On Secondary Infertility.

August 6, 2012 at 5:12 pm | Posted in Mythical #2, rants | 13 Comments

I have never really considered that we are dealing with Secondary Infertility before now. It seems like just a continuation of our Primary Infertility – except we just got really, really lucky and managed to have a son.

And according to RESOLVE? Technically, we do NOT suffer from secondary infertility. The definition is thus: “Secondary infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant, or to carry a pregnancy to term, following the birth of one or more biological children. The birth of the first child does not involve any assisted reproductive technologies or fertility medications.”

Yet, in infertility circles, I have a child. I am a parent, something that I remember thinking I’d sell my soul to the devil just for ONE chance at being a mom.

This weekend I got a comment from someone who can’t have a baby at all. Reading between the lines, man, my heart hurt for he and his wife.

And for a good long few minutes, I felt so damn guilty for spending so much time in the past few years wallowing in the Suck of Fail when it comes to our lack of reproductive prowess. I felt greedy, like I was asking for more than I should have.

But then I realized something.

I believe that people should be able to have as many children as they want.

Period.

If that’s one or twenty, it doesn’t matter. And as much as Lucky IS a salve for our pain, the fact is this: I want another baby with a longing that’s deep and intense. I can’t turn it off any more than I can make it rain.

I was never one of those primary infertiles that thought “oh you should be happy you HAVE one!” whenever it came to someone struggling with their second or third or fifth child. I actually always thought that it was its own sort of hell. Whereas Charlie and I could escape kids by going backpacking, or travelling to Italy, or spending time with his aunts and uncles, people struggling with secondary infertility can never escape the reminders.

Because, you see, they HAVE a child, and you always spend time with other parents when you’re a parent.

It’s true.

I see women at Lucky’s daycare with a baby in the infant room and an older child in the toddler room. I see pictures of siblings on Facebook, wearing “big sister” or “big brother” shirts.

Just last week, a professional contact I hadn’t spoken with since 2009 asked me what our current family situation was now, since the last time we spoke Lucky was 6 months old.

I spend every week with my niece and nephew, watching how my nephew D takes care of his little sister.

We ARE fortunate, I know this. The longer we try – and fail – to have another child, the more I realize just how lucky we DID get in bringing Lucky home with us. It’s a salve on the nights where I want to cry with the longing for another child; I can go into his room and kiss his sleeping face and feel my heart swell with love and happiness and humility.

We are so lucky.

But then, I happen to see that someone landed on my blog on this post, and I see him as a baby, and how cute he was, and I want to scream from the longing.

I dream of holding a baby, nursing him, watching Lucky be a big brother. I toss and turn and try and get away from those dreams, because I don’t know if it’s going to happen for us.

And when someone asks me if Lucky is my only child, it FEELS like a kick to the chest; it knocks the wind right out of me.

My thinking time – the three hours I commute and sometimes on a run… is now spent trying to come to grips with the fact that it’s possible we MIGHT not have another baby.

And you know, I KNOW we’ll be okay. Over time, the ache will HAVE to get better.

I’m not saying this to be all “woe is me.” I just believe that all people should have as many babies as they want. And I refuse, absolutely refuse, to stop blogging about MY experience with our struggles the second time around, just because I have my son.

It’s possible to be Lucky AND Unlucky at the same time.

I love my son and am so, so thankful he’s a part of my life. I will always owe Dr. HIT a debt of gratitude for making it so that we could bring him home.

But that doesn’t mean it’s greedy, or wrong of us to want to expand our family, too.

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13 Comments »

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  1. As someone with Secondary Infertility, it means a lot to me to see this post. Because it is something that is a struggle to deal with apart from the infertility itself there is the guilt that you are lucky to have that one; there are others who wonder why you are greedy, etc.

    All I know is that even now. Even now that I have that sibling–it hurts sometimes when I get a weird reaction from someone because of their age gap. It hurts because it took so long and so many painful commutes to get to this.

    It is why I hate watching you have to struggle through this. Because I was at that stage of trying to reconcile my son as that only child–and I couldn’t. I don’t know what I would have done if the cycle had not worked. But I know that I don’t want anyone denied their family, no matter how big.

    I hope against hope that someday soon, Lucky will have that sibling.

