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Kabbalah & Women

An insight into women's inner quest and spiritual development

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Women Who Regret Having Children: The Deeper Cause and Solution

The reason there are women who regret having children is due to a major transitional process taking place in our era. Likewise, the countermeasure to this feeling of regret is to understand the nature of this transition and learn how to optimally adjust to it.

 
Regret for having children. It’s a taboo subject difficult for most women to open up about. However, in recent years, Internet discussions, bestselling books and sociological studies have helped place it into the public spotlight.
Why do some women regret having children? Also, is there something that could be done to redirect that feeling of regret?
The reason there are women who regret having children is due to a major transitional process taking place in our era. Likewise, the countermeasure to this feeling of regret is to understand the nature of this transition and learn how to optimally adjust to it.
Where we once lived to fulfill basic, instinctive, animal-like desires to hold a stable home and raise a family, today a new desire belonging specifically to humans emerges. This new desire demands a completely different kind of fulfillment: Instead of fulfilling our instinctive animalistic desires for food, sex, shelter and family, and earning enough money to supply for those needs, today’s new desire seeks a sense of meaning and self realization.
By weaving childbirth and motherhood into the fabric of fulfilling the desire for meaning and self realization, feelings of regret would be replaced by feelings of motivation and purpose. This is because the fulfillment of this new desire brings about the discovery of a higher reality.


Women Who Regret Having Children

While taboo, women regretting having children has been a phenomenon increasingly coming out of the closet. Online discussions like Reddit’s “Have you ever wished you didn’t have kids? If so, why?” and Quora’s “What is it like to regret having children?” have hundreds of comments. The Facebook group “I Regret Having Children” has grown to over 7,000 members. Sociologist Orna Donath analyzed the accounts of 23 Israeli mothers who regretted having children in her analysis, Regretting Motherhood: A Sociopolitical Analysis, which quickly gained popularity. Also, two bestselling books appeared on the topic, Corinne Maier's No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not To Be A Mother and Sarah Fischer’s Regretting Motherhood. Fischer also reported getting 80 emails a day from mothers thanking her for her work.
Recurring themes to the regret include feelings of restriction: less time for oneself, less time for socializing, an inability to pursue career and/or travel ambitions, and the comparison to non-parent peers who seem to be doing a lot more with their lives.
Identity crisis emerges as the birth of the child gives “birth” to the mother. She feels her new identity as a lifelong burden. Moreover, the beautiful little baby quickly becomes a commanding little manager. The woman’s individual potential appears to become overshadowed and suppressed by her role as mother. Regret for having children. It’s a taboo subject difficult for most women to open up about. However, in recent years, Internet discussions, bestselling books and sociological studies have helped place it into the public spotlight.
Why do some women regret having children? Also, is there something that could be done to redirect that feeling of regret?
The reason there are women who regret having children is due to a major transitional process taking place in our era. Likewise, the countermeasure to this feeling of regret is to understand the nature of this transition and learn how to optimally adjust to it.
Where we once lived to fulfill basic, instinctive, animal-like desires to hold a stable home and raise a family, today a new desire belonging specifically to humans emerges. This new desire demands a completely different kind of fulfillment: Instead of fulfilling our instinctive animalistic desires for food, sex, shelter and family, and earning enough money to supply for those needs, today’s new desire seeks a sense of meaning and self realization.
By weaving childbirth and motherhood into the fabric of fulfilling the desire for meaning and self realization, feelings of regret would be replaced by feelings of motivation and purpose. This is because the fulfillment of this new desire brings about the discovery of a higher reality.
Here’s what that means and how it’s doable...

