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How “Infertility” Can Help Save the World (No, Not by Giving Up on Children!)

By on June 8, 2017

My friend Ellie. an avid horticulturalist, was telling me about a book titled Mycelium Running: How Mushrooms Can Help Save the World.

Having a one track mind that views everything through the lens of fertility, before long I was deep into an impassioned explanation about how infertility can help save the world.

It’s something I have often thought about.

Infertility can indeed help save the world, and those of us who are  trekking along the scenic road to our babies, can pitch in.

How?

I can hear you thinking, “You better not tell me we’ll save the world by ending up with no children.”

No, I’m NOT going to lobby for childlessness.

How could I?

I turned my whole life around to bring a child into the world, I know what a desire to birth a family feels like and what it can do to your life. I know the good part and the bad.

No, I’m NOT going to lobby for giving up on children. infertility-inspiration

The point I want to make is that we, those of us who don’t get to have our children on our own  timetable, really do have a special place among the game-changers of the world.

We could absolutely make a difference in whether things get darker, or whether we humans can set a course toward a more child-friendly trajectory.

Here is why:

Infertility in spite of the rhetoric that feeds our fears, is not a disease. We are not facing a life-threatening medical crisis. Our bodies are not adversaries that can only be defeated with the big guns of complicated procedures.

We’re not up against the agonizing decisions faced by cancer patients who are choosing between invasive treatments which are not guaranteed to save their lives, and natural therapies that might also fail.

We may feel as though our lives are threatened, but feelings are not reality.

If we do need high tech intervention we CAN give our bodies a chance  to prepare for it; to swing back to a stronger, more fertile state to give ourselves the best possible chance of a desirable outcome.

Our bodies can do that. I have seen it happen over and over again, at times in the span of the three weeks of our Intensive Series, or the seven hours of a workshop, or a few months of being in relationship with one another.

We tilt the scale toward fertility by using the divining rod of our full selves.

We tilt the scale toward fertility by listening for the precise spot where the next guiding insight is breaking through the rocks of our fears.

Then we find the remedy not by leafing through the latest edition of the physician’s desk reference, but by scanning the unread pages of our lives. Astonished, we discover that a well chosen word, a glimmer of an image, an unexpected insight, can be a drug more effective than trucks full of stimulants.

We tilt the scale toward fertility by listening  to ourselves and one another  in a way we have never listened before. By hearing ourselves and each other the way we have never heard each other before.

If we can do that, WE WIN, FERTILITY WINS, LIFE WINS.

Whether or not our children arrive through a biological pregnancy, we get to show up for ourselves and each other, we get to grow healthier, stronger, and fertile beyond our wildest expectations.

If we can do that, we’re bound to find the road to the child that makes for a joyful, useful life.

Yes, “infertility” feels like a life-threatening disease, but no, it’s not our lives that are at risk. It’s our beliefs, the beliefs that no longer serve us that are threatened.

It’s our collective denial of our astonishing power,  that is gaining on us.

The stakes are high indeed.

But since we’re not facing a life-threatening disease, we can take a chance on the grand experiment of following the thread of truth and see where it leads.

Then we can encourage others caught in the maze of confusion to do the same.

It’s the how that matters most.

How we travel to meet our child halfway, how we prepare for what we’ve deemed to be an absolutely necessary in-vitro treatment or egg donation; how we prop up our sperms, (even if intracytoplasmic sperm injection will deliver it right into the egg,) how we respond to a high FSH, or low AMH, or to a shocking diagnosis of stage four endo; it’s the how that matters most.

It’s the how that will determine how we look at symptoms for the rest of our lives.

It determines how we raise our children. What we feed them and what we teach them.

It determines how we spend our hard earned cash.

It determines how many landfills of syringes we leave behind.  (Let’s use syringes if we must, but let’s use them with care. Protect ourselves and our beloved babies.)

Yep, it takes guts.

It takes guts to choose the less traveled road when everyone around us, even  the ill-informed politically correct empowered women leaders, are cheering for storing our eggs in egg banks.

It takes guts to resist the trendy half-truths, when experts reduce our fertility to numbers, statistics, success rates. Telling us we should expect at least five rounds of IVF’s before we get our prize.  (If we need the help of technology, wouldn’t be better to expect one, rather than five treatment cycles?)

It takes guts to venture into the uncharted territory of our fragile human selves, to honor the fertility expert that has been patiently waiting there to be heard.

It takes guts to go the distance when at every step someone’s peddling a short-cut of the quick fix.

It takes guts to stand still when our cousin Suzie is psyched about the latest breakthrough procedure that will chop up her ovaries into smaller and smaller particles.

It takes guts to see ourselves and our bodies as part of a seamless continuum, affected  not only  by every thought and feeling of our own, but every thought and feeling of everyone around us. Not to mention those who came before us.

It takes guts to look into the mirror of truth and see the solution to our beautiful problem staring right back at us.

It takes guts to look and not walk away.

It takes guts to conduct our own experiment on what’s possible for us, rather than wait for the next double blind study designed to prove the obvious or to explain the unexplainable.

