Ever since I was a little girl, I dreamed of being a mother, it was my life’s goal. I married at the young age of 19, but, to my disappointment, I did not conceive. A year passed, and another year, but I still didn’t get pregnant.
At the age of 23, after having undergone a series of tests at the Hadassah Ein Karem Hospital, my doctors informed me that I was suffering from a severe case of cirrhosis of the liver. The disease was in an advanced stage with life-threatening complications. I would have to undergo a liver transplant to survive.
The search for a suitable liver donor began, and I remained under strict medical supervision.
Then, one day, I had wonderful news. I arrived happy and cheerful at the hospital and announced, “I’m pregnant!” The doctors were stunned and argued that it was not possible. But after an examination it became clear that I was indeed expecting!
My doctors were not as pleased as I was. They counseled me to have an abortion immediately, as the pregnancy would endanger my life. But I was vehemently opposed. “I want to be a mother, and I intend to carry the pregnancy to term,” I told them. Seeing that I was so adamant, the doctors sent me to consult with the venerated sage Hacham Mordechai Eliyahu, z.s.l., former Chief Rabbi of Israel. Hacham Mordechai listened to my story and instructed me to consult the Chairman of the Efrat Organization, Dr. Eli Schussheim.
I had once attended a lecture given by Dr. Schussheim at my high school. I was very glad to meet him again because I was convinced that he would support my resolve to continue the pregnancy, since Efrat’s goal is the prevention of abortions.
However, after studying my medical records, Dr. Schussheim agreed with the doctors at Hadassah Hospital and said that I had no choice but to have an abortion as soon as possible.
I began to weep. “I want to be a mother and I am not willing to have an abortion under any circumstances,” I told Dr. Schussheim.
I could see that he understood my pain, but nevertheless he continued to persuade me to undergo the abortion. “If you continue the pregnancy, you could lose your life and then, you will never be a mother. In your medical condition, you have no choice but to end the pregnancy. Anything else would be suicide,” he told me.
I burst into tears, unable to accept the decree. “At the hospital they told me that I have no chance to become a mother and that there has never been such a case of someone with my condition becoming pregnant,” I sobbed.
Dr. Schussheim tried to comfort me, while doing his best to control his own powerful emotions. Offering a thread of hope, he turned to me and said, “If you have such a strong desire to be a mother, that you are even willing to give your life for it, I am convinced that Hashem cannot refuse your prayers and will create that miracle for you in the future. I will go to Hacham Mordechai Eliyahu and ask him to pray for you. I am sure that Hashem will answer his righteous pleas for you and your future child.”
His words brought me a modicum of comfort. And Dr. Schussheim indeed turned to Hacham Mordechai and asked him to pray that I would survive the liver transplant and then experience another miracle that would enable me to conceive and become a mother.
I went back to the hospital, and, amid dreadful heartache, the abortion was performed. Shortly thereafter, I received the news that a suitable liver donor was found in England. I flew there and, baruch Hashem, underwent a successful liver transplant. I then returned to Israel and began the long and difficult process of recovery and going on with my life.
A year passed, and then another and another. Though I knew from a medical perspective that I had no choice but to accept the abortion, it didn’t make my childless life any easier.
But then, against all medical logic, it happened again – I became pregnant at the age of 28. Completely astonished, my doctors could not believe it and were forced to admit that it could only be explained as a miracle. Nine wonderful months later, amid endless gratitude to Hashem, I gave birth to my own little miracle, a healthy baby girl.