SBH Fertility Support Program Launch Event
By: Mirna Chehebar
On August 14th, 2019 the SBH Fertility Support Program held its launch event at Ohel Yaacob Congregation on Lawrence Avenue in Deal, New Jersey. Every seat in both the main sanctuary and the balcony were filled with women eager to listen, learn and support. The morning also included a yoga class with Kady Harary of Gefen Fertility at the home of Nellie and David Haddad. Kady spoke about her fertility journey in the synagogue after a last-minute location change due to rain. She was followed by an outstanding panel of community women discussing their personal journeys as well.
Kady eloquently expressed the difficulties she faced in seeing everyone move ahead in growing their families while she struggled with infertility. She discussed the important lesson of “finding motherhood” through her own amazing ability to put her pain into purpose. She did so through her involvement with Gefen Fertility, a non-profit organization based in Jerusalem which provides emotional and wellness support to fertility-challenged women. Kady has helped hundreds of couples on their own journeys with fertility yoga sessions, which help women connect with their bodies as well as reducing stress and anxiety during a tumultuous time.
Following Kady’s speech, the panel event began, featuring six courageous community women discussing their own journeys with infertility, miscarriage and loss, and postpartum depression/anxiety. Dr. Robby Setton, the panel’s moderator, was in medical school when he and his wife experienced their own fertility struggles. It was then that he chose to dedicate his life to curing infertility and is now a Clinical Fellow in Reproductive Endocrinology and Infertility, and the proud father of three. His personal and professional insight made him an invaluable aspect to the panel.
The panelists’ stories were filled with hardships, tears, loneliness and hope – and the overall feeling that a program for our community addressing these issues was a desperate need. Nothing was held back as topics ranging from PCOS, male infertility, ectopic pregnancies, postpartum depression, early loss, marital tension, and financial stress were discussed. They heroically re-lived each of their experiences, resulting in the event’s greatest achievement – uncovering the heavy blanket of shame that lay over the topic of infertility. Audience reactions ranged from “I never knew” to “me too” as they became more enlightened about the burden so many of our community members unfortunately face. A very special thank you to the women of the panel: Luisa Hanan, Susie Nagar, Shirley Shalom, Esther Mizrahi, Stephanie Levy, and Esther Paskie. Their impact is immeasurable, as is our appreciation.
Overall the day was a smashing success, with nearly 450 women in attendance and many more who have since watched the inspiring day unfold. It has been inspiring to hear the stories of so many women who have opened up about their journeys after attending or hearing about the event. We anticipate that this event will be the first of many successful and helpful ways in which the SBH Fertility Support Program will touch the lives of those experiencing obstacles in growing their families.
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