The Fruitful Hollow Resources
Discerning the next best step
“I can’t do this any longer!” “I feel like I’m hitting my head against a brick wall.” “We just keep hitting obstacle after obstacle.” “Something has to change.” “I wish God would just tell us what to do.” If you find that you are telling yourself any of these things during your infertility journey (or any challenging season of adult life for that matter), take it as a sign that it’s time for a change. Are you perplexed, overwhelmed or stuck trying to figure out what exactly that change should be or where God is calling you next? Try these seven steps both on your own and with your spouse to help you discern your next best step.
Thriving in the holiday season (even if you don’t feel like celebrating)
Holidays can be a challenging time for many of us. Bright lights, festive decorations and joyous celebrations can feel like a harsh juxtaposition to our hearts if we are dealing with grief and loss. Having empty arms as holidays circle back around for the first, fourth or tenth time without the children we had hoped and prayed to have “this time next year” can feel pretty depressing.
Wherever you find yourself this season, if you are finding it hard to celebrate this year, we hope this resource can help you find ways to recenter and thrive this holiday season.
Preparing for Surgery
So you’ve made the important decision to go ahead with surgery! This resource includes the following sections:
Pages 1-2: What to ask your surgeon - question list covering general concerns, how to prepare for surgery, what to expect of surgery day, the operation itself, discharge and recovery, any post-operative treatment, and post-operative follow-up
Page 3: What to do in preparation for your surgery and recovery - checklist of what to arrange, prepare, buy and set up
Page 4: What to pack in your hospital bag - checklist for a day surgery or overnight stay
Pages 4-5: Spiritual considerations and preparations for surgery and recovery
Page 5: How to create your surgery and recovery “support team”
Pages 6-8: Duplicate copy of question list with space to write answers by hand
Page 8: Space to plan your “support team” - printable version
Mothers’ Day Challenge:
Truth, beauty and goodness
For many of us, the whole month surrounding Mothers’ Day can be rough. Whether we are longing for a child we have yet to conceive, grieving the loss of a little one or the loss of our own mother, or perhaps we have a strained mother/daughter relationship, this holiday can sometimes bring up challenging emotions. It can leave us feeling sad or anxious, not only on the day itself but in the surrounding weeks. If this sounds like you, give this “Truth, beauty and goodness” challenge a try and bring a positive and fruitful focus to your month.
Spring Clean Your Life (spiritually, emotionally and physically)
There's something about the early morning birdsong, the melting snow, the rising temperatures, blooming flowers and increased daylight. When spring arrives, we are often hit with a renewed sense of hope and vigor, as well as a sudden desire to clean out our homes! This year, instead of only focusing on clearing out the clutter from our closets, let's focus on clearing things out from our lives that are not serving us well. Instead of focusing solely on washing our windows or picking out new plants for our landscaping, let's bring some attention to what we can bring into our lives to foster joy, hope and spiritual growth. Let's not hang onto things that keep us in a perpetual "emotional winter." Spring is here! It's time to re-evaluate what's working, what's not, and breathe some life back into our days!
Preparing Your Heart for Social Gatherings
Social gatherings, whether around the holidays or any other time of the year, can often feel challenging to those struggling with infertility. Anxiety is felt ahead of time, worrying about the myriad triggering comments that could be said, how we should respond, and how we might feel afterwards. While we can’t avoid all potentially triggering social situations, we can do some preparation and practice some good cognitive strategies to help us navigate those situations in a healthier way.
Managing Medical Appointments and Navigating NaPro
Fertility-related doctor’s appointments can be overwhelming and stressful. So much seems to be at stake, outcomes don’t always meet our expectations, and follow-up steps may be recommended that end up taxing our emotional and physical resources further. While there’s no way to remove all of the strain and complications, there are many things you can do in order to get the most out of these appointments while also minimizing the emotional impact as much as possible.
Dealing with Pregnancy
and Birth Announcements
It happens to all of us - we’re happily scrolling through social media, or chatting away with family or friends, and we are caught by surprise by a pregnancy or birth announcement. These announcements can be challenging while we try to figure out how to handle conflicting emotions of joy for the other and sorrow for ourselves. If you struggle with being on the receiving end of difficult announcements, there is unfortunately no easy fix for avoiding the negative emotions. However, there are several steps you can take to make sure you are handling things in as healthy a way as possible, and avoid getting trapped for too long in the negative emotion cycle.
Toolbox for Stressful Times
When dealing with infertility, we often face a whole host of potentially stressful situations. When we feel our anxiety and stress levels start to rise, it’s important to pause and realize that those feelings are signals that we need to give ourselves grace. A great way to do this is to create a “Toolbox for Stressful Times” - an action plan with self-care activities and other support to help us navigate through challenges.
Wielding the Sword of the Spirit: Fighting Satan's Lies with Scripture
When faced with infertility, it is easy to get caught up in the lies Satan tells us - that we are not enough, that God has abandoned us or that there is no hope in our future. This resource shows you how to prepare for this spiritual battle. Grab your Bible and wield the sword of the Spirit!
Supporting Couples with Infertility
If you know a couple struggling with infertility, you might be wondering what you can do or say to support your friends or family who find themselves on this difficult journey. Having compassionate support from loved ones can make a world of difference in this situation.
Semen Collection the Catholic Way
What Is the Morally Acceptable Way of Ordering a Sperm Count as Part of the Evaluation of Infertility? We've got you covered! Click to get the PDF.