All of this takes guts. Now more than ever. Because the staggering number of beckoning back doors is tougher and tougher to resist.

Still, resist we must. Because the alternative to resistance is not an option.

It takes guts, but it’s the only way we get to really pitch in to help save the world. By showing some guts. By using this burning desire to become braver than we’ve ever been. Showing up the way we never showed up before.

The alternative is to keep accelerating toward a more and more disconnected, mechanized, medicalized culture of baby-manufacturers.

Listen to this miracle of a song by the miracle of a human being, Leonard Cohen: How bad, how dark does it have to get, he asks each of us, before we wake up.Leonard cohen

I struggled with some demons
They were middle class and tame
I didn’t know I had permission to murder and to maim
You want it darker

We kill the flame…

Let’s NOT kill the flame of our desire to stay alive and fertile.

Let’s not go for “tame.”

Let’s not vote for “darker.”

The poet T.S. Elliot tells us that, “Only those who risk going too far can find out how far one can go.”

What would that look like to you if you risked going too far? If you risked finding out how far you can go?

 

 

This post was inspired by my friend Ellie, and a  remarkable essay written by the publisher of the Chronogram Magazine,Jason Stern. Thank you, Ellie, thank you, Jason!

*Technopoly –  a term coined by the late cultural critic, Neil Postman. is a system wherein technology is always viewed as positive and of value, with little consideration of its consequences. “It is the kind of friend” writes Postman “that asks for trust and obedience because its gifts are truly bountiful. But, of course, there is a dark side to this friend. Its gifts are not without a heavy cost.”

25 Responses to “How “Infertility” Can Help Save the World (No, Not by Giving Up on Children!)”

  1. Ceridwen says:

    Dear all-

    Julia- Thank you forever for making us see that experts who reduce lives to statistics are only looking through a particular lens and that their views are not gospel. This is such an important and liberating gift to be given, one that lets me breathe again (a lot of the time).

    Having to find our own strength and determination because there is no other option. How true. This challenge we are all going through makes fighters out of even the most laid-back among us, and we can indeed create an enormous force for good in the world as we unearth the resources in our hearts.

    The blog post mentions the importance of looking after ourselves properly and giving our bodies the best chance. Julia’s suggestions that you need to nurture yourself and be a good parent to yourself before you are ready to be a parent to somebody else have resonated with me ever since I first encountered them. I spend much of my mental energy on my mother who has depression and dementia, and I am slowly learning to find some energy for my own and my husband’s life.

    I am doing my best to take practical steps to apply the Fertile Heart teachings. My visionary actions I am working on are to be healthier by improving my eating habits, and to deal with other unresolved problems that obstruct mental and physical energy flow. For the past few weeks I have been sorting through things that make me feel hemmed in or inadequate and I am putting my collection of too small clothes out of sight for now. I have realised that I could easily open up a clothes shop with my range of sizes and the sheer volume of things turning up now that I am trying to put that aspect of my life in order. Next month I will be sorting through all my stationery that could furnish a paper shop. And my books – surprise! – would make a good library or bookshop…

    I really relate to Sophia’s story about her unused intended nursery and the clutter creeping in. Although I don’t have a room set aside as a nursery, all our rooms have a lot of clutter (creative chaos!), but when we started trying for a baby I bought some baby clothes, and the two bags are sitting under the bed in limbo, like the nurseries some of you have, and Gutsymama’s crib and rocking chair. I was really torn about what to do with the two bags of baby clothes because they represent so much, and moving them into storage in the garage feels like a loss of faith, but on the other hand I don’t want to have to move them aside with a heavy heart whenever I want to retrieve anything from another storage container under the bed. As part of my decluttering/ energy flow campaign I have now decided to move them out of the house, along with the too small clothes, using the same logic that the items are not in use NOW. I am working to connect more with what is actually going on at this moment and I want to be aware of the beautiful things happening right now, instead of missing the present because I am ruminating about past hurts or living in fearful anticipation of the future.

    I have noticed some interesting parallels between my lifelong struggle with weight issues and the fertility journey. I have often given up on losing weight because losing those 30 pounds always takes longer than I want it to, and I lose the connection to the present by only focusing on the future. If the outcome is the only thing driving the weight loss journey, it is really difficult to stay focused and to do the best you can every day.

    Two months ago we decided to cut out sugar and wheat to improve our nutrition, and like LovefromAL, I feel a lot better for changing the way I eat. I am now taking each day as an opportunity to nourish myself properly and without the accompanying debilitating guilt. The slowness of the weight coming off is still making me hop with impatience, but overall it is making my mind a healthier place and is freeing up all the energy that would normally go into obsessing over food or chastising myself for eating unhealthy things. Practising the body truth sequence “Unconditional Gratitude” and the imagery “Lifting the Burden” has been a quiet and persistent source of strength because they remind me about what is precious and colourful and interesting in my life and gently lead me away from my tendency to only see what is lacking.

    The twenty-fifth time round, I have finally accepted that I can only take this healthy eating journey one step at a time, and that there is no benefit in focusing on the end result instead of gathering experiences and collecting insights along the way. And I realised that this is transferable to the fertility journey.