Women Who Regret Having Children

While taboo, women regretting having children has been a phenomenon increasingly coming out of the closet. Online discussions like Reddit’s “Have you ever wished you didn’t have kids? If so, why?” and Quora’s “What is it like to regret having children?” have hundreds of comments. The Facebook group “I Regret Having Children” has grown to over 7,000 members. Sociologist Orna Donath analyzed the accounts of 23 Israeli mothers who regretted having children in her analysis, Regretting Motherhood: A Sociopolitical Analysis, which quickly gained popularity. Also, two bestselling books appeared on the topic, Corinne Maier's No Kids: 40 Good Reasons Not To Be A Mother and Sarah Fischer’s Regretting Motherhood. Fischer also reported getting 80 emails a day from mothers thanking her for her work.
Recurring themes to the regret include feelings of restriction: less time for oneself, less time for socializing, an inability to pursue career and/or travel ambitions, and the comparison to non-parent peers who seem to be doing a lot more with their lives.
Identity crisis emerges as the birth of the child gives “birth” to the mother. She feels her new identity as a lifelong burden. Moreover, the beautiful little baby quickly becomes a commanding little manager. The woman’s individual potential appears to become overshadowed and suppressed by her role as mother.

Why Does This Regret Appear in the First Place?

Regret appears due to the onset of a new desire surfacing in more and more people. It’s a desire characteristic specifically to us as humans, which neither exists in animals, nor in our past animalistic phases of development.
In the past, our desires were more animalistic, i.e. they were closer to us simply surviving. A woman typically felt in control by running her home. She had a husband who would go out to work and make money for the family. She knew that she would manage her home and raise her children. Moreover, society at large supported this traditional family structure.
Today, the traditional family structure has largely declined. Our desire has outgrown our ability to be fulfilled by its traditional means. The desire for meaning and purpose in life is far greater in scope than our past instinctive desires (food, sex, family, shelter) and social desires (money, honor, control, knowledge).
Firstly, our new desire finds its expression by us wanting something completely new and different, detached from our past frameworks and boundaries. Career and travel ambitions emerge due to society being engaged in this search, but not knowing what it wants other than to explore beyond its past limitations. However, career and travel ambitions are detours that will soon also exhaust themselves. That’s because the fulfillment of this new desire cannot be found in any of the ways we currently fulfill ourselves: after any kind of fulfillment comes another lack.
Instead, this new desire is leading us to the discovery of something entirely different: a higher reality, balance and harmony with the creative force that sustains and develops life. In other words, today’s new desire is demanding contact with the meaning of life, which is in essence, above and beyond everything in our world... including our children.

How to Replace Regret With a New Fulfillment

Escaping from traditional family structures has not made us any happier. On the contrary, the decline of traditional family structures has been shown to have negative psychological, physiological, relational and economic effects on children, parents and society.
Traditional family structures are embodiments of the animate level. Like how animals naturally live within certain boundaries, humans too shouldn’t seek to break away from their traditional frameworks as a means of becoming happier and more successful.
Instead, we as humans need to rise to the level unique to the human. That is achieved through a change in our social relations: more human connection, growth in our attitudes to each other, so that we would become more supportive, loving and considerate. By doing so, we would discover a whole new fulfillment.
The woman/mother who simultaneously undergoes two processes—the process as a mother who cares for her family, and the process where she elevates herself above the animate level to attain the meaning of life—would see her actions in childbirth and motherhood as part of her ability to achieve her full potential: becoming like the Creator.
 

Coming Together – The Real Meaning

The men draw the Light and the women provide them with the desire for correction.

 

The phrase "man and woman coming together" brings up images for all of us that have absolutely nothing to do with what it really signifies. To us, we see corporeal men and women relating to each other as their bodies, minds and emotions direct them.

In Kabbalah, the coming together of man and woman is not about Adam and Eve or even about men and women. It is about a part of humanity that is masculine and a part that is feminine. The reason for their coming together is to complete one another and bring about the general correction of mankind. When the men study the wisdom of Kabbalah and draw the Light, the women provide them with the need, the desire, the fuel to fire their energy for this correction. Each has their part, neither is more important than the other, and neither can do without the other.

 

Conditions for Women's Spiritual Advancement

Women need fewer conditions to advance spiritually than men do.

