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Julia’s Blog – The Virtues of Being Uncomfortable

By on June 23, 2017

Infertility inspiration-quotes from The Fertile Female by Julia IndichovaAdmittedly. that last blog about Teri Hart’s story and the High Stakes on the Winding Road to Parenthood was not an easy blog for me to write. Still I felt it was a necessary dialogue to initiate.

Thank you, thank you!! for your comments.

A special thank you to those of you who took the time to contribute, even though it was uncomfortable for you to do so.

The fact that the topic of that post makes so many of us uncomfortable is a fine reason to mine for a bit more gold.

Let’s go back to that quote we hear toward the end of Teri’s interview.

“It’s an epidemic… places of business need to understand it differently, families need to understand it differently, friends need to understand it differently…we need to talk about how we’re dealing with it in every aspect of the woman’s life…

In other words, we’re told that as a society we have to do a lot better

This sentiment is a very common one and one that I’ve heard expressed in the last two decades over and over by celebrities and pretty much every person that enters our Woodstock Studio.

I’ve been attempting to shift the conversation a bit through both of my books and on this blog and I’ll do my best to continue to do so right now.

The question I would love for us valiant Visionary Mamas and Papas to ponder is this:

Who is creating this “epidemic?”

And who are these other people that are shaming us and why does it hurt so much?

Teri tells us that her journey had ended five years earlier, but it’s easy to hear in the tone of the interview that this is still a raw subject for her.

Could it be that these inconsiderate others are echoing what we feel about ourselves?

Celebrities have tremendous power to effect change but why is it that for the most part, the story we hear is a story of victimization. When they conceive mostly through IVF, because money is usually not an object, they praise their doctors and the miracle of technology. (See Baby Steps)

If they don’t conceive they often blame the industry or society or feminism that misled them into demeaning motherhood. (See Cracked Open)

These are powerful women.

Six years, as in Teri’s case, is a long time to keep something from your parents and everyone else. You have to be deeply ashamed to live with such secrecy.

That’s where the work must start, inside us.

Why is it that we rarely hear cancer patients voicing their anger publicly or being ashamed or told they’re being brave talking about the heartbreak of cancer? Why is it that we don’t hear mothers of children dying of leukemia, or patients spending their lives hooked up to machines say how angry they are having to go through such hell?

So why us?

The arguments that justify our anger and the sense of feeling betrayed by our bodies—the idea that we are denied something that we perceive comes so easily to everyone else—are many and entirely valid. I hope it’s crystal clear by now that I think of anger and rage as untapped human resources.  I say Yes! to everything that rises up.

Then we’ve got to use it in a way that serves us and affects a shift in collective consciousness.

As much as that Gandhi quote about being the change we want to see in the world has become a staple of the New Age rhetoric, it’s still something that’s tough for us to apply in so many aspects of our personal and collective lives.

I’m not comfortable either going out on a limb or speaking about something in a way that questions politically correct conventional wisdom.

But remaining comfortable is no longer an option for any of us. At least not for those of us who choose to walk the human road with our eyes open for potholes. Making sure we don’t fall into the same one over and over again.

Remaining comfortable is not going to effect change in this potentially exploitative, yes! largely  misunderstood, challenge.

Who feeds the machine of the infertility industrial complex?

Who else but you and I.

Unless of course, we stop, breathe and choose our next step from a well examined place of strength. I agree that arriving at such a place is far from easy.  But the alternative might leave us feeling short-changed years after this  particular journey is over.

I hear Teri’s pain, and her anger. I also hear her calling on society that had not provided  her with the understanding and support she needed going through such a harrowing struggle.

Who makes up the SOCIETY that needs to understand us and this tough but beautiful challenge a whole lot better? Where does the change begin?

Most important: How would this new understanding allow all of us to walk toward our children with far more bounce in our step?

