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Ask the rabbi Family and Society The Mitzva of Having Children

Is Pregnancy a Sin?

Rabbi Jonathan Blass9 Cheshvan 5765
1063
Question
Reading through the Bereshit torah portion I came accross a very disturbing topic. It says that the obligation "Be fruitful and multiply" only falls on men. If a woman’s family has a history of dangerous pregnancy is she a sinner because she becomes pregnant? Aside from the aspect in the Shulhan Orach that a woman after child birth is considered as one who is dangerously ill in any case. I ask this question because of my impending wedding and because my mother’s history of pregnancy (her first pregnancy landed her in the hospital for 3 weeks and paralyzed from the waist down for 3 whole days). The doctor tells me I may have similar problem because my body type is as my mother’s was at her age. It would seem that not only am I not doing a Mitzvah (nor do I get the Zechut for it!!) but I may actually be commiting an Aveirah. As you can imagine I’m very upset. Please advise me. Thank you.
Answer
Shalom, May G-d bless your wedding with good fortune. As many Poskim have written, women - without any shadow of a doubt - have a tremendous Zechut, both in the bearing of Jewish children and also in raising them to be G-d- fearing men and women. That said, if a woman were in a position where having a child would endanger her life (beyond the normal risks of pregnancy) she should consult doctors expert in the field about how to reduce these risks (medicine has advanced since you were born) and then consult a rabbinic authority. From what you describe regarding your mother, she suffered no permanent damage from your birth and perhaps the medical options that today are available to you are greater than those that were open to your mother. Trepidation and anxiety before marriage are very normal. Do your best to overcome and enjoy your wedding together with your Chatan, and may you succeed in building a Bayit Neeman B'yisrael.
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