    We all need to and are entitled to nurture our minds and bodies NOW, with moments and experiences and foods that give us lasting joy, and we deserve it NOW. Not when we have lost weight, not when we have the baby. I need to remind myself several times a day that we must remember to fill the present with happy actions to keep us going and to feed our soul.

    With love to you, Julia, and all of you fellow Fertile Heart mamas and papas.

    Ceridwen

  2. AnnaJ says:

    I read the blog through twice, on very different days and both times the sentence that really jumped out at me was “It takes guts to look and not walk away.” Straight away it took me to a line in a poem by a Buddhist master in a local Chan fellowship, he talks about turning, staring the monster in the face or it will ride you out through the halls of time…

    I’m re-joining the Fertile Heart community after quite some time away from it. It turns out at least some of the roots of my “infertility” and miscarriages was the fact I had Lyme disease. So for the last 2 years I have been on a Lyme healing journey. And what I have learned, amongst all the myriad of the practicalities of the remedies and detox techniques, is an extension of where my fertility journey and Fertile Heart practice was already taking me… I learned I had to look, see, accept and sit with all that was in me, coming up, scaring the hell out of me. I needed radical acceptance of my situation, a letting go and an opening, an orientation to what was happening rather than clawing against it and crazy trust that I would find my way through to the other side, with the help I needed showing up at the perfect time. This took a hell of a lot of letting go for a recovering control freak (still a work I progress…!). And still the practice deepens and deepens and I find more and more what this letting go truly means, where it can take me. I am still surprised. It’s strange to find that like “infertility”, the apparent curse that is Lyme disease has also brought many gifts. They both seem to have been an invitation to the same things, to explore myself and life itself, to let go and see what truly matters.

    And I am still tripping up, still scared at times, scared as hell, especially as I pick up on this very scenic route to motherhood again, the orphans have been out in force as I start some serious planning and commitment. It’s easier for me to shout out for giving up, that it’s enough already, that this journey is already too long and too far… And yet when I actually dare to look and sit with and accept who shows up with compassion, again the gifts are coming thick and fast. I had thought there wasn’t much left to see, I had thought I had looked at so much that I must be done. And nope, still more to visit on this scenic route that took me to places I never knew existed within me.

    Lucky for me my partner is now more fully on board, trying things he never had, we’re more than ever in this together and reaping the rewards of that. So this is starting to look like going further for us now, not sure whether we have got to “too far” yet and I’m willing to give what feels like our last shot the best throw I can and hope that between us we can cast out far enough.

    The cue to listen to Leonard Cohen had me listening to him this evening and I heard his line “dance me to the children that are asking to be born” clearly where I had never noticed it before… so I’m going to try to take some steps further still and take all the courage I can muster to not run away.

  3. Cerberus says:

    This was a compelling post. The following sentence resonated with me: “The alternative is to keep accelerating toward a more and more disconnected, mechanized, medicalized culture of baby-manufacturers.”

    The truth is that every action we take affects everything else. We ourselves are a complex system, and are part of an even more complex system. Taking a multivitamin, having acupuncture, having a fertility treatment — each action changes how we feel and behave, and changes how we respond to changes in our environment. One of the messages of this post is that grappling with (in-)fertility can give us a way in to this complexity: we can’t change how the complex system we are part of behaves, but by focusing on our connections to each other, our environment, what we eat, and how we respond to orphans, we can in some way try to manage the complexity.

    I am experimenting with some of the Imageries at the moment, especially “Fork in the Road”. I have never struggled with uncertainty in my professional life, and that has carried over to the imagery: I have found it next to impossible to have any doubt over which fork to take. So I am now fighting my certainty and trying to learn how to try different forks and paths. It is, after all, *how* we respond to challenges – whether a maze of confusion, or unreasonable certainty – that is important.

  4. Jennifer says:

    Dearest Julia (and my Fertile Heart community),

    Guts. Courage. Determination. Persistance. Making choices. My daily mantra is “Do I want a cheeseburger or a baby?” Crazy, I know, but sometimes it is so easy to be so weak. It is hard to stay the course. But like a professional athlete, when you want it badly enough, you train, train, rest, and train some more. After working the Fertile Heart medicine for about a month, the newness of the routine was wearing off and I found myself going into a stagnation mode. This was NOT where I wanted to be. As a driven, motivated person, I tend to give it all to what is in front of me and I found that my work as a self-employed business owner was starting to get in my way of this journey. I reached out to others in my support circle who I felt I could offer them something in their life right now, and in return they could offer me a life buoy at this moment. And it worked. It helped bring me back into the boat and rowing away again. Change takes time. And effort. If I don’t show up to meet this baby halfway, NO ONE ELSE will do it for me. How badly do I want this? Some of the best parts for me are how the choices and changes I am making now will effect my life in the long term – better eating, no plastic in the house!, learning how to not allow stress to consume me, being present in the moment, making decisions based on knowledge and confidence versus fear or frustration. Whenever I feel like the wave is starting to crash over me, I take a few steps back, regroup and set a different course. You can go around, above or under to get to the other side, you don’t always have to struggle trying to get through the middle. And if doing all of this makes me weird, so be it. I KNOW, have faith and believe that in the end, there will be a baby in my arms.

