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Latecomers

Rachel Bachrach

The majority of us graduate high school and seminary, get married, have children, and move through the ages and stages of life. But not always is life’s journey so seamless. When the wedding band or baby appears a decade after one’s peers have reached that milestone, what happens? Does gratitude smooth out the wrinkles? Or does the woman whose most heartfelt desire was finally granted feel like she’s constantly playing catch-up?

Wednesday, June 12, 2013

clockShaindy, who lives in the Satmar community inWilliamsburg, gave birth to her first child almost ten years into her marriage. She and her husband marked a few anniversaries before she ever became pregnant, and several years and four devastating miscarriages later, they were still waiting for a baby.

Even when her baby was born, she didn’t feel like a mommy for a while. Because Shaindy’s son Dovid was born six weeks premature, she vacillated between relief — “I finally had a baby!” — and ambivalence. She found she couldn’t relate to other people’s excitement.

“I couldn’t really see my baby, I didn’t hold him, he was losing weight, he was this pathetic pitzeleh,” she remembers. “Finally I’m a mother, you say, but where’s my baby?”

Did Shaindy feel like a mother once she took her son home?

“Yes. No. Maybe.” She laughs. “Really, it was when I went out with him for the first time with a stroller. He was five weeks old, and I felt like my heart was bursting. It kicked in — this is my baby, and he’s here to stay.”

Short pause.

“Actually, it was when he started to walk and talk.”

Another pause.

“No, it was when he was two and a half, and I was expecting my second. It was a normal pregnancy and I was trying to toilet-train my first and getting nowhere — that’s when I joined the ranks of frazzled mother.”

Shaindy laughs again.

“No, it was when I had my second, and there was sibling rivalry, and my older kid was sitting on my baby, and I was juggling the needs of two people. That’s when I realized I’m a mother.”

  

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