Twenty years ago, my midwife added to my reasons for planning a natural childbirth: “We don’t know enough yet about what the experience of natural childbirth gives to women in terms of self-confidence, belief in their own strength, and resilience.” Twenty years later, I think we still don’t know enough, but I learned a little this year.
My stepdaugher-in-law Yael Schwartz gave birth this year to her fourth child in the car and was inspired to run a marathon to raise money for Shalva, an organization in Israel that supports people with disabilities. In her own words:
Last July, I gave birth to my fourth child. I had a very fast delivery where I found myself delivering my son on my own while my husband was driving. It was crazy and amazing, but also a reminder not to take life for granted and to be thankful for this miracle every day because the birth could have ended differently. This experience made me grow and reminded me of my inner strength, but it also made me appreciate life even more. After giving birth, I returned to running, which I love. I overcame my fears and broke new personal records. I have decided to fulfill my dream of running a full marathon and connect my love for running with a good deed by raising 30,000 NIS for children and adults at the Shalva center. The children of Shalva teach us every day how to overcome challenges, set goals, and never give up. They are my inspiration.
Did I mention that Yael is also a working mother? Her story is remarkable, but it can also be the story of every one of us when we encounter a challenge. She didn’t choose to give birth in the car, but she chose how to tell her story; she chose what meaning to make from it. Life confronts us with challenges we never expected and could never predict. It invites us to write our own story with our own lessons learned. We often move forward from those experiences stronger and ready to give back.
Please help Yael help Shalva by reaching her goal! All donations are tax deductible. Yael’s campaign
Shalva provides standard-setting therapeutic, educational, advocacy and family support programs for individuals with disabilities of all ages. These initiatives are driven by the belief that children with disabilities are raised by their empowered families, but embraced by a wholesome, inclusive community.