Pregnancy, Judaism, and "The Bachelorette"

I’ve been watching “The Bachelorette” recently. The season that just ended (I’m watching it on Hulu). Don’t you dare give away who gets the girl. I’m riveted.

And I’m pregnant. Which is awesome. Seven months. We are so crazy excited.

But that is probably not the best combination. Being pregnant and watching a really, really sappy romantic tear-jerker TV show. Let’s just say that a lot of tears have been shed totally unnecessarily.

Thank goodness for Facebook. If it wasn’t for my friends chiming in on my status updates on Facebook, I’d think I was the only one who has become an absolute emotional wreck around seven months preggo. Okay, that is an exaggeration – I’m not a total emotional wreck. But there’s been a lot of crying for ABSOLUTELY no reason. Like, really, no reason.
I do think “The Bachelorette” is partly to blame. However, that doesn’t mean I will stop watching. I am starting to care about this girl. I know, (eye roll) that’s silly, but it’s true.

But “The Bachelorette” does make you think. How do we fall in love, and what does marriage mean? And, since this season’s Bachelorette has a six-year-old daughter, how do marriage, falling in love, and being a parent all relate to each other?

How do you stay working on the marriage, and giving each other the attention as partners, as lovers, and friends, when babies come, in their distracting wonderfulness?

Or even before the babies come, how do you work through the blips and bumps of pregnancy together?

And I would add, what does Judaism have to say about the whole experience?

I am so lucky to have such an understanding husband. This morning, after another bout of my crying over nothing – probably The Bachelorette, really – he rubbed my back and told me everything was going to be okay. Sometimes that’s all we need. Sometimes that’s all we can ask for.

There was a lovely and very real comment in the 8th episode, which I was watching last night while doing laundry (Bachelorette junkies, that’s the episode with the home visits). The Bachelorette was being quizzed by her suitors’ parents about why she was falling in love with their sons. She said something pretty insightful. “Sometimes in marriage you’re not going to like each other, but you’re always going to love each other.”

As I moped around the house last night fueled by some pregnancy hormone related to the little girl growing inside of me and totally disconnected from everything else, this tidbit of advice kept coming into my head.

Maybe that’s how we make marriage work once we complicate it with new emotions & new challenges (whether pregnancy, children, or any other complicated blessing life chooses to throw at us). With patience. Trust. Laughter. And the realization that although things won’t always be perfect, we are perfect for each other.

As the time ticks closer to my due date, I know I will reflect on these changes more. On the new shape our family is taking. On the new world my husband and I are entering with our daughter-to-be.

A passage from a prayer by Rabbi Judy Shanks, written during her pregnancy, and quoted in Anita Diamant’s The New Jewish Baby Book rings true to me now:

With all my heart, with all my soul, with all my might,
I pray for God to watch over me and my family,
I pray for strength and courage when I labor to bring forth this child,
I pray for the capacity to return my husband’s love for me,
I pray for the ability to love and nurture this child,
I pray to feel God’s presence now and always.