I walked into my apartment after second seder to find my wife, Devorah, looking glum.

“Hi, Devorah,” I said. “What’s wrong?”

“Horowitz from two blocks down had a baby.”

“Oh,” I said. “A boy?”

“Yeah.”

“And they want us to be kvatter.”

“Right.”

With our first anniversary behind us, invitations to act as kvatter at brissim were pouring in furiously. At first, Devorah and I had welcomed these opportunities as a segulah for having children, but after the first half-dozen or so, the invitations started to sting.

All the young couples around us were proudly pushing strollers, or on their way to becoming parents, and we felt keenly conscious of the fact that we had no baby on the horizon.

“Everyone’s looking at me,” Devorah complained. “Wherever I go, I feel people’s eyes examining me to see if anything is ‘on the way.’ ”

I thought she was exaggerating. “You’re just imagining it,” I assured her.

But one day we were walking down the street together, and we walked past a neighbor of ours who was friendly with Devorah. As she passed us, her head dropped, and her eyeballs opened wide as saucers. It was as though she completely lost herself, so focused was she on making the all-important determination.

“Why is this anyone’s business?” I fumed, after seeing that.

“Now you see what I go through every day,” Devorah replied.

As the months passed, our desire to become parents turned into burning anxiety. Devorah was constantly talking — and thinking — about wanting to have a baby, and her fretfulness weighed on me heavily. I had always been a serious masmid, but now I was too stressed to concentrate on my learning. I also felt very self-conscious around my friends in kollel who were busy comparing notes about how long the baby had kept them up the night before. When a well-intentioned fellow in my kollel asked me for my name and my wife’s name so he could daven for us, I wanted to bury myself in the ground.

Worst of all was when we went to Devorah’s parents for Shabbos or Yom Tov. Her mother and sisters didn’t stare, exactly — it was more like sidelong glances when they thought we weren’t looking.

I went to speak to my rebbi and asked him if we should pursue fertility treatment. “What’s the rush?” he asked in surprise. “You’re married only a year and a half!

“This is the time when you should be building your relationship,” he said. “Look at it as a gift. You think it’s easy on a marriage to have a baby right away?”

He told me that a gadol from the previous generation advised couples to wait five years before seeking any medical intervention for infertility.

“Things were different when that gadol was alive,” I responded. “Nowadays, everyone is busy looking over each other’s shoulders. The pressure is unbelievable. I think if that gadol were alive today, he would say that a year and a half today is equivalent to five years back then.”

“I know what goes on among yungeleit today,” my rebbi said. “It’s true that there’s tremendous peer pressure, and everyone’s busy measuring themselves against everyone else. That’s why there’s so much unhappiness. But you can’t succumb to that peer pressure. There’s no reason for you to do anything right now besides daven. Give it time.” (Excerpted from Mishpacha, Issue 690)