Julia’s Blog:What Tony Kushner Taught Me About Miscarriages & About Being Fertile

By on July 17, 2015

The power of a single sentence

A single sentence, an idea, if we can hear it in all its splendor, can illuminate with meaning the darker days of our lives.

Three years ago I was lucky enough to attend a gathering honoring playwright/screenwriter Tony Kushner.  It was the week before the release of Lincoln, the film directed by Steven Spielberg for which Kushner wrote the screenplay. (Great movie by the way, if you haven’t seen it.)

At some point during the Q & A, talking about the iconic president, Kushner said: One of the  attributes that made Abraham Lincoln so extraordinary was his great capacity for grieving.

What a stunning way to put it, I thought.Tony Kushner Julia Indichova

In the past I’ve often heard myself tell clients who were  grieving over failed IVF’s and miscarriages that as deeply as I grieved with them, I also held on for dear life to a hope-filled view of their burdens.

The reason and story we choose

Not is some placating—everything happens for a reason—kind of way.

What I have attempted to transmit to these broken-hearted moms is my faith that each of these brief lives had a purpose for showing up. And for leaving far too soon.

Each one, I would say to them,  opened your heart a little wider, enlarged your capacity for sorrow and for joy.

That is one of the stories we can choose to live.

We can choose countless other stories but for me, this is the one that can carry us through the swamp of suffering onto the firm ground of the next beginning.

The events we experience as fracturing failures, can be, if we make them so, building blocks of the human parents we—at the floor of our souls—yearn to become.

Tony Kushner was right. The capacity to fully grieve makes us extraordinary. At this juncture of the evolution of our species, that’s what our children need from us.

They need us to be extraordinary.

Oh, to be extraordinary

To enlarge our capacity to grieve and to rejoice. To enlarge our capacity to think, to act and to imagine. To be ready for the bittersweet sorrow of scraped knees and the delights of squealing roller coaster rides.

To rise to the challenge of being the most extraordinary valiant fully human mamas and papas our children need us to be!

How about this question: Has this journey and hopefully the Fertile Heart OVUM practice, enlarged in you a particular human attribute?

Fertile Heart OVUM

22 Responses to “Julia’s Blog:What Tony Kushner Taught Me About Miscarriages & About Being Fertile”

  1. MiraculousLife says:

    Oops i missed a lot past this week.

    Has this journey and hopefully the Fertile Heart OVUM practice, enlarged in you a particular human attribute?

    Yes Julia !! Lots of human attributes. But I guess the biggest one that instantly came up was – to let myself feel every emotion and not tagging it as positive or negative. Not forcing myself to be “THE GOOD GIRL S”. Allowing to feel my jealously, sadness, bitterness and many more hard feelings. Allowing myself to acknowledge feelings of being ashamed, guilty, judgmental, ruthless but at the same time understanding how not to validate those orphan rooted feelings.
    For the first time in my life, I started supporting myself (still a long way to go, but this is a huge improvement).
    Tapping into hidden, inside feelings is altogether is a life changing. The amount of fear I had towards pregnancy and many difficult feelings like work was more important than my child etc were feelings that I buried deep inside myself.
    This journey has opened up so many avenues of my life both personally and professionally.
    Giving my faith and allowing myself let go of control, that chess master orphan is the biggest thing. This is a life long thing that needs practice and I can never say I got it right, but at least I realized it, that itself calls for a celebration :)
    I guess I will keep on going…….Thank you GOD for showing me the right path and the right teacher and guide of my life ….Julia and her beautiful invention the OVUM tools :)

  2. Pineapple says:

    I found last night’s conference deeply moving, as I listened to those who are at a crossroads in their journey I felt humbled by their honesty and vulnerability but I left the call puzzled. I don’t know exactly where I am at in my journey right now. I’m asking myself if I still want a second child but a part of me feels like I’m forcing a crossroads because its so difficult to find the motivation to keep going. This is the heart of grief. The storm after the quiet; the mess that’s left and the impossible task of where to start the clean up. It seems easier to tell myself I think I no longer want this anymore. But – I can’t believe that because it comes with a sense of numbness. My UM is very clear in reminding me that regret is more difficult to live with. Early in my journey I could see a child, feel it, play with it, nurture it – now I can’t see a child. I can’t imagine it. This dim once vibrant vision is like a flame burning to its wick end. A little over 2 years ago I sat with a women whilst we had our intra lipids, she was in her 30’s and no children. She’d had 7 miscarriages. I’d had 2 at that point. She told me she’d gotten use to it and she recognised that as a sad fact. Here I am, finding myself right there where she was. Six times over I’ve imagined, hoped, dreamt, and 6 times over I’ve been crushed. Is this a natural turning point, or is this grief playing trickster. It all gets a little boring too. The end of last week I received the results of a comprehensive stool analysis and they’d found a parasite. So yet again – more research. Now this research does lead me to believe it could be linked to the imbalanced immunity & NK cells but its horrendously difficult to get rid of, so yet again more expense on private consultants and more research to find those consultants capable of dealing with it properly. There will be an orphan here who needs attention. She is probably burning with frustration because she is not recognised fully yet and her truth is not being heard. I think she is called ‘fear’, she is scared that if I still keep going its not going to make any difference but that if I keep going she will not have the simple life she craves.