 

Kabbalah states that if a man wants to advance spiritually, he is obliged to marry and have a family. It is his responsibility to fulfill these obligations. Otherwise, he cannot advance spiritually.

A woman, on the other hand, can advance spiritually even if she is not a mother or a wife. Moreover, if she has the means for existence, she may also choose not to work. That is, in comparison to a man, a woman is relatively self-sufficient and can grow spiritually without many external conditions that apply to men. Thus, from the spiritual point of view, she is a considerably more perfect creature than a man.

A man has to overcome himself, to constantly convince himself that it's worth staying on the spiritual path. He is less susceptible to spiritual advancement than a woman, who naturally aspires toward everything spiritual. She is ready to accept, feel and understand all of the spiritual transformations that are happening in her. She yearns for this.

The need for the spiritual ascent is manifested much more in a woman. She feels unsatisfied with our world, disappointed in family and work. A man looks for foolish passions, such as football, beer, friends and so on, and then gets lost in them. He lives pursuing false goals. A woman is unable do this. She perceives emptiness more internally and acutely. She cannot appease herself with such petty goals and temporary painkillers. More often she embarks on a spiritual search and comes to study Kabbalah.

We see this happening all over the world. More than half of the 1.3 million students studying within the framework of the Kabbalah Institute are women.

 

A Woman's Happiness - Today It's More Than Family and Career

Women demand the spiritual status equal to that of men.

 

We are living in a very special time. Children leave home at a young age; relationships between couples are not as close as they used to be. Today, women are in the same social circles and have the same power as men and in many cases even more. As a result, the feeling of emptiness and attempts to find fulfillment and happiness are no longer related to family or even a woman's professional life.

Although it is still important to a woman to be content with her husband, children or grandchildren, as well as with her professional life, this is not enough for her. Her ego is so developed that it breaks through the fences of the family, the work place and even the nation. It wants spirituality.

This yearning for spiritual fulfillment has increased during the last 15 - 20 years. Before the current generation, there were a few cases here and there, but it did not occur by the thousands as it is today.

These days remind us of the times of Abraham, who formed the first Kabbalistic group in ancient Babylon. In those ancient times the women who attained spirituality were by the men's side. They were on a spiritual level equal to that of the men. The great prophetesses, such as Dvorah, Hulda and others reached spiritual levels even greater than the men's. People lived in realization of Godliness, and children were taught these truths from an early age.

But after humanity's decline from spirituality, we rarely saw women Kabbalists. There were a few who reached spirituality, from the times of the destruction of the Second Temple until our generation, but they were a limited number.

Today, however, whether we like it or not, we are going back to that same early state in which humanity was united as one man in one heart. Because of this women have to be on the same spiritual level as men. In other words, the spiritual downfall of humanity that led to the devaluation of the woman's spiritual status has to be remedied in our days.

Hence, today, we have to answer the demand that comes from so many women. It isn't just a demand but a true need.

 

The Power of Women

Women can change reality by fulfilling their spiritual role in the world.

 

Women should realize that in their hands lies great power. They are the ones who can change the world. How? By understanding and fulfilling their spiritual role in the world, just as they understand their role in the family.

Women naturally know how to organize the family, how to make it all work, how to care for children, husband, and kitchen. They should understand equally well that they have an inner ability to know how the world has to be organized according to its spiritual root. They should also know that they have the power to make the men execute their will.

We see that humanity is becoming a small house, a small village. Men have tried numerous times to lead it, but it hasn't brought us much good. So the problems that are surfacing today make the women feel that they must come forward. Let us hope that men will listen, yet it is essential that women will know what to say.

 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 
 

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Bnei Baruch is a non-profit organization for teaching and sharing the wisdom of Kabbalah. To maintain its independence and integrity, Bnei Baruch is not supported, funded, or otherwise tied to any government, religious or political entity. Its success in disseminating the Wisdom of Kabbalah to the world is directly related to the contribution of personal time and financial support by its students.