  5. lovefromAL says:

    Wow, what a powerful and beautifully written blog post! Thank you, Julia. It is such a provocative reframing to look at infertility as a path to saving the world and this 100% resonates with where I am right now. Through the fertile heart program, I am learning to be my own detective when it comes to my body and my orphans. Building trust in my own ultimate mom has been a challenge for me as someone who has placed a lot of distrust in people and in life, but I am learning that too and it is liberating.

    It seems like people all around me are getting pregnant just like that these days (and I can’t say that the jealousy doesn’t creep in) but being empowered with the fertile heart tools has given me an outlet for dealing with my emotions. What’s more, I have changed they way I eat by moving to a more plant-based diet and have already seen so many positive changes in my health (lost 5 pounds, no pain with periods). I think above all, I’m having FUN being a researcher on my own body, trying new foods, and talking to my orphans. Baby or not, infertility has been a life changing course for me and I’m learning to appreciate all that it has done in my life.

  6. Chaim says:

    Dearest Julia

    What a powerful blog. After nine years of trying I gave birth to our beautiful son on 8th November 2016. We used high tech intervention to get pregnant but I know in my being that your work meant that after so long, my body and soul were receptive to a full term, healthy pregnancy. At 47 I defied the odds and had a beautiful pregnancy, with no complications.

    Part of my journey to motherhood has made me ask some of the tough questions about our legacy and what we do whilst we are here. Whilst I laboured in the UK, the American people went to the polls and when we woke up in hospital the next day, we were stunned to see that Donald Trump was now President of the United States. Who would have thought it possible? As the world feels like it is shifting to the right, voices of reason and acceptance are ever more important.

    I choose to be more mindful than ever about the impact on the world in which we raise our son. In making conscious decisions I hope that we will raise a man who has his own passions and pursues them with the same determination that brought us to him. I am proud that I chose the path of preparing myself for motherhood. Now that I am here, I feel the depth of my preparation like a comforting blanket. Wrapping me in layers of acceptance and enjoyment, built over time as I soul-searched my way to a little boy who is the light of my life.

    As in everyday life, parenthood is full of opportunities to decide what you stand for and to make decisions that change lives in small ways that I think make a difference. I am not normally a big consumer but suddenly there are things that you need to buy, whether it is a cot and mattress that you decide to buy made from natural wood from a small family firm created with formaldehyde free glue or an organic wool which had not been treated with fire retardant chemicals. Buying toys that are manufactured in excellent working conditions with sustainable, non toxic materials. You are forced to join the debate on vaccinations and then later schooling. In order to raise a well rounded, thoughtful man, we are forced to become better versions of our current selves, birthing the next Esther who has the strength, wisdom and compassion for the next stage.

    A friend said some time ago that I had changed on this journey. She presented it as a negative comment but I am so delighted by the gift of change. It is a chance to really live, to be truly fertile. It brings to mind Ghandi’s saying “You must be the change you want to see in the world”.

    On our fridge we have several of your beautiful poems including the one that you wrote called Busy Being Born. It reads:

    You smile at my folly that once I thought
    it was I who needed to give birth to you,
    when all along it was you
    who held me tenderly in the palm of your hand
    descending earthward delivering me to life.

    I read this at our son’s recent baby naming ceremony. There is a picture of your daughter with the poem and every morning our little boy smiles at the picture of your daughter and I feel my connection with you and our fertile hearted community. We truly can change the world as we join in strength and love.

    Thank you for posting the link to the Leonard Cohen song. I love the lyrics. I was reflecting the other day when walking what I am enjoying most about motherhood. There are many wonderful experiences. The overwhelming feeling is an intensity of love that at times, almost feel like insanity. A physical love and connection like nothing that I have ever experienced. An aching that makes me a more connected, alive person. I know that a love like this can only make the world a lighter place. I also know that the pursuit of such love also makes the world a better, lighter and more accepting place which is so desperately needed in these strange times that we are living in.

    Take good care all. Much love and light, E. xxx

    • AnnaJ says:

      Thank you for posting this, I really needed to read it… very glad to hear your boy arrived and for the hope it brings for me and mine XXX

  7. sulli612 says:

    Dearest Julia,
    Thank you. Thank you for this post. Thank you for every single word. Thank you for your courage, strength and GUTS. Thank you for guiding each one of us toward our own courage, strength and guts. Thank you for reminding us how important the HOW is and how each step of this journey not only brings us closer to our child but also to ourselves. With each act of courage, each act requiring bravery, GUTS and strength, I have felt more alive and my dormant pieces within have rattled to life. This practice has changed how I see every single thing in life, how I interpret every single word I read and hear, how I act or better yet, react. There is not one thread of my life that has not been impacted for the better and for that I am eternally grateful. The “side-effects” of this medicine (Fertile Heart Practice) are so powerful and amazing. We truly are the blessed ones even though on our fertility journeys it often doesn’t feel that way. I am far braver, gutsier and steadfast than I ever imagined I could be. And everyday the journey, the growing, the learning continues. Thank you.

