Today’s post is going to be super practical. I’m sharing six simple infertility activities couples or individuals can occupy themselves with when the journey gets rough.
Create a photo book/scrapbook of a past season of life
Over the past year, I’ve spent quite a bit of time organizing photos and creating photo books of my college years, Kurtis’ and I’s dating/engagement season, our honeymoon, and years 1-4 of marriage. To look back at all the Lord has done and how he carried us through; the friendships he’s blessed us with, the memories we’ve already made, is incredibly healing. (The act of being grateful is always healing.) Also, when in the midst of a messy, undone season, it’s encouraging to look back on a season that is finished, to see God’s hand through beginning to end.
Adopt a pet
I realize this isn’t a feasible infertility activity for everyone, and truthfully I didn’t see us taking on the responsibility for a pet so soon. But after an incredibly difficult week in October, I reached a breaking point. I sent Kurtis links to several dogs at local shelters and was basically like, “Pick one, because we’re getting a dog this week.”
Podrick has turned our hearts upside down for the better, and while our house may be a little dirtier than before, it’s totally worth it. It’s been good for Kurtis and I to work together as a team for Podrick, train him, and take care of him. Also he’s very handsome. So handsome, right? He’s my little buddy, and he’s been a balm to my soul.
What do I mean by touchstones? I mean anything that can bring your focus back to the Lord and his faithfulness, and your hopes for the future. It will look different for different people. For me, I’ve created a hope wall, integrating two important symbols for one theme: hope and anchors.
I have a “hope” box with the notes and cards people have sent us throughout this journey, an ornament and a onesie. I also have a journal that I started this year that will be for my future child. Each week I jot down a short entry. I have special playlist on my phone called “Trust” because God has used each of the songs on there to encourage me at different points throughout the last three years and remind me where I’ve placed my trust.
Keep in mind I didn’t do all of these infertility activities after one year of trying. I’ve been slow to accumulate that which is truly meaningful on this journey. As the spirit has led me, I’ve put together these items. So I would encourage you to do the same: follow the spirit’s guidance, not because there’s pressure to do or buy something.
One of the most important infertility activities you can do is seek community. I hope that you have a circle of support with friends walking the same journey. Whether through online support groups or with friends you see on a weekly basis, community is SO IMPORTANT. Infertility is incredibly isolating and unchecked, can foster feelings of jealousy, bitterness, inferiority, and depression. But when buoyed by healthful loving community, these dark specters aren’t as likely to stick around.
If you don’t have community, start by asking your pastor or small group leader if they know of other couples who are struggling with infertility. It may also be time to open up about your own struggles, because that in turn gives others encouragement to do the same, and you might find some unlikely friends on your journey.
Develop creative outlets
Whether it’s gardening, painting, cooking, knitting, selling a product, or starting a business, begin to explore some creative ventures you can invest yourself in. In this season of not being able to get pregnant and bear life, it’s been healing to still produce through my work as a writer (and previously as a dance teacher). I’ve always had some creative outlet, whether it be dance or writing, and they’ve been a lifeline to remind myself that I am not barren. Beautiful words and projects have been conceived in me and I’ve given birth to some of them, and others are not yet due. It may not be the fruit that I want to be bearing right now, but it is the fruit God has allowed me to bear, and I have to believe that’s for good reason.
At the end of the day, it may be in your best interest to seek professional counseling. A counselor can provide insight and direction for your thoughts without the bias of knowing you, competing with you, or getting tired of you. All of those things can cloud otherwise helpful dialogue. There’s no shame in treating our minds and souls with respect by getting the help we need. As our bodies undergo so much, our minds need help too.
Other infertility activity resources*
Along our infertility journey, I’m always on the lookout for books, blogs, and other resources that can bring encouragement, direct my thoughts, and otherwise give voice to feelings and emotions that I can’t otherwise. Here are some of my favorites
Now it’s your turn to help each other. What helpful activities or rituals have helped you on this infertility journey? Share in the comments below!
*No affiliate links, just helpful suggestions!