  3. RightHereRightNow says:

    Hi Everyone!
    Another beautiful blog, Julia. Thank you. For me, what you have written is an important reminder of how much I have healed and how much I have grown since beginning the Fertile Heart OVUM practice. I have come so far and it’s exciting to see where this wonderful journey has taken me and will continue to take me.
    This practice has enlarged my capacity for forgiveness, for others but mostly for myself. Old habits can be hard to break, and I now rarely blame myself for not yet becoming pregnant. The blame used to be an everyday occurrence, but the blame has been replaced with forgiveness. I didn’t need to forgive myself for what I have physically done (ie. not eating properly, not exercising, etc.), but what I needed to forgive was the blaming of myself that I was doing. Not sure if I’m making sense here, but anyways…
    I don’t think that forgiveness lives alone; it resides in our hearts along with love and kindness. These three attributes have a synergistic effect, one that is very soothing and tremendously healing.
    Thank you! Sending love to you all <3

  4. Lori says:

    This journey for sure has increased my capacity of many emotions. Compassion is the one that has grown the most. I look at people and their situations through different eyes now; seeing their orphans more clearly. I understand so many of us (even those who are not on the fertility journey) carry so much of their family’s hurt and don’t know how to identify and care for those orphans. It stirs deep compassion in myself.

    Also, I truly find myself finding comfort and enjoyment in as many moments as I can. From the social gatherings of friends and family to even the mundane looking out the window in the morning to check the weather. Each moment I tell myself “This is the moment you’re in. Appreciate what it is & what it can be for you.” This has helped me increase my capacity for happiness and contentment.

    As for grief, I still struggle with that one. Though I have never suffered a miscarriage, I do grieve the loss of possibility every day that I get older and older and stay alone. This grief too, is misunderstood or dismissed by many.

  5. Gravid Sans Doute says:

    Dear Julia and all the wonderfully fertile mommas,

    Has this journey and OVUM practice enlarged a particular human attribute for me? I would have to say that being my own mother was completely foreign to me before this practice. When my mother was living, she was my mother and some things that she did I liked/made me feel better, and others not. Sometimes even recognizing what my feelings are is challenging. Sometimes I go to mad, sad, glad or scared like my daughter is supposed to use if I can’t find my way. Any then, once I know my feeling, unless it is glad, how do I mother that orphan? How do I comfort her? How do I comfort my husband, daughter or anyone else with those feelings. Thank you so much Julia, for showing a way to look and and help those feelings.

    Kyra- so wonderful to hear you on the call. I know grieving is never far from your heart and I send hugs.

    I appreciate so much the call. I am choosing Elbows First Fertile Heart body truth and Mirror of Truth Fertile Heart imagery. The sleep topic really hit a chord with me. I particularly liked when you said, Julia, that there would be a tantrum. I did not get to bed asleep by 11 – it was 11:10. I feel like the sleep thing is really important because I’ve been receiving lots of messages from he Ultimate Mom about sleep. I’m finally back going to the neurofeedback person about sleep. Unfortunately the wife was in a terrible car wreck so the office was not available for a while.

    The control issue didn’t seem as big in the call, but when I’m thinking about it it probably is – why am I afraid of others controlling? My dad was really controlling when I was growing up (much better later – fear driven I’m suspecting). More recently I became friends with someone who has a similar emotional issue to my daughter. We became very close – She wanted to do anything for me and I just went along -it sort of got controlling, but I stood up for myself sometimes. Then one day because (I’m suspecting) of her emotional challenges amplifying some challenges with people we were mutually working with a lot of the time, she one day said she would not be seeing me any more. (Because I was trying not to take sides and doing what I thought was truly best to do but being unable to share why all the time) Anyway, I was shocked by this. This person is now a friend. I kept trying to be there for her. She’s moved away though still in contact. I feel compassion because of her emotional challenges. Now my daughter, because of emotional challenges, wants to control. Her being in control is not a good thing. So my husband and I spend a lot of time and energy trying to keep that from happening. I wish it were not the case to have to expend that kind of energy that way, but it is. My husband is somewhat passive by nature and he’s trying to move more into an alpha male role for the sake of my daughter. I appreciate so much his efforts.

    Blessings to all.

