Fertile Idolatry: A Doctor, a Rabbi and a Priest Walk Into a Womb (In support of NYT columnist Amy Klein)

By on January 22, 2014

wiseoldmanDear Amy and All Unquestionably Fertile Friends,  

In my life my most treasured companions have been skilled “midwives.” Friends and teachers who know themselves and know me well enough to be able to genuinely support me through my birthing adventures. My most trusted allies are the people who  care enough to challenge me when they feel I might be harming myself.

You asked me to support you, so here I am again attempting to do just that.

I only know you through your Fertility Diary column and I don’t know whether or not you’re open to continue the  conversation you initiated with me on Twitter, but as a reproductive healthcare activist it’s my job to respond to your entries. 

I’ve seen far too much harm done in this area of healthcare to remain silent.

This is not a post trashing doctors or clergy. I deeply appreciate the work of  thoughtful physicians and I love my rabbi. This post is about our human propensity for misplaced worship—which in the world of baby-making, as in all other aspects of our lives, puts us at great risk.

 Your last Fertility Diary entries are teeming with experts: the doctors who quote statistics, the ones who support genetic screening and the ones who don’t,  the egg donor counselor, and the rabbi who tells you to rev up your ovaries for a few more rounds of drugs. You run from one expert to another, ingesting their beliefs as facts. How can this baby land in a moving target?   

We hear little about changing the ground of your being, the soil that has been refusing to seed new life. You marginalize your own role as a co-creator of your pain and by doing so diminish the immense opportunity that comes with a fertility crisis. 

 In your email you tell me you can’t do what I did, and you ask me to send you “good vibes.”

I would love to share my work with you, Amy, but it would take more than sending you good vibes.  The I.B.O.W. Program is a “birthing” practice that calls for a level of commitment, a respect for all aspects of our nature and a particular way of working with a carefully crafted set of tools. The good vibes happen spontaneously as a result of the practice.

I hear your tenure with The NYT Fertility Diary is coming to an end. That might a good thing. Drawing your attention inward, and letting go of the obligation to report your failures and successes to your readers might  create a more conception-friendly inner space.

Whatever you decide to do, I hope your next step is guided by the unconditionally loving and wise Authority vested in you. The same guiding force ever-present  in each of us.

 With love,



18 Responses to “Fertile Idolatry: A Doctor, a Rabbi and a Priest Walk Into a Womb (In support of NYT columnist Amy Klein)”

  1. MM says:

    Thank you, Julia for your energy and dedication. You are truly a great example of this birthing practice and are an inspiration to all of us. My life has shifted since I met you in Woodstock and I continue to engage in this practice. I remember being in your kitchen and asking you how long I should commit to this practice. Looking back I feel so silly. I wanted a quick fix, I wanted to be pregnant right after your workshop. What I realized is that with this practice you are giving us the greatest gifts of all – to continually attempt in living our truth. Only 3 months into this practice I feel more alive and present that I have ever been, carefully listening to the tunes of my body. This is huge for me. Somehow this practice has allowed me to find peace (orphans still show up though :)) and stop obsessing about time – you refer to it as the hysteria of the last good egg or something to that effect. It has also been interesting how this practice has shifted my perspective about myself in the workplace. I have been more courageous to speak up and share my opinions. Every day I am living a more authentic life and not really thinking about what others think and how they may perceive me. I am more open and I am telling the world this is me, like it or not! I can not explain how these shifts happened but I am excited to engage more fully in this practice every day. Thank you again Julia for being you and creating this wonderful community! I have met some amazing women in this circle and this has been another blessing! So much wisdom exists within us all!

  2. Hautbois says:

    Your support for Amy — through challenging her and introducing a path for her to understand her holy human loaf — is the greatest gift she could receive. And I hope she will take steps on this path, giving her the tools to create.

    You have changed my life Julia, and as I am on this path, I appreciate living, with trust in my Visionary — who shows the way.

    Reading Julia’s words, along with all of the beautiful responses, is certainly a means to strengthen our holy human loaves — to deepen our practice — and to connect with one another.
    Every day I give thanks for being a part of this community.

    Let us keep seeing, growing, creating — supporting —
    Love and Blessings —

  3. Openhearted says:

    This is a beautiful way to communicate with Amy. As I read it I was reminded of how far the practice has opened me up to my own authority. I was used to giving away my power to others due to fear or because they appeared to know what was best for me. Everyday is a new day to strengthen my inner voice with the help of the tools and choices that I choose to make that strengthen my holy human loaf. Also those good vibes I have felt them and that was directly related to finding my inner authority!

  4. Robin says:

    Wonderful, Julia. That is an interesting perspective about being supportive while having differences of opinion. I applaud your dedication and commitment to women (and all humans) being empowered to heal themselves – to really know what it is to live as fully as possible. I believe that can make our children more wonderful and our Earth more wonderful as well. Thank you so much.

