A Mothers Joy
“I wanted to publicize my story after I read about EFRAT on Facebook.” said Adi.
“10 years ago I was 18 and seeing a wonderful guy. When I found out I was pregnant, we concluded that we’d terminate the pregnancy. We didn’t tell anyone but after a few days I couldn’t hold it in and broke down with my sisters. They strengthened my plan to end the pregnancy, telling me that I had no other option. It would be crazy for two 18-year olds to establish a home together. What would we live on? Where would we live? We’d have no support as we each came from big families struggling to make ends meet. So many uncertainties meant that this was our only option.
The night before, I couldn’t sleep. My head told me that I was doing the right thing but my heart wept. The next morning, I spotted my mother in the kitchen. I wished that she’d realize that something was happening. With a mother’s intuition, she asked me if I was ok. I couldn’t stop crying. I told her I was pregnant and on the way to terminate it. She hugged me and told me. “As your mother I won’t let you do something that you’d regret for the rest of your life.”
‘I called my boyfriend. I told him that I had the support of my parents and perhaps we should marry. A friend of my mother’s put me in touch with EFRAT and it is with their help that I was able to give birth to my first baby. They supported me during the pregnancy and after I gave birth. I received everything a baby could need – a bed, a stroller, bath, diapers, clothes, bottles, pacifiers! I’ve been married now for 10 years and I’ve had two more children. My children are my whole world; I wouldn’t give them up for anything.”
Building From the Ruins
Penina was a 23 year old IDF widow when she approached us in the year 2002. She and her husband, Ivgeny, had made Aliyah from the former Soviet Union a few years before.
Ivgeny was called up to reserve duty during the military campaign ‘Chomat Magen’. Their daughter was a baby of just six months old when he went to the army. This left Penina in the position of juggling work and looking after her baby. At the same time she worried deeply for Ivgeny’s safety.
While Ivgneny was in the army, Penina found out that she was expecting another baby and she immediately called him to let him know the happy news. Ivgeny was pleased even though their financial situation was not good because his income was small.
Penina’s world collapsed that evening when there was a knock at her door and she opened to see army representatives with grim faces. Ivgeny had fallen in battle in Jenine.
Together with the shock and trauma of losing her beloved husband, Penina had to deal with pressure from friends and family who did not feel that she would be able to manage alone financially with two small children. They did not think that she should have this baby. Penina contacted EFRAT and our volunteer offered non-judgmental support to the young widow. When she heard about the possibility of financial assistance, she continued her pregnancy.
She named her new daughter Keren Ivgenia, in honor of her husband. In the most painful and difficult moments, EFRAT’s volunteer stood by Penina and helped her to choose life. The support and reassurance that the volunteer was able to offer Penina were invaluable.
Recently I spoke with Penina and she said that she thanks EFRAT daily for the fact that her daughter is alive. Keren is now a young woman and a blessing to her mother, bringing comfort to her every day.
“Motherhood came early to me. I gave birth to two sons within one year and yet I did not feel that I was sufficiently ready to be a mother. As the years passed, things began to balance out and I started to enjoy my role. However, the difficult experience of those early years was burnt into my memory. When I realized that I was pregnant for the third time, it felt as if this was beyond my capabilities. I wanted another child but it did not seem possible. We barely covered our costs each month and that was with two children. How would we feed a third? Work-wise it was also badly timed. I was being promoted to a senior position which would significantly enhance our quality of life. I worried that if
I took a maternity leave now, someone else would be promoted in my place. I struggled back and forth. I couldn’t sleep at night. I kept hearing about women who had terminated their pregnancy. It was all around me.
Slowly a decision formed. I would take control of my own life. This pregnancy would not rule me. Perhaps in a few years I would be more ready for another pregnancy and then we would have another baby. I only included my husband in my decision. We did not tell anyone about the pregnancy or about the termination, not family, friends, or even my mother. I was worried that outside influences would unsettle me and would succeed in changing my mind. I was trying to silence the small inner voice inside me which was telling me not to go ahead. Yet I did go ahead, with that terrible feeling inside me, although in day to day life it was business as usual. Life went on. I received the promotion I had hoped for and our financial situation eased. But thoughts of this baby did not leave me for a minute. Even though I was happy, in one area I was not satisfied. I felt deprived of motherhood.
Years passed and when my two sons grew up, I wanted another child but to my intense disappointment I could not get pregnant. I went from doctor to doctor. They couldn’t find any problem but the facts spoke for themselves.
My story was a clear message to me. Today I am an EFRAT volunteer and I have committed myself to helping other women keep their babies.”
Brought Back to Life
“I was single for many years. One could say that I had lost hope that I would establish my own home or become a mother. I never dreamed that I would finally meet someone.
At a family occasion someone approached me and pointed a man out; they said that he was interested in meeting me. We began going out and from the start I felt that our relationship had real potential. Newly arrived from France, he was divorced with two children, both in France with their mother. When I realized that I was pregnant, we decided to get married. Almost immediately I felt that my partner was distancing himself. He began to tell me about the problems he had with his ex and about the money she was squeezing out of him. Eventually he left me and I found myself facing my pregnancy alone. My world seemed to collapse onto me.
I was at a breaking point; I was so scared about how I would make ends meet with a baby to raise. I felt that life had dealt me a cruel hand and I did not want to bring a child into this cruel world.
On the recommendation of a friend I turned to EFRAT. This was one of the wisest steps that I have ever taken. EFRAT was a ray of light. I slowly regained a feeling that life had meaning. I realized that in reality this pregnancy was a gift; it gave my life meaning. Throughout the pregnancy an EFRAT volunteer accompanied me. She listened and cared and helped me at every opportunity.
Today I am a proud mother of a 3 month old princess. After birth I received a delivery of everything that a baby could possibly need: a crib, stroller, bath, clothes, you name it. I will never be able to thank this incredible organization. It was them who really made it possible for me to be a mother.”