The Day My World Turned Upside Down Op-Ed

| 16 May 2016 | 04:19

A little over 12 years ago my life changed forever. I was 38 years old and had just given birth to my ninth child. As I held my beautiful newborn daughter in my arms, I felt the heavy pounding of my heart, then numbness as my world turn black. I was being pushed into a dark narrow tunnel. I felt claustrophobic, airless, impossible to survive. As I spinned down the tunnel I lost sight of the world around me, sinking into an endless abyss.

As sadness began to envelope me, I heard my newborn daughter calling out to me, “Mommy, Mommy, it will be okay, I promise, I promise, you’ll see, don’t be sad.”

As I emerged, I found myself in a brilliantly lit place, the same, yet somehow different. Calm, serene, otherworldly, yet not quite of the other world. A veil had been lifted. I had re-entered the world and it looked different. It was bright, it was special, it was holy, a garden. Yet it was filled with pain and concealment. How was I reborn into this same yet different world, all within a few moments? And why did everything seem vaguely familiar, but with an ethereal glow?

It was only the beginning of many paradoxes that would surround me as the world I thought I knew unfolded like a flower.

I began to feel an inexplicable sense of pride in being chosen for this unchartered journey. My newborn princess had the most exotic eyes. A telltale sign of Down Syndrome. She had a bluish tinge to her pallor, a result of difficulty breathing at birth. And yet she was the most beautiful baby, surrounded by light. And she comforted me. Reassured me. Spoke to me.

The old me died that day. And a new me was born.

Brocha led our family through gates we may never have entered. She taught us lessons we may never have learned. And showered wisdom way beyond her years. She illuminated a world, so special, so G-dly and so holy. Every soul is special. Every soul is handpicked. Every soul has a mission.

Brocha was the impetus for Chabad Upper East Side’s branch of The Friendship Circle, where every person is cherished and valued. Where friendship is abundant and celebrated. Where our children with all abilities, our teenage volunteers, our hanging with friends all share moments of extreme light and love that transform us all, forever. From the darkness of ignorance, indifference, and misunderstanding, to acceptance, inclusion, love and empathy! To a world where the circle is complete, as we all hold hands in a FRIENDSHIP CIRCLE!

Join our family as we walk a mile for a special child and help us make a difference. The 4th Annual Friendship Walk will take place Sunday, May 22, East 77th Street Between 1st and York avenues. The Friendship Walk raises awareness and funds necessary to keep The UES Friendship Circle growing and enhancing our community. The money goes directly to a wide variety of programs and activities, including Sunday Circle, Miracle Sports, Friends at Home, Holiday programs, summer and winter Camps and more. Any amount will help make a difference.

For more information or to make a donation visit