Monday, September 10, 2012

My Experience with Secondary Infertility

This baby's first super faint bfp
I feel like I don't deserve to be writing a post about this since my secondary infertility came as no surprise, was not unexplained, had a treatment, didn't require IVF, and I'm now pregnant.  However, when we started what we expected to be another long road of TTC our second child, I was shocked and then saddened to find that I no longer fit in with the infertility community because I already had a child.  I needed support and I couldn't find it.  While there were some women who seemed to obviously not want me in their IF community, they were the minority.  The problem was more than I no longer fit in.  Luckily, I left the forums and found a home on twitter where you can always find a friend, but it was still tough to find people who could relate to me.

If you've ever dealt with primary infertility, you've once bitterly observed a mother at a fast food restaurant with her baby carrier precariously perched on the edge of the table, force feeding one child while letting another run wild laps around the tables and need to vent about it.  It's so unfair that you can't have a child when bad mothers surround you.  While I once shared this perspective when I was in that place, I now know how hard it is to be a mother.  I now know how easily things get out of hand, and how a simple errand gone wrong can unravel an entire afternoon.  I've nearly had my son topple out of a shopping cart due to my own negligance, and comforted a cranky baby in a restaurant instead of leaving.  I don't disagree with the infertile's vent because I've been on that side, too, but now I'm on the otherside and I can't judge other moms.  How could I when I know I make my own mistakes, too. 

A woman with primary infertility sees babies and baby bumps everywhere, and when I vent all she sees is my son's cute face.  I bet it appears that I'm unappreciative and greedy.  But, what did I see when I went out?  Siblings.  I still see siblings everywhere when we go out during the day, all closer in age than my son will be to this baby.  Whenever I saw two kids in the shopping cart, I immediately would try to guess the age differences.  It was always smaller than what my kids would be, even if I got pregnant right then.  Just as it's unfair and hurtful that some women are pregnant and others can't be.  It's unfair and hurtful that some women have two kids close in age and I can't.

A woman with primary infertility is hurting, and I know sometimes those women feel responsible for denying their husband a child or causing them emotional pain.  I imagined giving my child a sibling close in age my entire life, and I was watching my son grow older and older knowing every day increased the distance between him and his future sibling.  I wanted so badly to give him that gift, and I couldn't do it.  My secondary infertility not only hurt me and my husband, it was taking something away from my child.  It was so painful, and I couldn't find anyone who understood.  People either had primary infertility and no sympathy, or didn't know about infertility at all and would list all the benefits of having two children farther apart in age.  Most often I'd hear how great it would be that my son will be old enough to help.  The fact that he will be able to help me care for his baby brother only further illustrates that he will be growing up ahead of the baby, not alongside him.

Wishing smiley's to all those TTC for the 1st or 2nd or 8th time

Before my miscarriage, while struggling with secondary infertility the first time, I was taking DS for a walk in the stroller on a beautiful evening.  Dinner was in the oven, and DH would be home soon.  I tweeted about how incomplete I felt in that moment.  Like we were pretending to be a family with only half of us present.  I lost almost 20 twitter followers over that tweet.  I guess they thought I was unappreciative.  When a primary infertile talks about how much she wants a baby, does that mean she's unappreciative of her husband?  The desire to have a baby is no less strong the second time.  In many ways I think it's actually stronger.  I already knew what it was like to get a bfp and feel my baby grow inside me.  I knew how great it was to see my baby for the first time, and to stay up with him at night.  Knowing what it's like to be a mother, and being one, doesn't lessen the mothering instinct.  Knowing exactly how wonderful it is only makes you want it more.

Then I had my miscarriage.  I had no idea something was wrong until 12 weeks.  That's almost 3 months of relief my son would finally have a sibling, loving my new baby and growing belly, and even a few weeks of telling coworkers only to have it all taken away.  I found so much needed support online everywhere I turned, and I was so grateful.  But, looking back, I find it kind of unfair that it took that kind of loss for the IF community to accept me again.  I'd leveled up in the game of 'who has suffered the most.'  All of a sudden I wasn't just another greedy woman with secondary infertility, but a woman TTC after loss.  It was a whole different category, and a much more acceptable one.

As always, I'm wanting to document my journey, and share with others in the hopes that I can help someone else.  If you're going through secondary infertility, I promise there are many others out there going through it, too.  For all the primary IF'ers out there.  When you see a mom crying over a negative pregnancy test with a cute little kid in her signature or profile picture, please don't think her unappreciative.  She's not crying because she's forgotten about that little kid.  She's crying because she loves him so much, and because she let him down.  Everyone with infertility is being denied their right to procreate, and is missing their future baby whether they already have one or not.


  1. This was incredibly articulated. I am in that exact spot and personally I dont ever talk about it, it seems trivial and people seem incredulous that I would have the 'gall' to feel like something was taken away from me (my son) by not being able to have a second child when 'so many people cant even have one.' Bravo for you for saying what I never could! :)

    1. Thanks! It's something that's been on my mind a lot lately and I had to get it out!