  5. Paola says:

    Hello Julia,
    hello everyone.
    I’ve been deeply moved by some words you use Julia: “misplaced worship”, “the Authority vested in you”, “co-creator”. To me, this is the most fruitful part of the path you suggest.

    I still hope to see the sweet face of our baby, but even if I can never see it, I’ll harvest many fruits: sunny orange apricots, fragrant peaches, funny cherries, ability to listen to my needs, to see my inner feelings, to speak out my thoughts no matter if they’re wrong or right.


  6. Lori says:

    I wanted to touch on the “good vibes” and how they happen spontaneously as a a result of the practice. Each time I do the Tree of Faith & Surrender imagery, the words (and I paraphrase) “letting go happens spontaneously through the passionate engagement of the immediate need with the body & heart”… always brings me such great comfort and ease about my journey.

    Just the words faith & surrender can be quite intimidating because it can feel like you’re being asked to give up control of what you want to happen. After practicing the OVUM tools and this imagery, that those words now show me that I am not giving up control, but rather am IN control of my journey and where I take myself and my baby.

  7. Thank you for these words, Julia. I spent two and a half years writing about my journey, aka my failures, and it seemed to perpetuate… despair? I had two friends who challenged me to question why I was writing it anymore, the second they heard an inkling of me wondering if it was healthy to continue how I was…

    So I use your words to challenge me. I am ready. I don’t feel worthy, and I’m horrified of continuing disappointment, but I want to be ready and to do this more than anything any the world, more than any moment before in my life. <3

    Thank you!

  8. Katy G says:

    wow Julia this is just beautiful. I am still am in the rookie stages of becoming my own authority. however since I took you up on the challenge to challenge myself to 5 months of true commitment..something has shifted.
    I feel different. I am in the middle of something quite similar that Amy is going through now. however I am really working on letting the flow of my decisions and actions come from a place of intuition and not fear. I have been wallowing in fear for the last 3 years and I finally feel the shift towards the other side. It is not a perfect walk but I feel I am able to do it for once. Thank you for this post. I can see myself in the article and I can now see myself in the work you have provided me to use.

    • thank you for this thoughtful comment, Katy! It sure is not a perfect walk for me either, but I’m so grateful for this second child for showing me
      a way out of a life of “quiet desperation,” where I lived much of the time.

    • Hugs and love and prayers for you, Katy. You are with so much support in this walk!

    • heather1975teaching says:

      Katy- you are so strong and so well spoken! I loved your comments about it not being a perfect walk but you are doing it. I really feel that this journey it not only spiritual/emotional but a physical one as well. You spoke about letting the flow of decisions and action come from a place of intuition and not fear- that really hit home with me. I am working on that same thing. I always appreciate reading what you post, it tends hit the nail on the head for me.

      • Katy G says:

        Thank you so much! I love reading the forums and blogs b/c someone always seems to bring something alive for me as well. Love and support to all of you too. I think I am finally “getting it” when Julia says about turning this journey into the greatest opportunity of a lifetime.

    • MiracleHope says:

      Dear Katy
      I can totally relate to your post. I have finally dared to commit to the practice for 6months. I am more at peace with myself. As I walk through this path, I slowly started realizing different aspects of my nature and understanding what actually “birthing” our self means. As I slowly walk through this path, I am discovering myself more and feel like I am able to understand all aspects of my “self” very thoroughly, encountered few shocking revelations. In the last support call on 20th, the closing remarks of Julia made perfect sense to me for after being with fertile heart for 1.5yrs, that “This path is conceiving our self and baby is a side effect”. I am totally buying into it.
      It takes guts & patience to get into this kind of self introspection & discovery. I am much more confident, clear, proud of myself than I was ever in my life before. We are very fortunate ladies to come across such a practice and for having a wonderful “GURU” who is guiding us through this journey not just by supporting us but being tough once in a while when we fall back and loose focus. Julia, I can’t thank you for how you put me on spot during the call. Thanks for such wake up calls !!

      • This “guru” (the word scares me a bit, because pf the way it’s used in this culture, but you’re right S. it really just means teacher)is grateful to have a teaching job she loves, teaching a subject she is passionate about, in a classroom full of incredible human beings. MiracleHope, I’m on your side, rooting for you every step of the way!

        • MiracleHope says:

          I have consciously used the word “Guru” & not “teacher” Julia :-) !!
          Per Indian culture, the actual meaning of a “Guru” is, one who went down the path of self realization is the one who is eligible to teach & guide his/her students. Its only guiding not walking the path along with the students. Its ultimately the student’s responsibility to take the lead and go his/her own way, Guru will just impart the knowledge :-)

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