What Nadav Taught Me: Ask and You Shall Receive

29 Feb

Today – in fact two hours ago precisely – marks one week since we lost Nadav. Time is moving fast, and for that I am grateful. We are doing as ok as we can be. My family and friends have been on “Mo watch”, so I have someone with me literally 24 hours a day, keeping me busy, distracted, or just letting me talk and cry. This is because of one of the biggest lessons that Nadav taught me.

I’ve never been one of those people who expected others to read my mind and then somehow magically give me exactly what I need at any given moment.

On the other hand, I also never really ask for anything. I feel weird asking for help of any kind. I’ve always felt like I don’t deserve it. Or that I’m inconveniencing the people around me by asking.

Nadav taught me that sometimes it’s ok to ask for what you need.

In the three days we spent in the hospital, everyone with me there was in pain. Yes, this was happening to my body. But the loss was everyone’s. Shmerson, of course. But my parents, my in-laws, my brother, my friends. Everyone was shaken to the core.

My instinct when I see people around me in pain is to ignore my own needs and worry about their pain. Even if the people in pain are in that situation because of something that is happening to me.

So there I was stuck in the hospital, battling to make peace with the fact that I was losing my baby boy, and yet I kept on comforting others. Shmerson, my mother, my father… I kept on being “Ok” so they wouldn’t suffer more than they already had been.

But unlike other times, I drew a line. I didn’t do this at my own expense.

If there was one thing that I knew, it was that even if I wasn’t feeling it exactly at that moment, I was heading into a world of fear and unimaginable pain – both physical and emotional. I was still numb so I could still be strong for them. But I knew the numbness wouldn’t last long.

Usually when I’m in a crisis, I don’t answer the phone if a friend is calling. When I’m depressed and a friend offers to come over, I make up some excuse why they shouldn’t. Because I don’t want them to go out of their way to help or comfort me. Because I don’t deserve their help or attention. Or at least that’s how I feel.

Shmerson and I have been through losses before. Not of this scope, but three miscarriages showed me how I respond to offers of help and comfort in a crisis. I don’t. I close myself off and crawl into a deep dark hole, coming up for air only when I reach an unbearable breaking point.

This time I didn’t do that.

Mere hours after I was admitted into the hospital a string of revelations hit me like a 5 ton anvil. One of those was about asking for help.

I thought to myself: You are about to enter into a nightmare, and you won’t be able to face it alone. So just don’t. Ask for what you need.

So I texted friends to let them know what was going on. When someone offered to come see me in the hospital, I said “yes, please.”

I knew I needed some bloggy love and I couldn’t bring myself to post, so I asked Court and Rachel to post on their blogs to let you guys know what was going on, expecting that I would get a few comments that would bring some comfort.

Of course, I never expected or could even fathom the outpouring of love and support that would come from that small request. And when it came, it was more needed and at the same time more comforting than I ever imagined (and I’m sure I’m missing at least a few of you lovely ladies who took the time to send love my way. Wow, just getting those links together is overwhelming. You guys are amazing. Amazing is an understatement).

But most importantly, apart from letting my friends know that I was in a crisis – I spoke up. Often.

My parents have a serious issue with seeing me cry. It’s not that we’re not an emotional family. We are. But they get defensive and even angry sometimes when I cry. I realized a few years ago that this is because they absolutely cannot stand to see me in pain, so they react by wanting me to just magically stop being in pain. It’s not really healthy, but that’s who they are.

Knowing this, I thought to myself: Not now. Not this time. Our first morning in the hospital, without a tear in my eye, I sat my mother down for a talk:

In the coming days, and maybe months, I’m going to be crying. A lot. And it may come out of nowhere. And you may hate seeing it. But you have to let me cry. I need you to let me cry, and I need you to hug me when I cry. I need you to let me show my pain. 

And with few exceptions, she has been doing that ever since (as well as my father).

