Infertility is a very fraught issue. Anyone raising the issue to those experiencing such a situation has the potential to cause distress, especially with our community being so heavily based on family and celebrations being centred around brit milah and baby naming ceremonies, bar and batmitzvahs, and so on.
The Torah recognised this in the stories of our matriarchs, and this is repeated in many instances in the prophets.
Sarah is infertile, only giving birth at the age of 75, and only after Abraham’s circumcision and the birth of his other son, Ishmael.
Rebekah is another case. She was 20 years married before she gave birth, and this only occurred after her husband prayed for her to be fertile.
She is in many ways a curious individual. Brought up in the house of tricky Laban, she is decisive in her move to marry Isaac.
When the twins in her womb cause a rumpus, she goes to talk to God and hears about their future rivalry.
Ultimately though she serves the interests of her favourite son, Jacob, and for this she is punished by never seeing him again after he leaves for Syria.
When we look at all of our patriarchs, we are reminded of our own lives. We love our families, want our children and our relationships to be successful, and yet we always worry.
That’s the nature of true parenthood– we will always want the best for them, no matter the age of the child.
Rabbi Zvi Solomons serves JCoB, the Orthodox Jewish Community in Reading