I decided to post this on the FertileHearted Human blog since it is as much about my fertility work as it is about my peace projects.
And this month, on January 27th I’ll be honoring International Holocaust Remembrance Day, so this story is a timely reminder of my most essential task as a humanoid: to keep turning the legacy of losses in my family line into a force for good.
The error in the title was not intentional, but leaving it in was a conscious choice. The title I had in mind was “Can Amy & Julia Hear Each Other?”, but “heart” each other is what my grandmother would have wanted me to say.
What does my grandmother have to do with The New York Times Fertility Diary and how in God’s name did she become part of this conversation?
Here is how it started.
Yesterday I met Amy Klein, the NYT Fertility Diary columnist who has been the subject of several of my recent blog entries. We didn’t actually meet face to face. We tweeted at each other. Amy was the one who tweeted first, responding to the title of one of my recent entries.
Amy: Really? @FertileHeart, I’m “desperate” & “arrogant?” And you’re meant to be supportive of women trying to get pregnant?
Julia: Yes, @AmydKlein, for 20 years I have supported women trying to get pregnant in embracing their desperation instead of acting it out.
Amy: @FertileHeart Let’s be more supportive of each other…
And then in a private email* Amy added: Ironically, I just wrote about your book yesterday in my column, but it ended up getting cut. I really wanted to mention “Inconceivable” as the bible for the holistic health movement. I was impressed with the book a long time ago…I admire you for your ability to take your fertility into your own hands. Not all of us are really able to do that…
After receiving Amy’s email, I have been wrestling with the part of me that asks, “How is it that the NYT’s editor was fine about citing the name of the Colorado Fertility Clinic, or Dr. Zhang and New Hope Fertility, but the mention of my first book, Inconceivable, was cut?” It’s the same part of me that wishes Amy would have clicked on my website and made the trip to Woodstock before she put so many of her eggs in the I.V.F. basket.
I also wondered if Amy would indeed be able to hear me; was she genuinely interested in learning about my work or did she just want to pick up a few quick “tips” that would make her next I.V.F. a success?
And then something happened.
I re-read that last tweet from Amy, the one in which she said, “Let’s be more supportive of each other,” and saw in my mind’s eye the image of my grandmother. Instead of “Fertile Heart, let’s be more supportive of each other,” what I heard was, “Fertile Heart, let’s love each other.”
I never met my grandmother. When my father, who survived Matthausen (a forced labor camp in Austria), returned home after the war, a neighbor handed him a note that said:
“Children, love each other. You will not see me again.”
Later, my father learned from an eyewitness that my grandmother had died in a cattle car on the way to Auschwitz, a concentration camp in Poland.
My grandmother’s maiden name was Yolan Klein.
So Amy, it looks like we might indeed be each other’s healers, but I’m not sure yet how I can support you. I do hope that we can be in a mutually respectful relationship long enough for me to show you that you, like me, are eminently able to “take your fertility into your own hands.” Above all, I hope that we can hear, and “heart”, each other.
Is there someone in your life who is challenging the peacemaker in you to listen and hear with a more open heart?
*Text used with permission from Amy Klein