Leza Lowitz writes about her journey to motherhood in Japan for the Yoga and Healthy Aging community. Read the excerpt below and continue to the full article through the provided link.
The doctor sucks in his breath, folds his hands over his chest. He leans back in his chair and tells me that my eggs are too old, that IVF will probably fail. “I’d like to try anyway,” I say. To my surprise, he flat out refuses. Perhaps this famous Tokyo fertility clinic doesn’t want to add any failures to their high success rate. In America, I think, they’d keep taking your money until you ran out. But here in Tokyo, the doctor says no. And no means no. “Don’t waste your money, time, or energy,” he says, not unkindly. “What are her options?” my Japanese husband asks anyway, catching my dejected look. “She could always try a donor egg,” the doctor says, shuffling papers on his desk and glancing up at the clock. There’s just one problem. Donor eggs are illegal in Japan. After ten years of trying for a child, I know I’m at the end of the road. But I’m not someone who gives up easily. My husband reminds me that walking away from the fight is sometimes a sign of strength, not weakness. The Japanese have a term for it: the nobility of failure. You hold your head high as you walk away from the fight. Throwing down your sword is a way to take back your own power. When one has tried one’s best, “failure” is noble, dignified. I also understand that “failure” is sometimes just a prelude to success. So I hold up my head, try to be dignified. I try to embody the samurai spirit. I tell my husband: Just keep me away from anything sharp.
I get out my yoga mat and I practice. I breathe out the frustration, the disappointment, the pain. I breathe in the dream of our child, our beautiful child. I wonder where he or she is. I had faith that I could conceive naturally, but that didn’t happen. I still feel that my child is out there. I just have to keep searching until I find him. As in many days over the years, I ask myself questions many mothers never consider. Why do I want to be a mother, anyway? I meditate on the answer. I want to experience another kind of love, something beyond what I know or can even imagine. Mother love. I want to experience this kind of earth-shattering, unconditional love of a mother for her child. The oneness. But it wasn’t as if I’d put my life on hold. I’d written some books, opened up a yoga studio in a foreign country. Maybe it was because I’d opened a yoga studio that I’d failed to conceive. If I’d had a child, I’d certainly have been too busy to care for the students who depended on me there. We’d created a community, a family together. We mothered each other. Perhaps my body was protecting itself. Giving birth might have been too risky for me, with my very slow heart rate, which I’d had since birth. I, or the child, might have died in childbirth. The doctor said these things. My mind chatters on and on. I have to stop these endless wanderings. So I sit and close my eyes, focus on my breath. I practice Tonglen, the Tibetan Buddhist practice of “giving and taking.” Tonglen is one of the best methods I know of cracking open the heart. To help get me outside my own “story” and “suffering,” I practice taking away someone else’s pain. I breathe it in and send them the wish for happiness and peace.
Read the full article on the Yoga for Healthy Aging website.