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For the last three weeks, BWB and I thought I was pregnant.

I’ll spare you the gory details — I refer to you to health class and the fact that we are happily married if you need help figuring out how we might come to such a conclusion. The important point here is that for various reasons, we had what our doctorly selves would call a high index of suspicion that there were some rapidly dividing cells hanging out in my reproductive tract.

At first is was almost a game, joking about how annoying it was that I couldn’t have wine. Then he came in one afternoon and found me cleaning the cat boxes and got very upset — I think that was the moment I realized how seriously he was taking this. Right then it became very real.

We have a plan, and it involves waiting until after intern year before we bring an infant into our carefully orchestrated chaos. A pregnancy right now was clearly not part of the plan. BWB and I were suddenly overwhelmed with thoughts of how to afford child care and baby things, whether our insurance would cover prenatal care, and if we would need to move into a more suitable house. Then there were questions of how I would be viewed at residency interviews while 6 months pregnant. One morning I found myself near tears at the realization that I was just getting used to being a wife and wasn’t ready to add on mama yet.

Despite all of the reasons for us to start panicking, we both were also excited about the idea. I was surprised, actually, at how instantly protective and engaged BWB became. I expected him to think I was being silly at least until we got some proof, like a pregnancy test, but he didn’t. Over the course of those three weeks we talked about godparents and names and how and when we would tell people.  (I wanted to send my father a birthday card that said “Happy Birthday Granddad!” and see if he figured it out.)  I would have been due at the end of March, and I thought it would be one of the best birthday presents I could have given my mother, a fellow Pisces.  I teased BWB about how this was actually a clever plot to get out of changing litterboxes, and he tried not to taunt me too much about alcohol, cheese, and sushi.  Just in case, of course.

We put that caveat on every conversation, “if” I were pregnant or “just in case”, but as time went on it became harder to remember the if part. When I got my first negative, we both cried and I was crushed. We held out hope, quoting studies about accuracy and false negatives. On Wednesday, though, the incontrovertible proof turned up and we both cried again.

I don’t know for certain if I’ve just had a long but otherwise normal cycle or if we had an early miscarriage, one which never made enough hormone to stick properly or trigger a positive test. In the end it doesn’t really matter, as the net result is that I am not going to have a baby in March.

And in the end, I’m left feeling really sad. I’m around pregnant women all day at work, and it’s been really hard.  I think both of us are trying to be positive and talk about how this was a good trial run, and it was, but there is an undercurrent of real loss which is hard to grapple with.  Rationally, I know it is silly to be upset by something (someone) who probably never existed, but my emotions aren’t responding well to rationality right now. For three weeks, I thought I was going to be a mama. For three weeks, I imagined our life turned upside down by seven pounds of trouble.

For three weeks, I was pregnant.



In a sermon a few weeks ago, the priest was talking about soul food, the kind of food that not only feeds your body but makes you feel good inside at the same time.  He drew a parallel to communion, not surprisingly, and in the process of doing so said something along the lines of, “Jesus created a way to nourish our spirits”.  Not long ago, I would have taken this at face value and moved along.


On Sunday morning, the priest says a blessing over bread and wine.  He washes his hands, and says a prayer over that, too.  He blesses the congregation, and we all share food together at God’s table.

For the last three Friday nights, we have said a blessing over bread and wine.  We wash our hands and say a prayer after we do so.  We bless each other, and then we share food together.  I’d venture to say we share food together at God’s table on Friday nights, too.

I don’t think most Christians are aware of how closely Sunday morning Eucharistic prayers mirror what happens in Jewish homes every Friday night.  I also don’t think that the echo somehow invalidates or cheapens either ritual.

I’ve heard several sermons over the years which have addressed the importance of sharing food in ancient/Middle Eastern cultures.  The basic concept is that sharing a meal creates a special connection, establishing a relationship amongst the people gathered at the table.  This is why the Israeli and Palestinian representatives have refused to sit down to dinner with each other, even after signing treaties.  There is an obligation to treat someone with whom you have shared food with a level of respect that perhaps is inconvenient for opposing politicians.  This idea of being united by sharing food is one which I’ve heard many times before, but I wonder if I’ve missed the point in the past.

I don’t think Jesus, the Jewish man, was thinking literally when He told His disciples to think of Him when they broke bread together in the future.  He said, I am the Bread of Life.  Christ was broken for all of us, for the whole world.  I think what Jesus was getting at was that we should recognize that through Him, we have all broken bread together, whether we have shared a table or not.  I think what He wanted us to remember was that His ministry was for everyone, no matter what they believed, and that the obligation we feel to each other should not be limited by whether we have literally broken bread together.

For me, both Friday night challah and Sunday morning communion wafers are a reminder of my ties to my family and to my community.  I think I need to also remember that everyone is invited to God’s table, even though they may not be able to literally fit in my dining room.

Yesterday, one of my residents was looking at Smitten Kitchen and the two of us were talking about various recipes from there which we love.  I told the her I used that blog’s challah recipe every week, and she agreed it was one of the best she knew of.  There wasn’t any discussion of religion, just food, and we moved on to cookies and lemon cakes.

Later, we were out to dinner with some other residents and the topic of conversion came up.  I mentioned that my husband is Jewish and I am Episcopalian but neither of us plans to convert, and there was some bemusement at the table.

Then this resident spoke up, “Yeah, but she makes challah every week.”

Everyone aaahed and nodded, as if that explained everything.  I’m not sure how, but it felt good anyway.  I wonder if that should be my new introduction now: I’m not Jewish, but I make challah every week.  Think that’d work?

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