Julia Indichova offers hope and inspiration to families with her story of infertility
Photographs by Tom Moore
Julia Indichova could never have imagined that her own personal struggle with infertility would land her on Oprah and Good Morning America, not to mention attract the attention of hundreds of couples around the world. But the author of Inconceivable (Three Rivers Press, 2001), a memoir detailing her infertility experiences, and the follow-up book, The Fertile Female (Adell Press, 2007), clearly struck a chord with the public. While Indichova’s story — a medical diagnosis of infertility — is common to many, her approach to doing something about it is unique.
After meeting her husband in Manhattan and having a baby in 1990 at almost 40 years old, she wanted to have a second child two years later. But she was unable to conceive. Tests found a hormonal imbalance linked to infertility. “That first doctor basically just told me, ‘Sorry, it looks like you can’t have a baby. I can’t help you. Goodbye.’ ” She met with several other doctors who recommended that she either try to conceive by artificial means or else consider adoption.
Indichova, an émigré from the former Czechoslovakia with an MA in teaching English, spent a year seeking more advice and “looking for saviors” — from reproductive endocrinologists to experts in alternative treatments such as acupuncture and other nontraditional healing modalities.
Then she had an epiphany.
“I instinctively sensed all along that going the standard medical route, trying all kinds of injections and hormones, or getting egg donations, wasn’t right for me. And my husband and I weren’t ready for adoption at that point,” she says.
“I realized I was looking outside of myself for answers, and that everybody was telling me things I didn’t really feel were true for me. I knew it was up to me to ‘go inside’ and listen to the inner wisdom that we all have and explore what infertility was trying to tell me.”
She also did intensive research on infertility. “Then I translated that information into terms I could relate to and concluded that my body was for some reason ‘wilting’ and didn’t have enough energy to get pregnant.”
Indichova began a regimen of healthy eating and exercise, coupled with self-nurturing. After an eight-month period of intense inner self-examination, she conceived naturally and gave birth to a second daughter. That’s when she started writing about it in earnest and holding informal women’s circles in her family’s Manhattan apartment, shaping a program based on the processes that had supported her.
“About seven or eight people came to the first workshop, and five or so eventually became pregnant,” she says. As interest grew, Indichova moved the sessions to larger venues. “People started traveling from other places to attend, and we wanted a beautiful location for them to come for the weekend, not just a meeting room with folding chairs.”
In 2001, the couple moved to the Woodstock area and Indichova launched her multi-faceted Fertile Heart Ovum mind-body program. Participants can attend one-day, in-person sessions or take part in online teleconferences. Clients dial in from as far away as Japan and New Zealand.
“I’m not trying to convince women not to try the medical route,” she says. But she also cautions against getting caught up in the potentially expensive “infertility industrial complex” without first also exploring other personal factors, including health habits and emotions.
“People start this process because they want to have a baby. But it’s not like going to a clinic. It’s not about statistics and ‘odds’ of getting pregnant. Many couples do conceive; others decide they want to adopt. And others come to an acceptance that there may not be a baby in their future. Regardless of the physical outcome, it’s a creative process for people — of ultimately birthing their true selves and learning to live more fully.”