 

 

16 Responses to “Julia’s Blog – The Virtues of Being Uncomfortable”

  1. Hope says:

    Recently, I was told by a colleague that a client who I regularly work with, had an ectopic pregnancy. I’ve been there, done that, got the postcard – and then, very happily, gone on to conceive naturally. I meant to write to her but couldn’t decide whether it was right that I should mention that another colleague had told me what is, really, private medical information. So I never got around to it.
    I then met her at work and had ample opportunity to privately say how sorry I was and encourage her to keep going. I didn’t say anything. I didn’t want to upset her. I didn’t want to feel uncomfortable or, I suppose, bring up and discuss my own personally difficult road to having a child. So I did nothing. I have all this experience and knowledge and I’ve done nothing to help someone who is in all likelihood really struggling.
    Reflecting on your words, I’ve now written to her – and am going to endeavour to be more wise and ‘visionary’ not only in the way I react to difficult thoughts/questions but also my interactions with others on this subject because I agree “places of business need to understand it differently, families need to understand it differently, friends need to understand it differently” but we are the ones who need to effect the change.

    M—-y and L—-, thank you for sharing your story on the call the other week. I didn’t say anything at the time but wanted to say that I really learned something listening to your exchanges with Julia. As Julia suggested, I am trying to look back at the birth of my son to see if there are any issues there for me – I had thought that I was ok with it even though it was quite traumatic. I started to do ‘Womb with a View’, as Julia suggested, but am thinking ‘Cry for Justice’ is more appropriate to examining your child’s birth rather than your own birth?

  2. treasure says:

    I feel I have a come a long way since beginning my journey. I have been thinking about how I didn’t want anyone who I work with to know about my challenges and treatments. As time has gone on and through my fertile heart work I have become much more at ease with my fertility. Since I have stopped blaming myself, I have become more relaxed and able to speak to others and I have been pleasantly surprised by their reactions which makes me think, is it actually because we are uncomfortable, ashamed and self conscious that we communicate this in a way that makes others react the way they do or the way we perceive them to? Is it actually our prickly perceptions and the way we interpret them? Our ‘aura’ isn’t one that makes it easy for them; the tension is there before we even open our mouths.

    This work has had such a positive effect on me I know longer feel blame, shame or uncomfortable about what I’m going through. I feel so at ease – I love it when you say that everything is just as it should be…I repeat this to myself all of the time and find it very calming. I really do feel like a parent to myself!
    I think the change begins with us…we are part of this society, we must be open. By doing this we will help ourselves (internalising can be poisonous for me) and help others to be more understanding.

  3. Chopin says:

    Dear Julia,
    thanks for this post, I felt uncomfortable reading it. Having been through a long journey of Nick’s cancer, I know how uncomfortable topic it was for anyone around us. Yet, you are right, we are not going around talking about how horrifying it was. I feel humble to see that he recovered. The truth is that it is a mystery why he recovered while other didn’t. And we are uncomfortable with mystery. If there is no scientific explanation, we don’t seem to have any control over the facts of life and death. I will say that I was very uncomfortable hearing that the reproductive immunologist whom we made an appointment with next week, charges $2000 for initial consult. First I was very happy to see him, maybe someone will finally tell me why I have elevated NK cells and early pregnancy losses. Instead, I am not sure I want to attend that meeting. I do not think this is a fair price to pay. It makes me really upset. It is not a question of life and death, it’s not about saving a life, and it would be wrong to pay this money even if it was. It is unimaginable for me to pay this much money.

    You also asked me to say what childlike things I got to do since our last call. I remember playing piano and dancing at the same time. Also going to Catskills this weekend and swimming in the river. Across the river we saw a bald eagle in the tree and then he flew over us. It felt reassuring. I was like a kid splashing water, being carried by the current, and later falling asleep in the hamac. I felt suspended in mid air and very peaceful. It felt as though all my NK cells were realigning with the trees around me and it felt so calm. Our friends invited us and later said it was their fortieth wedding anniversary yesterday. Their kids are in their twenties now, so they have older parents. They are wonderful kids, and being with them gave me another glance at how one can be a better parent when more mature. Our friend said that we would make good parents and it brought tears to my eyes. He is right. It felt so right to be there and hear his words of encouragement. People avoid the subject, or simply say: Are you still trying? It is surrounded by lack of control over our life and shame around our lack of control.

