09 March 2006

A blessing on your needle

In keeping with the supposedly Jewish theme of this blog, I should mention with regards to my previous injections post, that we started injections on Shabbat. Actually, our primary issue was whether or not Hubby could give me the injection on Shabbat, since I am such a wuss about needles. It’s one thing to know I can give myself a medication injection, it’s another to put someone else in the position of breaking Shabbat* because I’m a weenie. This was actually the issue that made us realize our rabbi could not be our posek (rabbinical authority) on infertility issues. With loads of warnings months in advance that we might be starting injections on Shabbat, and a suggestion from us (via another blogger!) on an authority to call, one week before we started he was still telling us he needed to study the issue.

One week before is not the time to start studying the laws regarding injections on Shabbat. After lots of hinting and suggesting that there were going to be many more questions down the road, our rabbi clued in and suggested we call the posek directly. So we did, and since we got the answer (it would be preferable for me to inject myself, but if I am unable to do it – for whatever reason - Hubby could inject me on Shabbat with no problem), I never actually bothered to study the laws myself. I’m not sure exactly what the issue would be with injecting on Shabbat (any more-learned folks out there want to throw in your $0.02?!). I do know that you should be extremely careful not to cause yourself to bleed, but sometimes that’s just an unavoidable consequence of injecting. Also, when cleansing the injection site, you should either apply the alcohol directly to the skin, or use a non-absorbent cloth – do not use a cottonball.

Persephone has the same information in a post on her blog (scroll down to “injection shabbat infertility”). She points out that you should call your rabbi, which you should. Your own rabbi should always be your first call. Just know, if your rabbi is not knowledgeable on the subject of infertility, you have options. There are enough things to worry and stress about with infertility, your rabbi should not be one of them.

*I couldn't find a good link to rules of Shabbat, so in a nutshell: there are laws about what you can and can't do on Shabbat, i.e., drive, turn lights on or off, cook food, exchange money, etc. When Jews talk about "breaking Shabbat" we are referring to breaking one of these laws.

8 Comments:

At 10/3/06 7:24 p.m., Blogger Just another Jenny said...

I didn't think infertility could get any more confusing.

Thankfully the jewish religion supports couples dealing with infertility. That's a huge plus. Just by doing IVF I'm committing an evil act according to my husbands (catholic) religion.

 
At 10/3/06 11:49 p.m., Blogger persephone said...

I think the main issue is causing yourself to bleed? If it always caused bleeding AND the bleeding was a desired effect, I think you'd have a problem. But it doesn't and it's not.

There might also be an issue just because it's a medical treatment (refuah), but generally I think infertility is considered a medical condition serious enough to be treated on Shabbat...

 
At 11/3/06 9:10 p.m., Anonymous thalia said...

Why is causing you to bleed the real issue? I'm glad you were able to get the right support from your learned counsellor.

 
At 11/3/06 11:38 p.m., Blogger Lut C. said...

I'm glad you got it sorted.

 
At 12/3/06 3:06 a.m., Blogger persephone said...

Thalia, I think drawing blood is a Biblical prohibition on Shabbat. In general the rabbinic prohibitions are a lot easier to relax than the Biblical ones when there's a need.

On the other hand, to be a Biblical Sabbath prohibition it usually has to meet more criteria (like be a desired, inevitable, and constructive result), which is I think why this kind of bleeding escapes that status...

 
At 14/3/06 12:32 a.m., Blogger projgen said...

Jenny, I hear ya - I am very grateful to be part of a spiritual community that (for the overwhelming majority) supports infertility treatments.

re: bleeding, I believe the issue is intentionally causing yourself to bleed. Sticking with yourself with a needle might accidently cause you to bleed, but that's an unintended side effect (unless you're just weird and like the bleeding part ;) ). I really should study this, especially since it directly affects me!

 
At 14/3/06 7:28 a.m., Anonymous Truly Tested said...

My hat's off to you. The more I read about being Orthodox and experiencing IF, the more I realize how much more complex it could actually be. I hope that you are able to find someone who can help you reconcile observance with an already-challenging path strewn with obstacles. It sure doesn't sound easy.

 
At 15/3/06 10:19 p.m., Blogger projgen said...

truly - thank you! Orthodoxy does indeed add some interesting twists and challenges to the infertility journey. I'm lucky in that I have found a kind, learned rabbi to whom I can turn when necessary. And welcome; I hope you enjoy your visit!

 

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