But it wasn’t only my mother. Before going in for all the medical procedures leading to the induction and with the clearest intent, I sat Shmerson and my mother down once again:

I don’t know how I’m going to act in the coming hours. They’re going to be medicating me. I may lose control and scream horrible things. I may be catatonic. I’m sorry if anything I say upsets you. But most importantly, I won’t be able to be my own advocate. I need you to keep an eye on me and make sure the staff is taking care of me. Make sure I’m not bleeding too heavily. Make sure they take my temperature every couple of hours. Make sure they give me medications X, Y, and Z. 

And they did.

But the biggest change?

The phone has rung. Friends have called and sent messages, wanting to come over or just to see how I’m doing.

This time – 9 times out of 10 I answer. If they want to come over, even if at that second my instinct tells me that I want to just be alone, I say “yes please”.

Sometimes I’m too far gone to answer the phone. Usually I don’t feel like calling back. But even then, I send this text message:

Thank you so much for calling and thinking of me. I’m sorry I didn’t answer but I’m not much up for talking right now. But please keep calling. Just knowing you care enough to call is a huge comfort to me. And I promise – I will answer eventually. 

Sunday night was a hard night. Shmerson was already asleep because he had to work the next morning. I couldn’t stop crying. It was too late to call anyone local, and honestly, I just wanted an escape. I didn’t want to talk or cry any more.

So I asked for one. I took to twitter and people came through, sending funny videos and links, distracting me enough so that I could go to bed without taking any pills for a change.

And right at this moment: I have received all of your emails, tweets and comments. I’m sorry if I haven’t replied. But please know that each one of them strengthens me and comforts me, and I appreciate and love every single one of you for the amazing support that you have given me. And I still need it. Thank you for answering my call for help.

And thank you Nadav for teaching me that calling for help is Ok.

20,000 seconds since you’ve left and I’m still counting
And 20,000 reasons to get up, get something done
But I’m still waiting
Is someone kind enough to
Pick me up and give me food, assure me that the world is good
But you should be here, you should be here
How colors can change and even the texture of the rain
And what’s that ugly little stain on the bathroom floor
I’d rather not deal with that right now
I’d rather be floating in space somewhere or
Worry about the ozone layer

And it’s almost like a corny movie scene
But I’m out of frame and the lighting’s bad
And the music has no theme
And we’re all so strong when nothing’s wrong
And the world is at our feet
But how small we are when our love is far away
And all you need is you


47 Responses to “What Nadav Taught Me: Ask and You Shall Receive”

  1. jjiraffe February 29, 2012 at 03:47 #

    This is so incredibly beautiful. I am heartened to hear that so many are reaching out to you, and even better, that you are reaching back. Many (((hugs))).

  2. Her Royal Fabulousness February 29, 2012 at 03:49 #

    This is one of the best, most positive lessons possible. Thanks for letting us support you during this hard time.

  3. lesliedp February 29, 2012 at 03:50 #

    Mo I am sending you so much love and light from this side of the world. You, your husband and Nadav are in my thoughts.. xo

  4. veetamia February 29, 2012 at 03:51 #

    This is a beautiful post . Not to make this about me, but I needed to read your words and put life into perspective. I pray for your well-being and your family’s, and that your heart heals with love.

  5. cablearms February 29, 2012 at 03:54 #

    all my love to you, dearest. i respect your need for space, but just holler and you know i’m all ears. xoxo

  6. Infertile Days February 29, 2012 at 04:16 #

    i’m glad you asked for help, because YOU ARE worth it!
    take care

  7. ozifrog February 29, 2012 at 04:17 #

    Mo, I’m a newcomer to your blog since Nadav’s arrival, so I hope this is not an intrusion. I am laying here on bedrest thinking of you, and sending you prayers. I will pass your blog on to a friend who lost her boy Sully almost a year ago…I think she will find it may help in her grief as they come to his anniversary. Her parents try to change the topic instead of allow her to grieve at times. It is hard for everyone to grieve how they need to.

    My present experience is nothing like the depth of yours, but I’m also getting over my inability to ask for help, and it’s such an important lesson to learn at these times of crisis. I can identify with so much of what you are saying, and wish you grace, and hope, and restful sleep.

  8. Kelly February 29, 2012 at 04:18 #

    Heart-wrenching but beautiful post. Hugs, love and prayers your.way.

