Tuesday, January 15, 2013

Secondary Infertility

Perhaps it seems unnecessary to some, but I need to write about secondary infertility.

I don't know how many of you are struggling with it, but I hope that sharing my thoughts will help those of you in the trenches of secondary infertility, as well as help bring understanding to those of you who have not experienced it.

When I first started this blog, I found the "Second Chances" blog, which is set to private right now.  (Otherwise, I would link to it.)  In the writer's pages, I read words that perfectly captured the sadness in my heart.

Second Chances wrote about some of the biggest struggles she faced in being a mother of one child and experiencing infertility.  The struggles I remember her mentioning most of all--the ones that brought tears to my eyes--were:

1. Not fitting in.
2. Not being able to see your child interact with siblings.

For the "not fitting in" category, I want to first say that all of you ladies have done a really good job of accepting me into this community.  I really appreciate it.  I know that I don't fully understand all of your journeys, because mine is different, but like TCIE recently said:
Even those of us who share the cross of infertility do not share the exact same burden.  Each cross is unique, as are we as humans.
So true.

Well, with the not fitting in, I mostly perceived said "not fitting in" during my interactions with other moms/couples with children, couple friends without children, and single friends.  I am not sure which group I have had the most in common with.  Sometimes, I felt more in sync with the moms/couples with children.  Other times, their frazzled, frantic lives seemed unrecognizable to me.  Sometimes I could relate to the friends without children better...but then they would do something like forget that finding a babysitter is not as simple as you may assume, and I would feel a million miles away from them.

With the moms/couples with multiple children, I have often felt like a "partial" mom (which sounds ridiculous!).  I have even had a friend say to me that "one child is an accessory; two children are life-changing" or something like that.  (Sometimes I just don't think she processes her thoughts before they come out.)  And it's hard not to feel obligated to be the room mom of your child's class when you are a stay-at-home mom of only one child who goes to school full-time.  Oh yeah...and then there is always that awkward and quite wounding moment when a mother who has been abundantly blessed asks about your "other children" (assuming you must have more somewhere)...or asks if you have "just one."  "Yes, he's my only," I say, smiling, while cringing inside.

Another element of secondary infertility that has been a huge struggle for me is not being able to help give my son the gift of a sibling.  I grew up with two siblings, and I still get along with them.  They have been such a blessing in my life.  They were there when my parents divorced.  They have been there through many happy times.  They were there when my dad passed away.  They have been great supports and special friends.

I so, so, so desire for my son to have that, too.  Even though any siblings at this point would be quite far apart in age from him, I have hope that they would still be great gifts to one another.


I don't want to come across as being ungrateful for the child or the other innumerable blessings that I already have.  I know that many of you would be so very content with one child.  Sometimes, I come to a place of peace with that notion, too.  However, I know that, deep down, if I don't do what I must to try for another, whether that be through Napro.technology or via adoption, I will always wonder "what if?".


  1. Thanks for writing this. It helps me to understand where you and many other women dealing with this are. IF sucks whether you have one, two or none. Praying for you!

  2. My dear friend went through secondary IF. We met while I was going through primary and while our crosses were different, part of me felt that secondary is even greater - you know the joy of the first and how could you not desire more? Plus, as the oldest of five - all girls - and knowing how close we are, that desire for a sibling is SO strong. Praying for you.

  3. All forms of infertility create wounds that cut deeply. While secondary infertility can reopen old wounds it also creates new ones that I never thought of before until now. I am so happy you shared this with us because I didn't realize the constant emotional struggle that goes on when you are given this cross to bear. I will continue praying for you guys.

  4. TCIE usually hits the nail right on the head :) - she is wise that lady!

    I will say, I am so glad you've found a place fo feel comfortable and welcomed within this community. It truly is a place of grace.

    Thank-you for sharing this perspective, for this window into your experiences.

  5. This makes a lot of sense to me. I can see how it would be really hard to not feel fully at home in either the "IF" world or the mom world. Thank you for sharing your thoughts! I'm hope very much that your son is blessed with a sibling. Praying for you =)

  6. I'm just now catching up on blogs. Forgive me for going private and not even giving a warning! I just now, and I'm not even kidding you, realized that I might be missed! I'm insecure like that ;)

    Reading your post brings it all right back. I remember people telling my husband and I that we weren't "real parents" because we only had one. We believed them. Or told ourselves that they were right. It wasn't until a dear friend approached us and said, "don't let anyone tell you that. Having one child is extremely difficult". Now that we have more children, I see how right he was. Having one child and not WANTING more children might be easy, but there is no pain like secondary IF. It's a pain all its own because it affects you and your child. And there's nothing more painful than wanting to give your child a sibling and not being able to. It's brutal.

    I pray that this cross is removed from your life if that is God's will. My husband and I pray every night for those struggling to conceive.

    I'm sorry I went private :( I just don't know what to write about anymore. But please feel free to email me anytime. Reneespez at hotmail dot com.

    God bless!

  7. beautifully written. i know those dumb words piece your soul. don't ever believe them for a second.

  8. Thanks for this! We waited just over 2 years to conceive our child, and it was very painful to deal with. Now, another ~3 years of no second child, it's painful too and different. It's a similar feeling when someone says, "I'm pregnant! I can't believe it, I've only been off the pill for 3 weeks!". That's just a reminder of some (unknown) health problem in our family. But now, different from before, every month I do a semi-subconscious calculation of the space in age between children, if we were to conceive next month. There's still a bit of insecurity and trying to read God's mind (maybe he thinks we can't handle another, maybe he only gave us the first because he was tired of my whining...). And, of course it's always hard to deal with people's thoughtless comments and judgments. But, before we had our first, I had a very strong fear of living without a child when I felt called to be a mother. I couldn't think of what I'd do without a child! I don't have that any more, and will never forget the struggle every month. Sometimes it helps me to remember that Mary was an only child, and our Lord was an only child. God bless.

  9. I agree wholeheartedly with TCIE's comment too. Thank you for writing your experiences and sharing your feelings so I can pray for you. My mom had some fertility problems as well, and I have two younger siblings as a result that are 9 & 14 years younger than me. It is not too late yet for you to have another child. I don't say this to minimize your feelings. That is NOT my intent. But I hope to give you hope that it is still possible with God. I will keep you in my prayers.

  10. Thank you so much for all of your comments. As with any tool, the Internet can be used for good or evil. I am very thankful that we have been able to use it for such a beautiful purpose: supporting each other during the enormous struggle of infertility.

  11. I am so behind in commenting!!! This post is so relevant to my journey. Second Chances is great, isn't she? Thank you for writing this. Fitting in has been a huge issue for me. That is why I named my blog Made for Another World. It's so obvious to me that I wasn't made for this one. But, recently, I've experienced some healing in this area. Part of if has to do with my acceptance of God's will in my life and part of it has to do with gifts He has given me. One gift is the blogs and women who are willing to share their stories. Thanks for sharing yours!

  12. Thanks for your comment, Made for Another World!

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Thank you very much for this blog. It is very encouraging. I f you agree, I would like to translate it into my mother tongue-Slovak, so it can encourage even more couples bearing this cross. My email is chivka@gmail.com and I will be happy , if you send me message regarding what do you think about the translation. Thanks. Be blessed. Marta

  15. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  16. Hello! I'd love to connect with you for an article I'm working on for Family Foundations, a NFP magazine. If you'd like to connect, send me an email at jtweinberger@gmail.com. Thanks!

  17. Such an ideal piece of blog. It’s quite interesting to read content like this. I appreciate your blog


Note: Only a member of this blog may post a comment.