  8. butterflyfaith says:

    I’ve realized that “going too far” is not something I can imagine. I am always so controlled and planned, but I’m also very cautious and closed. I fear going too far because it might open me up to greater pain and failure. A big part of me knows that’s not true and I’m actually setting myself up for failure and sadness by always being prepared and guarded for it. So that’s what I’m working on. I’m daring to believe, daring to hope, daring to feel optimistic. That goes against every bit of my nature. But I don’t like that bit of my nature, so I might as well change it. I think of how it would feel to have this part of me passed on to my kids, and it’s not a good feeling at all. This is not the legacy I want to leave them. I’ve been slacking on my body truth these past few days. I hurt my back, so my movements have been limited to say the least. But I’m working with Room of Fear and Choosing Life. Choosing Life is a bit tough for me, but I’m really clicking with Room of Fear. The shift came when I focused not on the fear itself, but on the relief of being able to be guided to peace and safety by the UM. So much is stressful right now in my life, and it’s wonderful to have just a minute or two relief when I visualize that door opening and me walking to safety.

  9. Gravid Sans Doute says:

    Dear Fertile Mamas,

    I feel like I am on a new journey for me – job searching. It is something many people feel at peace with. For me, I am not comfortable, but I need to keep going forward and see where it leads. I am grateful that I have helpers. I am so blessed now to be taking a class related to finding a job – the blessing of this class is that there are people from many different cultures/countries in it – people from Ethiopia, Sudan, Syria, India, Ghana, Pakistan and other localities and different cultures in the United States. It is beautiful because everyone is now seeing the group as a family – so loving towards one another – truly heaven. If it weren’t for the challenges I have been having finding a job, I would not have experienced this.

    CreateMiracles, that is wonderful you are able to accept you or are at least on the journey there and ChoosingGrowthandVision, I loved your how – how you are feeling, having the supplements nourish you. Sophia, good luck bringing light into that room and Fearless Murrelet, remember to be caring to myself – I need to remember that, too.

    I have been working with Soul on Fire Fertile Heart body truth and Meeting Your Child Halfway Fertile Heart imagery. Right now I am listing out the intentions of the body truth sequences, trying to make a conscious choice about what sounds best. I’m trying to figure out how to care for myself with a busy and ever-changing schedule. I have not mastered that yet, but I will continue to work with it.

    Blessings to all.

  10. Bel says:

    I can so relate to the posts below, which describe wanting to make love to my husband and find a baby in my arms 10 months later. Last week, filling in the forms for an IVF clinic, and during that same week, hearing news of 2 more effortless pregnancies to women I know in their late 30s, I felt a ton of orphans rising up: why me, it’s not fair etc. And a deep yearning to be one of those women. There are times when my orphans really take over the show, and I forget I even have a Visionary or two within me. At these times, I also lose trust in life, in the Ultimate Mom. And my world can become a fairly dark place. The last few days, heavy with pre-menstrual emotions, I just felt very sad. Yesterday morning, I did a lot of journalling, writing about how I felt, but also making a list of all the things that ARE working in my life (inspired by CreateMiracles). And I reminded myself of all the times in the past I have been so supported by Life/the UM. And instead of doing the yoga and meditation I usually do, first thing, instead I hung out with my husband and ate Hot Cross Buns & drank tea. And took a good dose of imagery (Land of Haves and Meeting your Child Halfway). All of which helped me feel a bit better. In the afternoon, I went to hear a performance of The St Matthew’s Passion. There is a moment, as Jesus is being crucified, when he says ‘God, why hast thou forsaken me,’ and it also helped me knowing that even Jesus questioned ‘God’s’ (or what I would call Life/The UM) support at times. I know for sure, though, that when I am able to trust in this journey, and trust I am being supported and guided, the way I feel about it changes completely.

  11. Sophia says:

    Thank you Julia for this blogpost and to Jason stern who inspired it. It seems to be true for me that going to more darkness and feeling that “bite” is slowly waking me up to see the truth more clearly. I am beginning to see some of those long held beliefs, beliefs I didn’t know I even had, are beliefs that no longer serve me. Wherever this desire for a family and children came from, it has taken me on a journey that is harder and darker than I ever imagined but if I could just find the courage to continue and not give up I know that it is somehow slowly transforming me…not sure where I will end up, but it won’t be here because I can’t stop now. Stopping now would mean just drowning into all that darkness before I knew this desire. I too have a room in my apartment, an apartment I moved into in anticipation of my family. I haven’t even a lamp in it, and it has slowly become the storage room as with each disappointment I couldn’t bring myself to hope and prepare and ready it. Perhaps that state of unreadiness and neglect is a reflection of the parts of me that are not ready and the blockages in my life that have prevented me from meeting my child halfway. Perhaps my next step will be to bring some light into that room….

