- Written by Dr. Karen Friedman
I’m finally reached the most amazing status of becoming a grandmother.
(I decided to be called Nona, which I later discovered is the goddess of fertility).
While preparing for the brit mila, my daughter Avia was told that the kvatter (one who carries the baby) should be a fertility challenged couple, to give them a segula (good luck) for having children. Having worked in Keren Gefen, my daughter understood the complexity of the situation. While for some couples this may be a beautiful minhag (custom), for others being asked would be putting them in a situation of shame and pain. In the work that Gefen has done with fertility challenged women, we have found that this role can be devastating. To quote one woman in the group for the Haredi community, “I wanted the earth to swallow me, everyone was staring at me, I was so sad, I felt so much shame, I will never go to another brit mila”.
I call upon all fertility organizations to create a language together for how to ask couples (if one wants to ask couples to have this honor). How to be sensitive... Not to ask couples, who for them we think this minhag might put them in a painful situation. After we come up with a document together, my wish is to give this to Mohalim, perhaps put up in mikvaot, so that people may be aware that when they are trying to do something that is a bracha and a positive act, it might actually end up causing pain.