  9. Jamie Wilson February 29, 2012 at 04:27 #

    You are an amazing woman – an inspiration. I can’t fathom what you are enduring, but I am so blessed to be able to read your words from half a world away. I have cried with you, for you, as have many others. It is not fair, but I am so glad that Nadav has taught you such a valuable lesson that so many of us forget… It IS ok to ask for help. Thank you for sharing the lessons learned from your son.

  10. Athena February 29, 2012 at 04:30 #

    You do give so much to others, it’s beautiful to read how people in your life are giving their hearts to you. My thoughts and prayers are with you and your family.

  11. bodegabliss February 29, 2012 at 04:45 #

    I’m so happy he taught you this. As I read your words, I realized how familiar they sounded….I could have written them myself. I don’t know why I never feel like I deserve help. From where I stand, I am so unbelievably thankful you reached out. I can’t imagine what it would have been like if you were going through this alone. I’m so proud of you.

  12. Justine February 29, 2012 at 04:47 #

    I find that it’s hard for me to accept help, too. This is a beautiful lesson … and perhaps speaks to why we blog in this community … what a gift you are giving to your friends and loved ones, too, by allowing them (and us) to be there with you in the grieving, to abide with you however they (and we) can.

  13. Molly February 29, 2012 at 05:12 #

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful testament to your son. You’re still in my prayers.

  14. Rachel @ Eggs In A Row February 29, 2012 at 05:12 #

    You are pretty special!

  15. Jenn February 29, 2012 at 05:16 #

    ((hugs)) Such a beautiful post. Even though I’m a new reader to your blog, you’ve been in my thoughts. I’m also a person who has trouble asking for help and I learned after losing my twins how important it was to ask for help if I needed it.

  16. chon February 29, 2012 at 05:47 #


  17. endoandbeyond February 29, 2012 at 05:51 #

    Mo, this is such a beautiful and touching post. I am so glad you are blogging and wish you much love

  18. AK February 29, 2012 at 06:07 #

    My dear friend, I have to tell you – I couldn’t be prouder of you for the way you’re handling this terrible time. As humans, it’s when we face crisis that we are truly tested. Only a few people realize who they really want to be and ACTUALLY go ahead and be that person. Love you.

  19. Esperanza February 29, 2012 at 06:23 #

    I’m so proud of you for reaching out when things were at their worst. That is a hard thing to do, asking for help, but you did it and I hope you continue to do it. Thinking of you always…

  20. Alissa February 29, 2012 at 07:54 #

    Dear Mo, you are so strong and amazing. I think your focus to these posts about Nadav is just lovely. To be able to use this space for hope and love for your son is inspiring. I am so glad that you have a strong support group and people who can let you heal the way you need. It’s so important to just get it out during those dark moments.
    I am thinking of you and so happy to come here and read your words. I am also happy to know your little Nadav and my twins are together…probably playing.
    You’re in my heart.

  21. Kate February 29, 2012 at 08:29 #

    Dear Mo,

    I’ve come across your blog a few weeks ago, being led here in search of company, as I was – and am – new to this dammned IF stuff. (I am German, so please excuse any weird wordings.) I’ve stayed because I liked your writing A LOT and so read your story from the beginning. I laughed a lot and felt your sadness, worries, panic and your hopes.

    I know I cannot help you in the faintest way. Don’t even know why I am writing this. (Who would care for comfort from a stranger? I could be a total creep (don’t ask my boyfriend)). Anyway, this creep here started thinking about you, ever since you lost Nadav. And not in a creepy way, I swear. I just wished I could be there for a woman who I didn’t know but started to like. I am glad you have so many people there for you who love you and care.


  22. Cristy February 29, 2012 at 09:16 #

    This is an amazing post! Like you, when I’m in pain I tend to hide myself away from the world, hoping that my cocoon will alleviate the pain. But it doesn’t work that way. By sharing what Nadav has taught you, you are also sharing with me the importance of not pushing people away but also not sacrificing yourself for the sake of those you love. Thank you for this lesson. I continue to hold you, Schmerson and Nadav in my heart, while sending you love and light.

