Fertility Integrity: What Would Pete Seeger Do?

By on January 30, 2014

PeteSeegerOrangeI should just let it go, I said to myself, as I read the current installment of NYT Fertility Diary riddled with blame and bitterness and the dubious science of IVF success rates.  

As if that wasn’t enough, later in the day a client sent me a link to another mind boggling NYT piece by Sarah Elizabeth Richards, about “freezing her eggs in frenzy,” spending $50,000 and managing to save 70 eggs to “safeguard her fertility.” 

I could just let it go, I thought, keep doing my work as I have for the last two decades, changing my tiny corner of the world as best I could.

Then this morning I got an email from one of my beloved teachers, rabbi Jonathan Kligler, with a subject line that read “In Praise of Pete Seeger.”

Rabbi Jonathan’s words of gratitude for the man who inspired him and millions of people around the world through his passion for justice, his tireless activism and monumental talent, moved me to tears.

What would Pete Seeger say, I asked myself, if he knew what I know, if he had seen, as I have, the harm done to women sucked into the black hole of endless high tech tinkering? What would he do if he were to watch the mad march toward medicalized conception, the march toward a day when women would be stashing away and retrieving their eggs from egg banks as casually as they retrieve quick cash from the nearest ATM machine?  

What would an activist committed to the pursuit of justice say to a generation of  hip professional women reading glossy magazines that tell them the road to empowerment is paved with synthetic hormones that rev up their ovaries to produce ten times more eggs than they were  designed to produce? 

What would Pete Seeger do if he could foresee the immense damage of this technologizing trajectory: the cost to women’s health, future generations, the earth, the water, the air we breathe? 

Would he let it go? 

Or would he appeal to the best in us and urge us to “guard well our human chain?” Would he attempt to awaken in us a sense of reverence for our wonderworking human bodies and the “old blue sky” and the “sweet green earth” that feeds us, the earth our adored children will rely on for shelter and sustenance. 

Thank you, rabbi Jonathan! Thank you dear Pete, for showing me what a life lived with a full heart and impeccable integrity looks like!


14 Responses to “Fertility Integrity: What Would Pete Seeger Do?”

  1. Openhearted says:

    I read this post as I just went through a week of orphan rooted feelings due to not getting pregnant this month. I was trying to tell myself to just let it go and move on but then I realized that if I just tell myself this I am doing more harm then good. I am not giving my orphans space. I also reminded myself that my visionary can shine through in the midst of orphan rooted feelings!

    You have done amazing work and built an awesome community! Your work has influenced many women! I know I have opened up and grown so much since starting the practice and being part of the community 2 years ago!
    Thank you!

  2. SM says:

    Julia you are the “Light”! And Thank you, thank you, thank you for showing it to us. The more I read your posts here and practice the “Field of Creation” from your CD the more I get it. Yes I can now say I get it – it takes time to get to this point. The thing is – I don’t possibly know way – us humans, us females, like to suffer and pay the price. We internally feel we need to pay the price! For some the paying of price is by doing IVF(s) and then saying yes I have done the ultimate, I have done everything. Whereas finding the light is everything! Thank you again, I admire you and your eternal wisdom and because of you I already feel I am more “whole” than I have ever been.

  3. Lori says:

    I have such compassion for these women caught up in the high tech world of trying to conceive a child. While I may not have gone to the extremes they have, I still have struggled arrogance of science. I fully believe every woman has to make the best choice for herself at any given moment. What I hope for these women and all women struggling to get pregnant is that they find Julia’s work and join us all. About a year ago I probably would have been jealous of the woman who froze 70 eggs because I’d think she’d have a better success rate than I would.. but what exactly is she succeeding at?

    • Lori, I’m so glad, really glad, that things have shifted for you from a year ago! You are such a generous, loving soul, there is no doubt in my heart
      that the road to motherhood is paved with treasures for you!

  4. mary says:

    Great question Julia! Although I have not gone through the high tech fertility route of IVF or freezing any eggs, I have given myself over to the world that gives all the power to technology and disempowers women until a few months ago when I took your workshop. I had given in to technology that says a woman is only fertile at a specific age (time frame), a woman’s body is a machine, a woman’s lab results are the final answer, and really a woman does not know or cannot trust and hear her own body. I am still wrestling to break free of the grips of technological ideas but I’m winning. Phew! I thank the STARS that I found your corner and will practice to be the work so that Fertility Integrity has the chance to become all corners! Fertility Integrity is vital not only for me and the other Visionary Mommas on revealing our authentic power as women but for future generations of ALL humans. Thanks for not “letting go”. And I promise, I won’t either.