    I wish the child in me gets the upper hand in the wrestle with the shame orphan. It is much more fun to be playing with your toes in the hamac than worrying about the cost of your next appointment with an reproductive immunologist. The change in the optics is fundamental and ultimately more healing.

  4. gutsymama says:

    I hate showing I am uncomfortable. It is easier to just ignore it and pretend everything is ok. We need each other in society to help find solutions not beat on a drum about where the problems come and focus on them and list the reasons everything is wrong. It drives me insane listening to women putting down other women who waited till later to have their children. Then society tells us…yes yes don’t wait and or freeze your eggs if you have not found that special someone by 30. It drives a fear that is raging through our society. Why not be a mom in your 40s? Maybe that is where the world is taking us now. Maybe we need more women to be moms in our 40s bc we bring a different view esp if we have been taught work like FH that allows our awareness to come alive in parenting. “We need to be the change we wish to see in the world” my favorite Ghandi quote

  5. LovingMum says:

    ‘Could it be that these inconsiderate others are echoing what we feel about ourselves?’

    That question really brings it to the point for me Julia! Not having a child seems to make us inadequate as a woman. As this is what women do, having children. So we feel there is something wrong with us. Some fault. But foremost we are human beings. Worthy human beings. There is nothing wrong with any of us. We do not have to prove anything, don’t have to deliver any expectation. We are already perfect. And there is nothing that can take that away from us. We need to learn to love ourselves again as that seems to have been lost for many of us somewhere along the way. If we learn to breathe this with every cell of our bodies then no question about our baby journey can be hurtful to us. Maybe this is just the greatest opportunity to learn again before we can meet our children.

  6. LunaLight says:

    Julia, Thank you for this post! So my first thought is – all this shame is a remnant of the Victorian era.. sexual repression, still alive and well in so many societies. It’s considered shameful to talk about sex, reproduction, giving birth – and even breast-feeding causes hysteria in some locations. I long for a society that is more open to the actual life experience, a society that is open to talking about different ways of being, becoming a parent, sex itself, that this is all part of the natural flow of life – part of the ‘sacred being’. Of course, I realise that this is all New Age babble, but I do feel that there is something to be said for this. A society where sensuality of living is important, not one where “results” define us (ie. financial success, how many children one has, how many houses or cars). For some people, it almost seems that children are just a status symbol, not part of being a family.
    So, how can I create a world where I don’t feel ashamed of being someone who is on the scenic route to her second baby? I want to be proud of my journey, my body, my environmentalism, my attempts to live in a low-impact way – doing what feels right for me. So that is perhaps the point: the change I need to make is to actually to be proud of myself, my way of living, enjoying and being bouncy about the latest environmental step I have taken. So it means getting uncomfortable – finding what is important to me, “doing the work” to learn how to be proud of myself, in order to, ultimately, become comfortable with being who I am. So, turning around the perspective – combatting the shame with being (humbly) proud, honouring what I desire and honouring my truth. Not using this journey as another excuse to punish myself because I do not “fit in”. So that is what I am working on now – learning to be myself again, feel what I love, feel what I desire and not to be afraid of desiring and receiving what I desire. So, my FH practice is now to notice small things that I desire & to consciously (and gratefully) receive what I desired.

  7. AnchorMama says:

    Yet another beautiful blog post Julia. Thank you for your dedication to continuing to challenge the way we all think. You are an inspiration. Being uncomfortable and challenging the norm are truly the only way change will happen. We are absolutely the society contributing to the panic and rise in fertility clinics. I am one who followed blindly what my RE said and after too many heartaches and failed treatments the only thing that gave me hope then and continues to give me hope now are your words and the fertile heart circle. It is hard work every single day to hear and recognize my orphans. Usually when I’m feeling comfortable is when my orphans are in full control. The fertile heart work and your teachings push me to challenge myself and discover a better me. Thank you Julia. Your blogs are words I always read more than just once.

