"Conception was a huge preoccupation of the ancients. If you think about it, many of the Bible's most famous stories center on the quest to get pregnant. Abraham and Sarah probably had the hardest time conceiving of anyone in the Bible, if not history. At one point, the seemingly barren Sarah became so distraught, she lent her Egyptian handmaiden to Abraham as a concubine. That union produced Ishmael, the forefather of Islam. A few verses later, God and two angels visited Abraham and Sarah's tent and announced that Sarah would soon be pregnant. Sarah's reaction? She laughed, presumably with skepticism. In her defense, she was ninety years old. But God fulfilled his promise, and the nonagenarian matriarch gave birth to Isaac — Hebrew for "he will laugh."
And then there's Rachel. Rachel and her older sister Leah were both married to the clever shepherd (and my namesake) Jacob. Leah was a procreation machine — giving birth to no fewer than six sons and a daughter. But Rachel remained childless and heartbroken. At one point she said to Jacob, "Give me children or I shall die!" Another time, Rachel bought some mandrakes from her sister — mandrakes are a Mediterranean herb once thought to be an infertility cure. But it was to no avail. Finally God "opened Rachel's womb," and she gave birth to Joseph, he of the multicolored coat.
There is an upside to the Bible's infertility motif: The harder it was for a woman to get pregnant, the greater was the resulting child. Joseph. Isaac. Samuel (whose mother pledged her son to God as thanks for the conception). These are some of the giants of the Hebrew Scriptures."Greater the resulting child? I can handle that. Something about this info gives me peace. I think its reassurance that the result is more than worth the struggle.