This used to be my favorite time of the year. I love the fall. I always loved the start of a new school year. And, while the many hours of shul and prayer might make others cringe, I have always loved Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur.
Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur signify the beginning of the Jewish year. In fact, Rosh Hashanah literally means "head of the year". While they are two separate holidays, Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur are very connected. On Rosh Hashanah, and the following days, we pray to G-d for forgiveness for anything bad we've done in the past year and, we believe, G-d hears our prayers and inscribes, in the Book of Life, what our next year will look like - who shall live and who shall die, who shall be poor and who shall grow rich, who shall be healthy and who shall be afflicted, etc.... The specific prayer with this words is called the Unetanah Tokef and is said in every synagogue around the world during these, our High Holy Days. This Book of Life is sealed on Yom Kippur.
In the Christian world, the new year begins on January 1st. For many I know struggling with infertility, the Christmas/New Year holiday season is extremely difficult as it serves as the "marker" of another childless year passed. It's not that way for me. This time of year is my marker. Everything sort of feels new in the early fall - it's the jewish new year, school starts, the season changes, etc.... and, so, this is when I begin to count another year, another childless year.
This is when I go to shul and see people that I grew up with coming back with their children, while I still remain childless. Of course, my feelings about this time of year are exacerbated by the fact that IVF #1, two years ago, resulted in an ectopic right before Rosh Hashanah and IVF #4, last year, timed out with my egg retrieval right on Yom Kippur.
This might lead some to wonder if my sadness is just a timing issue or if, after all I've been through, I'm questioning my belief in G-d. I can answer that honestly. No, I have never questioned my belief in G-d. I still believe that everything that happens does so for a reason and those reasons are guided by G-d. This doesn't mean that I haven't struggled with my anger at him for facilitating the things that have happened to us, or, more accurately, not happened for us. I have considered thrusting a big middle finger at the sky and not participating in this year's Rosh Hashanah and Yom Kippur services, but, I realize that doing so would not be out of anger or disbelief, but, rather, out of defiance and that wouldn't be the right reason. And, as I said at the beginning of this post, I actually enjoy these holidays. So, who would I be hurting in the end if I chose not to participate?
I am, essentially, in the same place now as I was a year ago at this time, albeit more hardened about the process. I cannot be in this same place come Rosh Hashanah next year. I can't. I won't. As I embark on IVF #7, we understand that we are nearing the end. We're on the precipice of change and there will be some big ones in this coming year for us. I don't know which way things will swing, but, you can be sure, when it comes time to pray the Unetanah Tokef, I'll be praying extra strong for G-d to put us on the positive side of his decisions as well as for me to have the wisdom to see and accept those decisions.