The Gardens of Life is a quiet and peaceful place near the city of Latrun. It’s a place for remembering and honoring the babies that were never hugged because of an abortion, miscarriage, or stillbirth. It is run by the Israeli pro-life organization, Be’ad Chaim.
People are welcome to arrive on Tu BiShvat, which occurs this year on Monday, February 10th, 2020, between 10:00 and 12:00 noon to plant a tree in memory of their child.
The Gardens of Life website explains that through the symbolic act of planting a tree, the families are given an opportunity to find comfort, closure and healing.
“We plant trees in the Gardens of Life all year round. People can make an appointment to do that,” Sandy Shoshani, the head of Be’ad Chaim tells me. “But on Tu BiShvat we are inviting people to join us, so we can together plant and remember the babies that were not born. And try to find some kind of closure and healing from the pain. People are always welcome to make an appointment though.”
“If a miscarriage occurs after the 25th week, the authorities are required to tell you where they buried the baby, if you ask. But before that they put them in a communal grave and you don’t know where they are. It’s not easy for these women who lose a baby.”
With pain in her eyes, Shoshani tells me how people that have a stillbirth in Israel don’t even get to see the baby. “They tell you it’s better for you not to see the baby. It’s just not true. In America they will take photographs of you holding the baby. You get a last good bye. It gives you closure. I know of some parents here in Israel who asked the hospital for the baby, and it would take them all day to get it.”
“And what about the women who did an abortion?” Shoshani says. “These women had zero closure. Many of them regret what they did. Women are the ones being hurt by abortions, and this is what so many people fail to understand. They think it’s no big deal when they go there, and then they are traumatized.”
Shoshani shows me figures of a nation-wide survey they conducted. “Did you suffer any medical problems because of your abortion”—72% of the women answered yes to that question. 8% of them were never able to have another child. 11% had miscarriages after the abortion.
On whether the abortion was traumatic, 43% answered that it was very traumatic, 23% said that it was somewhat traumatic. This means that 66% of women were by some degree traumatized by the abortion.
“These are the figures, and yet people say that abortion doesn’t hurt women!” Shoshani exclaims. “How is that possible? When all these women are suffering so much.”
“I understand,” says Shoshani, “why 65% answered ‘yes’ to the question ‘If you could go back, would you still have the abortion?’ It’s because they didn’t think they had another way out. But 35% said no. That’s more than a third. We have to help these women. Those 35% who would keep their child – they need healing. Those people need to be able to come and do something in memory of their baby.”
“Another important question we asked was ‘If you could memorialize your child in some way, like plant a tree, would you do it?’ 47% said yes. Out of women under 18, it was 50%. This is why we invite people to come to the Gardens of Life this Tu BiShvat. But they are of course welcome at any time.”
If you wish to join Be’ad Chaim and plant a tree this Tu BiShvat, please call +972-2-6242516 or email [email protected] to order a tree before February 2, 2020. You can find more information on the Find Healing page of the Be’ad Chaim website.