Besides being specific and practical, the techniques nurture a deep trust in oneself and one’s body. Many women in the course of trying to conceive have lost that, if they ever had it. They feel helpless and powerless, to put it mildly, especially when handed medical diagnoses imbued with defeating language: incompetent cervix, premature ovarian failure, advanced maternal age, hostile mucus. These are not words to empower.
“There is a palpable desperation when you want to get pregnant and can’t,” says Mariann Durkin, who attended a workshop at Indichova’s Fertile Heart studio after a dozen years of trying to get pregnant. “It’s a want beyond anything. The desperation drives you. You go places you don’t think you would go.” She says it was wonderful at the workshop to be among women who felt the same. “We all had that common thread—that deep ache, as I call it.”
Durkin heard about the workshop some months earlier from a friend. “I had just turned 40. Biologically, I felt my opportunity was waning. I was really in this zone, saying to myself, I’m either going to give this [getting pregnant] one more shot, or get on with my life.” Durkin started researching Indichova’s approach. “I got her book, logged onto her website, read things that different people had written.” Durkin found she was already doing a lot of things “right,” by Indichova’s reckoning, to prepare herself for a healthy pregnancy, and no medical test had ever uncovered a reason she couldn’t get pregnant.
Durkin then arranged a consultation with Indichova in person. “The shift happened when I spoke to her in the spring,” Durkin recalls. “I liked Julia energetically; she was very open to listening. She posed a lot of questions, and I really thought about them.” Durkin considered trying in vitro, but realized she just couldn’t “commit to that level of medical intervention, of drugs in my body, stress on my marriage, and the financial burden.” Instead, a few months later, she went to Indichova’s workshop. There she learned, among other things, to trust her body.
“I had always felt as though my body was letting me down,” Durkin says. “Why couldn’t it just work like normal? The guided imagery with the CD was really helpful to shift me into a more gentle place, accepting that this is the body that I have, it’s a healthy body, and it just may not ovulate every 30 days. For the first time, I listened my body at a deep level, as a close friend. It was very powerful.” Her body gave her a healthy baby; the timing indicates she had conceived between her consultation with Julia and the workshop.
How do you spell ovum?
Indichova sees each of us as a delicious mixture of flesh, intellect, mystery, and passion, all ignited with currents of energy—something she calls the Holy Human Loaf. Fertility is influenced by all its ingredients, not just the biological ones. “What’s totally fascinating to me,” she says, “is when psychiatrists and psychologists come to the workshops. Their work is about how important it is to know ourselves, and about the heart. But when we talk about the idea of the Holy Human Loaf—how every morsel of that loaf plays a role [in biology and fertility]—on a practical experiential level, even for them it’s new.”
Indichova speaks of three aspects we each carry in our hearts that contribute to the loaf: the orphan(s), the visionary, and the ultimate mom. Serendipitously, the first letters of each word—o from orphan, v from visionary, and um from ultimate mom—together spell ovum. “That is certainly not something I manipulated!” says Indichova in wonderment. Through her exercises, especially in meditation, imagery, and dreamwork, these aspects can become as allies for fertility. How?
Using orphans as an example, Indichova explains. “The orphans are the parts of us that are terrified of all kinds of things. They have been wounded in various battles and still have shrapnel lodged in the body that we don’t know about. Longing for a child comes from such a deep place that it’s also the place where all these forgotten orphans lie. So they get stirred up.” For many women, orphans that need attention seem to be blocking pregnancy. One of Indichova’s goals is to help women, as she herself learned, to be skillful at recognizing those orphans and taking care of them in a loving fashion so they don’t impede the fertility journey.