  8. butterflyfaith says:

    I find myself falling in to the orphan walk all too often these days, and it’s like I’m trying to be in denial it’s happening. But it’s not. I know what I need to do yet I don’t do it. I see my kids do it all the time because let’s be honest, it is MUCH more fun to watch TV than do your chores. And for me, it is MUCH more fun to bingewatch Netflix or window shop online than to write in my journal and poke at things I would rather leave alone. But my baby steps are working. I’ve been doing imagery each night (but I’m going to be moving it up earlier in my day, possibly in the AM. I find myself getting too sleepy to really work it if I leave it until the last thing). And I’ve been able to tap into the Visionary who reminds me everyone else’s truth is not mine. Those who say all babies born after age 35 will probably be “messed up:” Not something I want to focus on because I know for a fact that is not true. My acupuncturist was upset my RE waited until I had already ovulated (hours before) before doing an IUI. Fact: eggs live 12-24 hours, and next time I can make a plan with my doc to try things earlier. I am working to counter my fears with facts. Even if my fears are fact-based, I do have other facts that are at my service and can be used to calm the panic.

    I’ve been thinking about this question posed in the blog: Where does the change begin? But I’m thinking along the lines of HOW does it begin? I don’t talk about my journey because I don’t want to hear what I know people will say. “You are in your mid-40s and you already have two kids. Just give it up. You’re too old for this. Just enjoy your children.” I’ve heard it over and over again, and it just feeds my orphans. I can’t seem to find enough words to convince people, not just in this journey but in many others. I’ve learned that sometimes, you can’t talk someone into believing what you believe. You show them. You live your reality and through that people see how it works. Actions speak louder than words. So I’m focusing on not just bitching, not just freaking out, not just being all grabby and gross and desperate and angry. I’m going to stop talking and start doing more.

    The one thing I need to do (and I know this because I DREAD it) is get up earlier and spend an hour of just me time. Time to work on myself. I leave that time currently until the very last part of my day. But by then, the last thing I want to do is write or sketch or learn something. I want to veg out and turn my brain over to something else (and this backfires because I love action dramas on TV and those get me all amped up and then I can’t sleep, so then I can’t get up early and waaaaaa). That is my plan next week. At least try 30 minutes of time. I can do that. Heck, I just spent an HOUR researching essential oil diffusers on Amazon. I can take 30 minutes to better my life.

  9. Bel says:

    “Who makes up the SOCIETY that needs to understand us and this tough but beautiful challenge a whole lot better? Where does the change begin?” is the sentence that particularly stands out for me in this thought-provoking blog.

    Well, of course, we all make up that society, when you actually stop and think about it. And it’s not ‘us’ against those ‘others’ we get mad at for not understanding what we’re going through. We’re all in it together. And the change has to begin with each one of us. For me, this means having the courage to both meet my orphans fully, and get to know them and hold them with compassion. And then to have the courage to be open with others about how I’m feeling. The FH work has helped me immensely with the former, although I will confess that I find it hard to speak very openly about this journey and the feelings it has brought up with others, aside from very close friends and immediate family. But if I am not open, how can I expect others to understand what’s going on inside me or anyone else going through a similar challenge?

    I’m not sure if it’s entirely shame that stops me from speaking out, or more that while I’m in the midst of this journey it feels too raw and tender to want to be exposed to more than a handful of people whom I trust completely. I hope that someday, whatever the outcome of this journey, I will be able to be more open, though. It is clear to me that being open about the difficulties we face in life is such a gift to give to society. Recently, over here in the UK, Prince Harry was very open about the mental health issues he had after losing his mother at such a young age and under such tragic circumstances, and I think his openness has immensely helped to reduce the stigma attached to mental health issues.

