Ask the Rabbi Unborn childs future observance is worrying grandmother-to-be

But she seems inconsolable. Is there some resource, a book or something, I could point her to that would give her some comfort? I am mystified by this sudden, very emotional response and at a loss as to how to reassure her that this is not an insurmountable problem.

Dear Jane,

As far as your mother sees things, you are the one who has introduced a change into the family dynamic. It means that she is unsure how to behave, what is permissible and what is no longer so. It also means, on an emotional level, that she feels that her lifestyle (and to an extent herself) has been rejected. The ball is in your court to show her — through patience, love and welcome — that your chosen observance is in no way meant to exclude her, nor is it a rejection of her highest values.

While this message deserves a loving discussion, its emotional impact will only come across when translated into deed. Remaining sensitive to your mother's discomfort, to her reluctance to enter the world you have chosen (and love so much) and to her own integrity will be the keys to allowing your mother to enjoy the beauty of your new life.

Lurking under all this fear is also her concern that the observance might disrupt her bond with her new grandchild. Again, you need to take the lead in assuring her that this is not so, that she will be a welcome and important part of the baby's life and that the baby will be blessed indeed to have her as a grandmother, just as you are to have her as your mother.

B'virkat Shalom.