  5. Hautbois says:

    Amy writes of feeling ‘betrayed by her body.’ But she is missing the point. Her body is actually crying out to her, showing her what needs healing. Her body will bring her truth, while bringing her closer to her child. Isn’t it so sharply frustrating, upsetting, sad that Amy is so far from her truth, enmeshed in the frenzy and pain? Like Katy and Heather, my stomach churns when I read Amy’s words and all of the comments that follow.

    In your gorgeous reflection, Julia, you call to us, and we see how you, like Pete Seeger, encourage us to live with integrity and wholehearted awe for our world, for our humanness, for our creation —

    I can’t think of a more life-affirming, courageous path. Thank you for helping us forge this path, Julia. With love and gratitude in every footstep, Anna

  6. heather1975teaching says:

    My initial reaction to reading about the woman who had ” managed ” to save 70 eggs was two words I won’t write in print. I know the effect those same hormones had on my body just to retrieve 3 eggs. It was emotionally and physically the most taxing experience of my life. I cannot imagine being driven to repeat the process for that long to create a ” bank “. Not to mention that idea of purchasing drugs from overseas, traveling to a different country, etc. I clicked on the link and read and re-read the article. I just sit here shocked. I cannot even articulate my thoughts at this point. I actually stopped reading Amy’s blogs because I just cannot stomach it. I, like Katy, read some of the comments and felt ill. I have found that in discussing fertility and age people are so quick to lay blame on the woman, ” she should have.. or why didn’t she… “. I am still working on not blaming myself for every little thing I have ever done… I do not need anyone to judge me, lay blame on me or give me their insight. Thank god for Fertile Heart and Julia and the all the woman on this site. I feel like you are the only sane source when it comes to fertility. My support here is unlike anything I have had in my life. I would never judge anyone for their age or personal circumstances-I applaud everyone here for their courage, their vision, and their determination. Katy said it much better than I but I feel the same as she does. Coulda, woulda, shoulda, is the one of the toughest orphans to deal with. So glad to be in the fertile heart community. This just validates why I feel so passionately about Julia’s work and the steps we all take on our journey to meet our babies.

    • You are one powerful, passionate Visionary Mom, Heather! And yes, thank God for being who we are today, which we couldn’t have become had we walked any other road than the one
      we had chosen to walk. Thank you, really looking forward to connecting with you on Monday.

  7. Katy says:

    I read Amy’s latest fertility diary and it was just difficult to digest. I also unfortunately read some of the comments that others left and it was just very hard to read some of the nasty things people said to one another. Some congratulating themselves on conceiving when they “should” and some saying it was Amy’s own fault for waiting until she was perimenopausal.
    It made me think of a dinner I was a few years ago with some friends from long ago. One of them mentioned her sister had just had a miscarriage and then she followed it up with “what did she expect she is 38”. About her sister! I was horrified and not even trying to conceive at the time. She sat there with her 3 children in a way to say..see I did it right.
    The community you have built Julia has been nothing but supportive and I feel we fertile mamas supportive of each other no matter what age, difficulties or differences. I love that you are changing your corner of the world and I sure hope it spreads b/c we all could be more supportive. One of my most favorite things you have ever said (and I am paraphrasing b/c I cant remember exactly) One of the wisest things I ever did was not to get married or conceive until I was ready and not when society said I should. I am sure I messed that up but something close to it!

    • Thank you for this Katy! I am so grateful for the space we’re co-creating here in Fertile Heart land and in our Visionary Circles, and yes, it’s all about support. Sometimes that means strengthening each other to look at some “inconvenient truths” but certainly always about support. And no, you didn’t mess it up, Katy, it was what I said. I would’ve had a disaster of a marriage had I surrendered to the pressures all around me and inside me to do what was expected of me.

  8. This simply brought me to tears… not even Pete Seeger’s words, but your own… and the thought of the things you know, the experience you have, the awareness and seeing of the pain inflicted and endured in a spinning cycle that benefits so few, and only a half a percent of those few are the women / couples in the struggle, but instead are medical “authorities” selling whatever they can to the masses of hopeful.

    The wisdom, hope, and perseverance are beautiful. Thank you!

    • thank you, Ashley! We do need to have a little more conscious, open dialogue about the dark side of these tools along with the appreciation for the good they can do.
      thanks again for engaging so readily as you always do. I very much appreciate it.

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