  2. I get this, in ways I can’t even explain. I could have written this. Seriously. ❤ ❤ ❤

  3. Thank you for writing this. I really needed to see this today, of all days.
    It’s funny, I was just reading a piece on RESOLVE New England’s page about secondary infertility (literally only moments before I saw this in my reader) and the author got pregnant on the first trying for her first kid and the second month trying for her second and then wanted a third but waited a bit and then had a REALLY hard time and as I was reading it was thinking, YOU GOT TO HAVE TWO?! WHY WASN’T THAT ENOUGH?! But then I realized it’s the exact same thing as me wanting two (and I’d love three too but my partner has said no for a lot of reasons, many of them financial), and people telling me I should be happy with one, so who am I to not understand her long and hard struggle to have a third when she already had two. I was really disappointed in myself for feeling that way, especially when right now I’m in the middle of really wanting another child and not being able to make that happen.

    You’re right that people should be able to have as many children as they want and infertility hurts no matter where you are in your family building process. Thank you for reminding me of that.

  4. Hear hear. It is hard to be honest about the desire for a second when we feel so much guilt because we know how lucky we are to have the first.

    “Normal” people don’t feel that guilt. They get to have as many children as they want.

    We shouldn’t feel guilty for longing for the family we’ve always dreamed of.

    xoxo
    T.

  5. Thank you so much for this post. You so perfectly and elegantly captured many of the thoughts and feelings that have been whirling around my head haphazardly like this big crazy tornado — but I’d been unable to pinpoint exactly. I will need to bookmark this post and refer back to it often.

    I’ve been surprised how our repeated failures in trying for #2 have been re-opening a lot of the (what I thought were) closed wounds from our struggle to get to #1. There is also this new frustration — it sucks when your failures are unexplained. Yet I find it also REALLY sucks to not know why your one success did magically happen. Feels like you should’ve solved the puzzle, and know the recipe, etc, by now to do it again. What gives?

    Your post brings up such an important point about folks having as many kids as they want. I always feel a bit odd when my “pro-choice” friends scoff at folks with “too many” kids (usually religious folks, the Duggars being an extreme example). I have also heard lot of “pro-reproductive freedom” people make judgemental remarks about people who do IVF, too. Anyway, I’m probably way off topic, but this is something I think about sometimes, too.

    Very nice to know I am not alone in this very particular sort of journey. Although I am sorry we both are!

  6. Lucky and unlucky at the same time. Yeah, I totally get that. xoxoxo

  7. Beautifully said, Serenity. Secondary infertility is something that, I believe, is under-represented in the blogosphere. Just wanted to let you know that I totally understand how you feel here, and, (((hugs)))

  8. Well said. This post resonates so strongly with me for many reasons – far too many to mention here, but it was something I needed to hear today.

  9. I’m really behind on my commenting, but I wanted to respond to this. I’ve probably mentioned before that my mom had trouble conceiving my little sister. Before I dealth with infertility myself, I never understood that (and I took it personally – why weren’t we enough?). She already had 2 kids! But now, of course, I totally understand. Having twins wasn’t in her plan, and she wanted to experience what other people experienced with only one baby she’d have time to cuddle, and experience having kids of different ages at the same time. She’s told me how hard it was to walk through the baby aisle during that time. And at first I didn’t get why, since she already had two of us! But you are totally right, she would’ve had to walk through that aisle all the time when she had two 3-year-olds. Secondary infertility (or a continuation or primary infertility) has its own challenges, and it’s not any easier.

    People should be able to have as many children as they want. You put it best.

  10. This sounds very similar to the internal struggles after losing a child, too. The guilt of having a child (or two) and feeling like it ought to be “enough” but at the same time knowing that it’s never enough because there’s one missing. And feeling guilty because there are people who can’t have even one live child. I find in a lot of ways it was harder after my live child because like you said now I’m always around other parents, always seeing reminders and seeing “normal” families (of course who knows what’s gone on in their lives). So yeah. This hits something in me today.

  11. I couldn’t agree with you more. I actually shared this on our Facebook fan page of Myfertilityawareness.com. Thank you for writing this. Secondary infertility is sometimes looked at the way you said, “just be thankful you have one”. However it’s still a defeat at least this is how I feel. I thought and was under the impression that my body works correctly since we did a child together. But I was wrong. Again thank you so much.

  12. I’m sure all people who have secondary (or primary, again) infertility are happy for the child they do have.

    I think it’s a different kind of issue, really – trying for #2 vs trying for #1.

    Bea

  13. I still feel slapped when I get the “Is he your only?” and we’ve been out of the game for over a year now. I am getting better at taking that and accepting it and responding graciously but man, it’s rough at times. I am soo lucky to have my boy but oh man, how I wish we had a sibling for him.


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