  12. CreateMiracles says:

    What an awesome post, thank you so much for this! I read it twice, each time, finding new meaning, new strength, new wisdom and new hope. Thank you!!!! This is not a path for the light hearted. This journey has brought me to my knees. Like others have posted, I have just wanted to make love with husband and find myself with an infant in my arms just 10 months later. And the fact that it hasn’t happened has certainly caused me to spiral into darkness. Only a few weeks ago I had my 4th miscarriage and thought for sure that this was it, I was done, and ready to live in the darkness because at least in darkness I know what to expect. I can deal with my orphans and prove that this world is an ugly, messy place. However, after doing a lot of reading, mediation, prayer, time with my husband, and taking inventory of my beautiful, blessed life, I see that my life is not threatened. I don’t have a disability or a disease. I’ve learned that I have a mindset that if not carefully nurtured, it will take me down the wrong path, it will live in the world of Orphans, and those orphans and limiting beliefs stop me in my tracks – but I know now that I am not willing to hold on to beliefs that no longer serve me. I get to choose “how” I want to show up in all of this, and it does take guts and passion to continue. What I know now that I didn’t know even just weeks ago is that this journey is showing me who I really want to be, and who I really don’t want to be. It’s helping me accept me for all of who I am regardless of whether I have a baby or not. My self-worth is not based on my ability to get pregnant. (That is a really big one for me! Took a long time to even say that and feel it as true). My self-worth is based on how I take care of myself, how I show up in integrity in all areas of my life, how my husband and I continue to bond and develop our relationship as we go through this chapter and in our live together, and how I choose to allow peace and joy into life.
    The gratitude I feel today for these awarenesses are nothing short of miraculous. Slowing down the chatter in my mind, choosing to be more body centered and focused on visionary action steps feels like a soothing salve on a really really bad wound.
    I’m proud to say that I don’t feel angry anymore, I feel optimistic and hopeful again.
    Thank you dearest Julia. Your work has impacted my life in such a positive way, I am so grateful.

  13. ChoosingGrowthandVision says:

    Hi Julia and other visionary Mamas,
    Like Lucy and some of the other mamas, I’m struck by the part of the post that emphasizes the “How.” I’ve been on this journey for over two years now and am slowly waking up now to the idea that the How matters. For about a year, I thought if I just followed the perfect diet and did the visualizations and calls, I would get pregnant.

    I did not think my tense muscles, paperwork avoidance, rushed and pressured thinking (my internalized “stressed out mother” from my childhood thinking this is the only way to live mentally), my stressed relationship and my ambivalence about whether or not we can handle a second child would affect my fertility. Even though the diet brought my AMH up and FSH down, no baby came. I needed to take a few months off of the diet in order to get to know my angry orphan and give myself time to regroup. Now – I’m focusing more on the HOW of life. I’m focusing on how I talk to myself, how I value balance, even how I swallow my supplements (instead of gulping them down half consciously – I want to take them slowly and imagine my body feeling nourished as I ingest them). Changing HOW I conduct my life, how I go about achieving my goals is probably the hardest undertaking I’ve ever done – bceause I can’t go on autopilot anymore and assume it doesn’t matter how I feel. I have to check in more now and ask myself how I’m feeling in each moment and how I can choose the next action that will bring me into balance and address whatever my true feelings and needs are in the moment.

    As I do this and say this I feel daunted. Its asking a lot of me. I know I won’t always be able to do it. But I’m committed to doing it more, as much as I can, and being brave enough to trust that it’s deeply valuable to my life – more valuable than the delivery of one desired baby. I know that I need the calls and the body truth more than ever for this task because my impulsive orphans want to turn to their familiar “go tos” – avoidance behaviors, coffee, focusing on doing rather than feeling. This work is hard and sometimes I feel angry that I “have to” do it (instead of just having sex and getting a baby ten months later like most people) – but I also know that it’s a profound opportunity that will bring me other things I deeply want: fulfillment in work and marriage, inner peace and long term health.

    I’m deeply grateful to Julia for the tools and posts and to the group for your willingness to share your own vulnerability and wisdom as you travel along this road with all it’s gorgeous scenery and challenging potholes and bumps.

  14. leslie says:

    Such a wonderful blog! I am reminded of how I felt when I used to do theatre. Rehearsal and preparation were absolutely necessary, but then there was the exploration that could only happen in the moment, during the live performance. I remember having to make the conscious choice to let go, to give into the moment, to see what emerged, to discover, and to create something completely new. I remember that there were times when I might just say the lines, and and go on a sort of autopilot instead of allowing a certain opening or vulnerability to let something new come in. In a way, it reminds me of the fertile heart journey. There is certainly preparation involved, supplements, specific foods and practices, all of which give us support to experience the exhilaration of new insight. All three: the preparation, the letting go to reveal the insight, and the insight are themselves very powerful. I also think with the emphasis on nutrition, it helps to provide the momentum to keep going. My visionary step this week is to take time to relax. I just moved into a new office and have been scurrying to try to make it ready. A massage sounds great right about now!

  15. Lucy says:

    Thank you for sharing this beautiful post. This might be one of my favorite all time fertile heart blog posts. My heart and soul cheered a hearty “YES” in response to “its the how that matters most.” We are all here— reading, thinking, sharing, exploring, growing—because we opened to the inquiry of HOW. The hunger for HOW led me to now. Here I sit, tearing down walls I thought were torn down, exploring orphans I thought I understood fully, and reveling at the mystery that is life, faith, hope, and the power of ourselves.