  23. Finding My New Normal February 29, 2012 at 11:21 #

    When I lost my son I too had to learn to reach out for help. I had always been strong and independent so it was a new experience for me. I was surprised at how much better I felt when I spent time with those I love. Even if it was for an hour a day and I spent the rest of the day crying,,, just to have an hour to think about something else was a huge help.

    Sending you love. You can get through this! The one thing I know is that it won’t always hurt this much. I know that probably seems impossible to believe right now, but it’s true.

  24. Rocky February 29, 2012 at 11:35 #

    Just to tell you that I’m also here for you, feeling your pain and reading your posts and wanting to throw my hands around you in a big hug.

  25. infertilityawakening February 29, 2012 at 15:54 #

    Your little man came for such a brief time to teach you such profound lessons. What a gift, and how courageous that you are willing to open up your tender heart and learn them.

  26. teejay February 29, 2012 at 15:57 #

    I’m so, so glad to hear that you are letting people help you and be there for you. Nadav did a very good thing in letting you know that it is ok to lean on others. I know he would not want you to be alone right now. I wish I could be one of those people just popping in to say hello and drink a cup of tea (I don’t drink coffee) with you. Sending you lots of love and hugs and squeezes. Knowing that you are letting other people help you through this makes me worry a little bit less about you.

  27. Jen February 29, 2012 at 16:12 #

    Beautiful Post. I am thinking of you during this hard time.

  28. Gil February 29, 2012 at 16:26 #

    Making me cry yet again for such a terrible loss. Nadav has touched so many of us and he will never be forgotten. I’m glad he taught you this, and even gladder still that you are learning to reach out. How wonderful that technology permits you to reach out at any hour of any day or night and have someone there. Don’t hesitate to ask for what you need. And if we can provide, you know we will. Hugs and love to you all as you continue to put one foot in front of the other.

  29. Keiko February 29, 2012 at 17:42 #

    One of my favorite K’s Choice songs. Sending you love and light from half a world away.

  30. Cookie with Milk February 29, 2012 at 17:50 #

    You are amazing and strong, and very, very loved. I’m glad you are taking care of yourself.

  31. oopsie23 February 29, 2012 at 17:58 #

    This really is beautiful. I am so sorry for what you are going through right now and I know that it will not be easy but good for you for asking for the help and support you need. Sending my thoughts your way. Many hugs.

  32. Pcostory February 29, 2012 at 18:12 #

    I know I don’t comment enough, but I want you to know that I read every one of your posts, and I even read one of the other bloggers heads up when you went into the hospital, and I kept lurking on your blog for an update.

    I am so unbelievably in awe of your strength and courage during this unimaginably difficult time. I am sending you all of my best wishes and love.

  33. Port of Indecision February 29, 2012 at 18:31 #

    And now I’m sitting at work trying to clean the tear-streaked mascara off my face.

  34. MJ February 29, 2012 at 18:49 #

    Just wanted to tell you, again, what an AMAZING and STRONG woman you are. Nadav was lucky to have YOU as his mamma. I’m so happy to hear about everyone reaching out for you … reading all the links from above made me remember, AGAIN, that this community is really awesome.

    Love you Mo!

  35. Rebecca Pallack (@RPallack) February 29, 2012 at 19:40 #

    Sending you love the hope of happy things to come. I’m so sorry for your loss.

  36. Christina February 29, 2012 at 20:35 #


    Your posts for your son have been truly and absolutely moving. I haven’t had a dry eye reading any of them and I’m glad for it. I am so glad you’ve realized that you are completely deserving of help, love, comfort and attention!

    I would love to be able to give you the biggest hug in person, but internet ones will have to do. {{{HUG}}} I’m still keeping you all in my thoughts and heart.

  37. RelaxedNoMore February 29, 2012 at 21:01 #

    Mo, you’re amazing. I know personally how hard it is to ask for help and to pick up the phone when you’re down. It’s so good that you can do this now!
    And I’m glad that we could and can give you at least some comfort.
    Sending you lots of love and virtual hugs.