    I feel that all too often we hide the messy and challenging parts of our experience from others and prefer to put our happy, shiny face out there that expose only the so-called ‘positive’ aspects of our lives, as if anything else were too shameful or ‘negative’. Social media doesn’t, typically, help either. But it clearly is so healing to both meet the orphaned parts of ourselves with great compassion and to, ultimately (although not necessarily in the heat of the challenge, perhaps), be able to reveal those parts to others, so we all stop living in this illusion we have created. And then we can understand so much better the truth of what others are experiencing in their lives.

  10. Gravid Sans Doute says:

    Dear Fertile Mamas,

    I guess change makes us uncomfortable and I guess things not changing means things will be the same for the baby journey. So I guess uncomfortable it is.

    Barbandbabe great for opening up and ALinAL yay for the visionary. butterflyfaith so you are uncomfortable being at peace and EggyJane – That’s great to stop labeling discomfort as bad. Liberated Mama that’s great – unconditional love for ourselves.

    I have been working with Child’s Play Fertile Heart body truth add Tree of Faith and Surrender Fertile Heart imagery. I did the exercise of receiving my husband twice. That was uncomfortable for me but great because he really was present for it and so was I. The second time we did it (we did it the same amount of time both times – not very long because I didn’t dare ask) when we were done he said “Already?” How sweet!

    Blessings to all.

  11. Liberated Mama says:

    Dear Julia. As you know I am finding my way back to making the practice a daily ritual for me having had breaks. I am inclined to assume new names for my comments to make me more free in my expression. This is the name that has come to me many days ago but this is my first time using it. It is almost a turning point for me to realize the freedom of choice I have in how I become a mother. I will leave this at that. I am sure I will continue to discover more about why I want to become a mother and how, throughout my life and my answer may change and that’s fine. In one of our calls, you asked a beautiful mama on the bench ‘why do you want to become a mother?’. The first answer that came to me was – ‘I want to experience unconditional love’ – meaning i want to be giving unconditional love to someone. It is not easy to begin with myself but I think that is exactly what I need to do. Of course this doesn’t mean the selfish love but the compassionate motherly love whose source is the UM.

    I have read this blog at least a couple of times so far. What an important topic this is!

    Today only thing I am going to say is – without discomfort, growth is impossible. Not every discomfort will lead to growth, of course. But discomfort is almost necessary part of growth. Taking risks is part of life and without taking risks and going out of one’s comfort zone, even if it is dipping my toe in the water, I would not grow into the next visionary self. So I welcome the chance of growth and accept that discomfort is not necessarily a bad thing.

    Having difficult conversations with my partner is not comfortable for me by any stretch of imagination and I tend to do everything in my power to avoid it. Today doing the Tree of faith and surrender is my refuge.

    Thank you all. Looking forward to hearing more from you all.

    • Liberated Mama says:

      I realized that writing a comment here in itself is healing for me almost every time I do it. In my earlier comment I mentioned the word “ritual” and it struck me after it was posted that – that is not the word that I want to think of. I want to view this practice as a creative activity so that I can be receptive and open. So that is what I am working on. I have kept up with the Tree of faith and surrender imagery with some gaps but it has been healing. It has surprised me in invoking different images on different times such as – beginning to notice the fragrant fresh air in the forest and drawing a parallel totally unexpected between the tree of faith and surrender and my own ancestry and spiritual inheritance that I am oh so fortunate to have been born into.

      Also – I am grateful to read the comments on this blog. Look forward to connecting on Monday!

