waited for you with patience and love so you would brighten my life with a new light like no other. And as they always say, patience pays.
“I got an incredibly great gift which cannot be compared to anything ever created — a beloved child that radiates light to everyone and teaches them to be happy. A friendly child, who stretches out her hands to everyone, who easily penetrates the heart of every person.
“A child who is thoughtful and easy and doesn’t cry for no reason. I wish you, my beloved daughter, all the happiness and all the best that the world has to offer. That you grow up to be a quality and good person, G-d-fearing and believing in G-d. Who feels that the success of others is her success and the happiness of others is her happiness. Whose smile will never leave her face and whose joy of youth will accompany her all her life! Continue to be our little, beloved and lovely child as always, full of only good surprises.
“I will watch over you and G-d will watch over us always! I love you and thank G-d every day for the great gift that He gave as my portion. I will always be here for you, to care and love you in every situation. And know that even if there are setbacks and crises along the way, Mother loves you with endless love. There are no words to describe my love for you, but the heart is witness to it! I love you my sweetie, a love that will never end! Happy Birthday and may we celebrate many more beautiful years ... from your mother who always loves you."
Tehilla explains that she could not have gone through the difficult process if not for the faith she had in G-d. As a girl who had been educated in religious schools until the age of 18, she knew very well the Jewish legal view of abortion.
"Just knowing that it is forbidden, gave me the strength to believe that if G-d gave me the possibility of conceiving, it was a sign that it was His desire that a child would come to the world, and so, with all the difficulty I had in making the decision to continue this pregnancy, I knew it was the right thing to do. Thank G-d, a week ago we celebrated Mika’s first birthday, may she live to one hundred and twenty, and I think the greatest gift we received on her birthday is Mika herself.
“I am grateful to G-d for giving me the strength to pass this trial and bring my Mika into the world. There is nothing in my life that makes me more happy than her, and this is my advice to anyone who thinks to do an abortion: Believe in G-d and in yourself and you will see what great joy your child will bring to your life, if you do not give him up. I also had every reason in the world to believe I could not do it, but it's all nonsense. The moment you hold your baby in your hands, everything dwarfs in significance."
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