    • pineapple says:

      The sleep one is a big one. Sometimes we forget how non sleep conducive our lives are. On my vacation one night I spent 11 hours in bed – that is unheard of for me. I did wake now and then but straight back to sleep. Why was I able to do this? I’m guessing a crock full of different things – it was a day my husband had returned home so I had the whole bed to myself with no alarm going off in the morning, I had no mail coming through the door, no child to sort out (we were on holiday so frankly if he wanted to get up and watch TV I didn’t care), no e-mail, no internet distractions, no diary to look at, no friends texting, no appointments, no food to plan (very much ‘what ever’) and no monitoring (scrapped for the holiday) – nothing to think about, I simply had to eat, walk and talk. I am in need of simplicity for sure.

      I’d be interested to know more about the daughter with emotional issues. How old she is and how the controlling manifests itself?

  6. Nina says:

    How do I describe my grief? It is so hard to grieve someone that no one else knew. To grieve my child that I have never met. But I knew my child, my children, from my three miscarriages. My first was going to be the first grandchild for my husband’s mom, the one who would be watched by all 10 of us at every family event. The one who would smile and clap and we would all stare in wonder. My second child had a rougher start, from the very beginning we knew it didn’t have a great chance and worried about an ectopic pregnancy, but we still had hope for our second. It would be different from the first, it would defy the odds it would be our ‘miracle’ baby. Our baby who we could tell the story over and over about how no one thought you would survive, but you did! My third, my third, was the hardest. This was my baby, I ovulated and conceived on my own without doctors intervention. I KNEW I had ovulated. I KNEW I was pregnant. I would go to sleep thinking “I am a mother” with visions of this baby in my mind, curled up with his head in my neck. Any activity or thing I did, I would think “baby’s first hike, baby’s first public speaking”. But no one else knows these memories. I cant sit with friends and reminisce about the time my baby made me so tired I had to sleep on the couch at work before I could walk home. Or the time we were sitting on the floor and my dog laid his head on my lap and looked at me like he understood I was carrying his new playmate. There is no memorial service where my friends can show up and tell me how they love me and my child and not only could I feel their love, but I could see it. The miscarriage of my children is a miscarriage of hope and joy and the future and It is hard to believe that my next pregnancy will be different, but I do. I know it has to be because my three children were so different. And my fourth will still bring hope and joy and amazing list of firsts. And with each pregnancy, I am different. I grow and change and believe that I can be the mom I want to be. That I can have a happy baby and a happy marriage. I have become more patient then I ever thought I could be. I am less worried about who this child becomes and what they will do, and more focused on enjoying them for just being. I am learning about myself and my hopes and fears and dreams and how they make me who I am. My husband and I talk more openly about what parenthood means to us. My husband has shown me during my grieving process how loving and caring he can be. My three miscarriages have made us a family and made me a mother.

    • Openhearted says:

      Nina your post hit home with me. I feel like I could have put myself in your shoes as I go back through my own misscarriages. Beautiful post!

    • Nina. This is beautiful. The grief that nobody else understands. That you’re expected to swallow, as if it never happened. I understand. And I feel your grief. Sending you a hug.

      • MiraculousLife says:

        Your post had so much depth and was so moving, filled my eyes with tears. This must have been so painful and to act as if nothinng happened and move on is such a dumb thing. I guess even though I had no conception experience to date, it might still be okay for me to link all my past 6 IUIs and 2 IVFs and how the failure made me feel. The logical conclusion from the world was, its okay, don’t get stuck at that point, move on .Unfortunately this has been the culture embedded into every aspect of our life. Grieving fully was never allowed. In fact I guess it is seen as a weakness :(
        Glad we have awareness as to what is strength vs weakness, what is right vs wrong.

    • Julia-FertileHeart says:

      I’m working on a new resource about miscarriages, so I’m re-reading this post and the beautiful comments. Nina is a mom of a little girl and a little boy. Both conceived the old fashioned way not long after this post. If you scroll down this page, you’ll find a pix of her and her baby girl.

  7. gutsymama says:

    I think the practice has really helped me see and feel compassion much more deeply. I think being able to step back and see that alot of orphan behavior is coming from sadness or hurt or even unawareness. I am still working on see when my orphans appear. I feel like that is becoming more evident to me as well. Being able to see my orphans and others allows me to step back and hopefully heal and come from a more visionary place. I am grateful for that!

  8. Dearest 12 year old T. Here is what is unique about my genetic composition (I try very hard not to say what’s wrong with me). I make lots of eggs when the doctor gives me injections to make them grow. Like a lot. Sometimes 20+. Which is unusual for my age. (They have to give me injections because I don’t ovulate regularly on my own. My eggs start to grow and then turn into cysts because I don’t have enough oomph for them to ovulate.) And we usually get lots of good embryos. Or at least they look good. There is no way to tell really whether they are genetically normal.