  38. Coco February 29, 2012 at 22:31 #

    *hugs* I may seem like a stranger, but I’ve stalked you for a while. And I think you are amazing. A.MAZ.ING. And I wish that I could make a trip to give you a hug in person, and feed you tasty fattening food, and wrap you up in love. But I do think of you and pray for you.

  39. marriage20 March 1, 2012 at 00:32 #

    Oh, Mo, I feel like I can relate to this post so much. I had a similar revelation when I was going through my divorce, and although it was one of the most painful things I have experienced, it enriched and deepened my friendships and my relationships with my family beyond measure. You are so beautiful and strong, and I know I am only one of about a million people who would gladly drop everything to offer you any bit of comfort I could. Thinking of you constantly. xoxo

  40. Daryl March 1, 2012 at 00:46 #

    I think Nadav has touched all of us, in one way or another, and I’m glad that his entrance into the world, as painful as it was, served as such a valuable lesson. You are blessed to be loved by so many, and I think it’s wonderful that you’re letting yourself be loved.

  41. slowmamma March 1, 2012 at 01:49 #

    You are truly inspiring. I remember those days. I remember my concern for those around me, which often trumped my need to tend to my own wounds. But mostly, you have reminded me of the fact that the only thing that could actually help was the support I got from my friends and family. Your text message, the one that you send on those occasions when you just can’t answer, is perfect. I remember that I rarely had the ability to answer but I’m sorry that I didn’t send exactly that message.

    What has been said is true. It WILL get better, eventually. But for now you need to honor whatever it is that you’re feeling – and keep on asking for help. I will be thinking of you.

  42. Kristen March 1, 2012 at 02:45 #

    Oh, sweetie, I’m totally crying right now. I’m so glad you’ve been able to ask for help (and that what little I’ve done from so far away has helped even a tiny, tiny bit).
    When I think about what’s happened to you I keep thinking about when my brother was killed…I know your losing your baby and me losing my brother are totally different…except he was so central in my life, my best friend, we lived together and when I lost him I was in so, so much pain, I didn’t know how I would survive what happened. One of the great lessons I learned from that whole experience is how much people want to help and how much they can help. I had people around me 24/7 for months after and it saved me. And I would never have been able to accept all that help had I been going through anything less than something catastrophic.
    Losing my brother was by far the worst thing that’s ever happened to me. But the things people did for me after (and continue to do, really) are some of…I don’t really know how to say this…it’s like they’re some of the most important interactions I’ve ever had in my whole life, and it’s made me really understand how much people need each other, and how much I am loved, and how I am not alone in this world, which is how a lot of times I used to feel.
    I’m sorry for all the pain you are in, it’s so soon. But you also seem so incredibly strong and for that I am grateful.
    Sending so much love to you…

  43. Chickenpig March 1, 2012 at 15:40 #

    You are amazing. Even in your darkest moments, you are helping other people. I need to let people help me, too, and I never let them. Your post was an eye opener for me. Thank You.

    I think of you every day, and wish that I could do more.

  44. Living Our Life In Cycles March 1, 2012 at 17:39 #

    What a great, inspiring post. Asking for help is by far the hardest thing for me to do. I’m so happy that you’ve been able to do so. ::hugs:: Still thinking about you and the family.

  45. Emily @ablanket2keep March 1, 2012 at 18:46 #

    That is a wonderful thing he taught you. Asking for help is so difficult. I know I don’t do it as often as I should, but I have been working on it for a while. Your post is giving me a push to start asking more.

    Always in my thoughts and prayers.

  46. mrs. brightside March 5, 2012 at 05:20 #

    I’m not one to believe in “everything for a reason” but I can’t help but think that all your losses taught you something. Your earlier losses taught you about yourself in pain, your dark places, what you need most when it’s most important. I wish none of this had happened to you, but I’m grateful for all the little lives that helped you prepare to lose Nadav, to know what it will take to survive this tragedy, in at least some small way. Don’t stop asking for what you need – take care of you, hon.


  1. Passing the Time | In Vitro Veritas Blog - February 29, 2012

    […] you have a moment, drop on over to see Mo @ Mommyodyssy. She recently lost her boy Nadav at 23 […]

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