    “We tilt the scale toward fertility by listening to ourselves and one another in a way we have never listened before. By hearing ourselves and each other the way we have never heard each other before.”

    What a joy and blessing that we all, one way or another, found our way to this point in time. To have the opportunity, time, and tools to listen to ourselves and others in new ways and change the world. I remain honored and humbled.

  16. Bel says:

    Dear Julia,

    I always love your blog posts, but this one resonates particularly deeply. Thank you for your comments about the difference between a fertility challenge and a cancer diagnosis. Having been through both, I would choose the fertility challenge over the cancer any day. After I’d finished my cancer treatment I remember reading an article in the paper saying that infertility was considered as stressful as having cancer. This was some years before I’d started trying for a baby, and it made me angry. How could the two possibility compare, I thought? With one, your actual life is threatened (and not to mention the lives of all those who love you & desperately want you to survive), while with the other you still have your life, even if it’s not quite the life you would choose.

    We only started trying for a baby when I was into my forties, so I knew from the start that it might not be easy. I wondered whether, if it proved to be a challenge, I would come to revise my feelings about cancer being tougher than ‘infertility’. The challenge of struggling to conceive has indeed brought up a ton of emotions – and more anger and jealousy than the cancer diagnosis ever did. And I think part of that anger was because it seemed unfair I had to go through both these challenges, whereas most of my friends had been through neither. But you are right, the stakes are less high and I would rather have a life and no child rather than no life at all. Perhaps that – along with discovering Fertile Heart – is one of the reasons why I have never been dragged down to the depths of despair that I have heard other women talk about. Or, rather, I have been dragged down, but always managed to rise back up again.

    I have always been grateful for allopathic medicine. But, for me, it has always been something to use alongside more natural healing methods, and I wouldn’t ever put all my faith in it. With my cancer diagnosis I learnt a lot about the means we can physically support ourselves through nutrition etc. And it was the first time I had my eyes opened to how healing ourselves emotionally can also help heal ourselves physically, and how the physical and emotional are inextricably connected. But the FH work has deepened my understanding of the connection between the two.

    My favourite Leonard Cohen lines are ‘There is a crack in everything, That’s how the light gets in.’ I love this image of how what feels broken can actually bring in the light. You’re right, it’s not an easy path though, and I understand how it might seem easier & simpler to take the path of just doing as the doctor tells you. It makes me sad though to think how many people are just going to go and have those 5 or whatever rounds of IVF without even questioning it, or considering that there might be other paths to explore.

    Love,

    Bel

  17. Fearless Murrelet says:

    Dear Julia.

    A million times thank you.

    It takes guts to stand up to your partner and tell him – you know what I don’t want to do conventional ivf at this time but i will go with low stim ivf.

    It takes guts to tell a nurse that look – i have a sensitive skin and history of severe allergic reaction to adhesive when I was a child. This when the doctor has already gone over this with the patient. But the patient says my allergy information is in the doctor’s records but we did not specifically have a conversation about that allergy when we spoke about this patch. This came up when talking to the pharmacy who dispensed the patch. I would rather not wear that estrogen patch. And then the nurse pages the doctor on a Sunday morning and look – there’s an alternative which is an oral tablet. Apparently this clinic never prescribes the pill I am told the following Sunday. Before taking the pill I look over some of the side effects and precautions. I take it anyway but now I am better informed.

    It takes guts to tell your partner who is clueless about icsi. when signing the consent forms to renew one’s paperwork at the ivf clinic. No I don’t want icsi. Our sperm is very good and I feel strongly about this. We can discuss this between us – but I am not going to choose either of the two options on the icsi page of the consent form. one option was – if medical staff thinks icsi is good then they will use it, and second – use icsi for every cycle. I don’t want to do icsi at all. why isn’t there a third option – no I do not want to do icsi. if you are considering it then please bring me in the loop first.

    For some – it takes guts to stop all treatment. I don’t have the guts to do that today. But I am taking the step to go closer to the truth.

    Thank you Julia.

    Love.
    xxxxxx

    • A million times thank you to you, Fearless Murrelet, for the immense, immense courage you keep summoning up on your journey. The child that gets to call you Mommy, is a blessed, lucky child.

      • Fearless Murrelet says:

        Dear Julia.
        Thank you so much for your healing words and presence. I enjoyed the singing at the end of the call.

        After last week’s call I noticed a judging orphan. So I am adding a comment here today that she has been spotted and I have taken her under my wings. The orphan that judges me because I have been picking only those imagery sequences that help strengthen my V or UM and have been staying away from the imagery that involves working with O. Well, there she showed up.

        I have picked up Jail Break this week. What I want to commit to is doing Body Truth starting with one day a week. I am beginning to have fun with the imagery but not being as consistent as I want to be. So BT always took a back seat. Today’s newsletter reminded me about body truth yet again. I know I want to gently guide myself and remember to be caring to myself. So that is my special assignment.