  12. EggyJane says:

    To the question of “Who is creating this epidemic?”…

    It was interesting reading this post on the heels of a discussion at my job of this article about white supremacy culture: http://www.dismantlingracism.org/uploads/4/3/5/7/43579015/okun_-_white_sup_culture.pdf. The article (which has been incredibly powerful for me as a white woman engaged in social and racial justice work) lists characteristics of white supremacy culture and how they play out, as well as antidotes. It’s focused on thinking about how these characteristics show up in organizations and how they can stand in the way of racial justice, but I found that a lot of them resonated personally and provided an interesting lens to think about the ways in which we frame/talk about (or don’t talk about) fertility challenges. There are threads running through – the devaluing of emotion, a focus on inadequacies or failure, fear of conflict and discomfort, individualism and isolation. Because this is the culture that many of us are raised in, and these things are considered “right,” many are internalized without question. And not only does this culture shape us both as individuals and collectively, but we perpetuate and reinforce the culture via our actions, which are in some ways unconscious. Before we can disrupt these patterns, we have to recognize that they exist and understand how and why they’re destructive. So in that sense, for me, there’s a both/and here. The culture creates us, and we in turn reinforce and recreate the culture. That affects the kinds of messages we convey to ourselves, as well as the messages we’re getting from “outside.”

    And disruption is uncomfortable, whether we’re disrupting our own patterns or larger societal narratives or norms. But it’s where learning and growth happens. For my part, I’m trying to stop labeling discomfort (and, for that matter, a whole range of emotions) as being “bad.” That label enforces that discomfort is something to avoid, which can leave us further stuck in the myriad ways described in the post.

  13. butterflyfaith says:

    I’m so grateful for this challenge, and really pissed off about it too. I really don’t want to work on this, because I know I need to. And it’s hard. I mean HARD. I don’t like being uncomfortable, but like ALinAL says, I too have spent most of my life being uncomfortable and just not dealing with it. I have gotten too comfortable with feelings of anxiety and bitterness, anger and pain, sadness and grief, apprehension and fear. It now feels abnormal not to bathe in these. It feels dishonest and disingenuous to entertain more favorable scenarios. I know that’s messed up and needs to be changed. So when it’s uncomfortable for me to envision a happy ending or a better outcome, I need to see that this is PROGRESS. Feeling uncomfortable means I’m on the right path.

    On the call tonight, we were challenged to do something that makes us uncomfortable, and I was also invited to take one visionary-rooted action that validates my worth. That makes me SO uncomfortable because I don’t really know off the top of my head what that should be, or if there even is anything out there. Orphan alert! In yoga, teachers tell us that the poses we dislike/avoid the most are the ones we need to be doing more of because they are what we need even if we don’t want them. So by that test, challenging the uncomfortable situations, even if I hate it, is exactly what I need right now.

  14. ALinAL says:

    For my entire life I’ve hated being uncomfortable. What’s funny, looking back, is that I think I’ve been uncomfortable for most of my life — uncomfortable with how I look, uncomfortable about my family life, uncomfortable about speaking my truth, uncomfortable about my struggles. This discomfort has led to anxiety and panic disorder and I believe it is what is leading to my fertility issues. In the current visionary moms club series, we are working on taking a crisis and seeing it as an opportunity and this resonates for me when it comes to feeling uncomfortable. With each lab test that comes back — some normal, some not so normal — I am forced to take stock of my life and understand what orphans are begging to be healed. I have lots of work to do but it is such a profound opportunity for healing. I am grateful everyday for this work and see it as a responsibility to look at the discomfort head on and become the next version of myself.

  15. Barbandbabe says:

    I’m learning so much Julia from your books, which I love and from doing the FH practice, but I’m also learning from the way you keep pressing on with what you feel is important. It’s great for me to have you as a role model right now because as a project manager in my work I’m dealing with issues of power struggle and I have to do the right thing even if it makes me unpopular with my coworkers. So I really get your idea of the virtues of being uncomfortable. The work definitely has to start inside us. Since doing this practice I have opened up to people in my life about what I’m going through and I was able to do it because I’m really getting it that this is as you say, an opportunity like no other and nothing to feel ashamed of. So far everyone I shared this with has been incredibly loving and supportifve. I think it has to do with how I feel about what I’m going through now and who I chose to share things with. I still get disappointed but something is changing for me. I can’t quite put it into words but it’s a real deep change, which is something I couldn’t have imagined a few months ago.



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