    But here’s the thing T. I miscarry. A lot. Five times so far. They think it has to do with natural killer cells that reject my babies like an organ transplant gone wrong and blood clotting factors that don’t give them good blood flow when they are trying to implant inside of me. They’ve given me IV infusions, anti-inflammatory drugs, and blood thinners that make me bruise. But we are still working on it. Sometimes I I don’t believe any of this stuff and think it’s just my old (but plentiful eggs).

    And sometimes T I don’t believe ANY of it. There are days when I think that the reasons I haven’t held a full term pregnancy are in my head and my heart. I’m scared I’ll lose control of my life, the baby will take over and ruin my body and my career, I feel like I still have a lot of repressed feelings that go back to high school (little older than you T), I’m afraid nobody will help me, etc, etc. All these orphans that try to pull me into a reality where I believe I’m not ready and can’t do this. But my visionary (there are these people that live inside of me) hurts so much and wants this so bad. And knows that she is strong and determined and will figure it all out, just like she has everything else in her whole life.

    So I hope that all makes sense to you T. I know it’s a lot to process. In writing it all out, it makes it a little easier to see what’s going on and to realize that holding onto all of this is very heavy and I want to just let it all go. Quick line from one of my favorite U2 songs that this makes me think of “I can’t keep holding on to what you’ve got, when all you’ve got is hurt.”

  9. Ruth Hegarty says:

    For me this journey (& most particularly Fertile Heart) has opened me up to the seemingly contradictory emotions that coexist in almost everything. This can awaken a tremendous capacity for compassion, though this isn’t easy. On this truthful path you start to recognize all that you are feeling, and all that you are trying your very best not to feel.

    Thank you for this post Julia, it was perfect for me tonight!

  10. pineapple says:

    Oh my! That is so splendid a statement. I have taken time to consider my grief plenty but to hear how extraordinary this makes me is compelling in itself. This time last year I met a woman on a beach, our son’s played at crabbing and we chatted. It is a very memorable moment for me because she revealed how she had been devastated by a miscarriage and that she has put on an entire one woman performance piece to help her grieve. I told her I had 5 such losses and she was absolutely gob smacked. How had I grieved, how had I moved myself through the thick forest of emotions? I hadn’t put on a show, I barely told anyone about these tragic loses. But – she told me how strong a person I must be and how she didn’t think she could have kept going like I had. You know – I am. I’m a rock – that my son, my husband and my kinship, and circle of friends can rely on. And my loyalty is forever true and genuine, never a hidden agenda. And I’m still growing – thankfully!

    • RightHereRightNow says:

      Pineapple, that’s wonderful that you have been able to consider your grief so fully. It’s something that we rarely do; we bury it and then it comes back to haunt us.
      As Elizabeth Lesser points out in her book Broken Open, “…grief is a tonic. It is a healing elixir made of tears that lubricate the heart…Grief is the proof of our love, a demonstration of how deeply we have allowed each other to touch us.”
      You are extraordinary. And if you ever need rock, I’m here for you; we all are. :)

  11. Gutsymama says:

    I think this work has really helped me enlarge my capacity for compassion. I think being able to recognize when I see myself or even others acting out in orphan behaviors – and although I have not mastered this yet I think I am definitely improving on when I see someone acting out in orphan behavior and being able to see where that hurt or sadness maybe coming from and feel a depth of compassion for that person (or even myself). That is something this work has awakened within me.

    • RightHereRightNow says:

      Hi Gutsymama. I agree with you. I feel a heightened sense of awareness, especially to orphan-rooted actions. (I’m still working on identifying orphan rooted behaviours, but it does seem to get easier with more practice.)

  12. Heather says:

    I think being on this fertility journey has helped me to become more open minded. When I started down this path, my hard limits were so deeply ingrained, it was always , ” I would never do____, I would never consider ______”. After working with FH and interacting with so many different women on this same road, I became more open to possibilities and paths that I would otherwise never have gone on. It also made me appreciate what is possible, and it opened up my soul and helped me become deeply appreciative of what I can do to help myself without waiting to be rescued.

    • RightHereRightNow says:

      Yes, Heather, the range of possibilities with this practice has been staggering! I too, feel that I am open to so much more than I ever could have imagined. It’s a special, wonderful, comforting feeling.

  13. RaeSF says:

    Oh wow! This idea of feeling more has been the topic of many of my conversations this week. As a result of this journey towards our baby, I don’t feel happier, but I feel an expanded range of emotion, and I feel fuller and more alive. And, in addition to feeling sadness more deeply and joy more fully, I think the practice has allowed for more compassion in my life…towards myself and others…and an expanded version of the feeling of love.

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