        Love,
        xxxxx

  18. Gravid Sans Doute says:

    Dear Fertile Mamas,

    This is a wonderful blog. It does take guts to choose a different path when the trend is to more and more technology. Even technology is fine as long as there is consciousness there of the mystery. I certainly prefer to think of it that way. I really liked “Our bodies are not our adversaries that can only be defeated with the big guns of the infertility technopoly”. That is so true that we are often at odds with our amazing miraculous bodies – for myself that I push and demand my body to do this and that and my body says “I don’t think so”. I am so grateful it works as well as it does though. I can see and walk and jump and hear and enjoy meals and create and love. Yes we do have life and so many options are open to us.

    Lucy, it is truly awesome to have this space to share and gutsymama, I had a friend tell me that being a mother was the most terrible and wonderful thing ever and she was right. Mamacat, I like the idea of making space and that love is the most courageous way to co-create, and Fearless Murrelet, yay for having the guts to state your truth. Bel, Thank you so much for sharing your story. I am sorry you are going through both.

    I am working with Soul on Fire Fertile Heart body truth and Meeting Your Child Halfway Fertile Heart imagery. I am birthing the visionary Robin who can search for work and receive training while creating the most conception friendly environment possible. I can’t say this is easy for me at this time, but it is exciting to think of it as an experiment. I am very grateful at this time to have some mentors and companions working with me on looking for work and training. One of the mentors for the training is talking about visualization. I think I’m in the right place!

    Blessings to all.

  19. gutsymama says:

    I love mamacats quote that a friend said “a family was my biggest fear, and yet my deepest wish’. I resonate with that alot. It is like a constant orphan/visionary push pull I struggle with daily. I moved into our home about 6 years ago around the same time we had already started for a child. We had just miscarried. We have a cape cod home so we have 2 big bedrooms on the 2nd floor. The masteroom is ours and the 2nd room would be for our child. Instead it has turned into a giant closet. We even had a baby bed (not put together) that my husband had gotten a furniture sale. Still leaning up against a wall next to a rocking chair gather dust. I keep the door to the room closed. Well this past week I could not take it anymore. I opened the door. I started cleaning everything. I am orangizing and packing up stuff and putting it away properly. It is looking like a room again. I am looking at the bed and not sure what to do with it. I may ask my husband to just put it somewhere else for now until I can find my next visionary rooted action around it. It hurst to look at this room. It is like a room of unrealized dreams. However I know that keeping the door closed and allowing sh*t to pile up is not the answer either. Cleaning it up so it resembles a bedroom again feels like the best step I have taken in awhile. I do want to be a mother. I am scared to be a mother. It would take guts for me to be a mother.

    • Mamacat says:

      Gutsymama! I have the same exact bedroom!!! Filled with boxes and unorganized junk and have just started to purge that room, too. Mainly to dig out my juicer and start collecting things I’ve hoarded for years to sell on Etsy as a way to add to the baby fund. I’ve been reluctant to actually move into my apartment….because it just feels so temporary and so far from where I want to be…I want the house, the husband, the family…but the rumi quote that says if all you can do is crawl, start crawling really clicked for me. Ive started making my space a safe, comforting, nurturing haven. I’m purging things that no longer serve me. I’m inviting my orphans to come to me for comfort and healing. Making space. Opening the door as you say. The more I make space or nest…the closer I feel to my babies. Much love, MC

  20. Mamacat says:

    Hi Julia!

    Thank you so much for this blog. I am reading this a day after one of our calls, and it truly helps me to realign with the program. I have not been consistent with my truth. I have procrastinated. I have kept waiting to have the affirmation/confirmation that I am loved enough by a partner that they would want to procreate/co-create with me. I feared the answer. I feared the rejection. I feared the failure. I had told myself over and over again…ok, we are just going to do this alone. Deep in my heart I want a family. Not trying and living in regret is not an option for my soul.
    A wise healer/friend once told me that my desire for a family was my biggest fear, and yet my deepest wish. I didn’t understand what she meant at first. How could I FEAR having a family?? It wasn’t until I started embarking on this fertile heart journey that I realized it was the FEAR that was keeping me from facing myself, loving myself, speaking my truth, healing myself.
    In realizing that fear is a separation from LOVE, and that love is the most courageous, gutsy, honest pathway to co-creation, I am starting to feel relief and open to whatever path comes my way for a child, single or not single. It takes guts to realize how deep in fear, deep in pain, and deep in self-harm essentially have kept me from love, and ultimately from my deepest desire to give that love to a child. It takes guts to forgive myself. It takes guts to stop punishing myself. It takes guts to celebrate myself. It takes guts to speak my truth to the man that I love that I am compelled to move forward, drawn by the sweet voice of my child wanting to meet me halfway.
    I think my infertility experience albeit having deeply suffered beyond anything I have ever experienced has shown me that I am blossoming every moment into my true, fertile nature. It hasn’t been easy, and no doubt I still have layers of emotional healing that still needs to occur. but Choosing Love, over Fear everyday, every moment.. THAT is how I can save my/the world. And that brings me comfort.

    Thank you again for giving me the acceptance/welcome/and gentle nudge to re-energize my commitment to the journey.

    Much love! MC



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