Coping with Secondary Infertility

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As infertility awareness week comes to a close, I’d like to share my story.

We’re approaching the 2-year-mark of our baby #2 TTC journey. Yes, we already have one child- one beautiful, clever, magical child. A child who came to us easily, so we never experienced initial infertility. I have to imagine secondary infertility isn’t as bad as initial infertility, but it still sucks, and it comes with a unique set of frustrations.

I am one of six children. My siblings are some of my best friends. I always pictured having several children of my own. I began imagining my son as an older brother pretty early on. The way he takes care of his baby doll, is so gentle and tender with younger children, and just adores babies; it’s painful to think of him never having siblings. Something that has helped us be grateful for the family that we have in the present is getting a “one-line-a-day” journal for the family. Every day, I write a little something- a quote from my son, a description of what we did during the day. A reflection on the beauty of our present.

I know there’s quite a bit of emotional baggage from my first pregnancy and delivery. I only have two photos of me with my pregnant belly. At times I felt disconnected from the experience of being pregnant. We lived far away from family and didn’t have many friends in our new town. I had a traumatic experience when my son was born, and dealt with postpartum anxiety and depression. In some ways, I think I’ve romanticized the next pregnancy, and now that it hasn’t happened, I just feel silly.

We’re still sort of the stage of uncertainty. I was recently diagnosed with endometriosis but there might be something else going on as well. Two years of struggling to figure out the problem, trying different lifestyle and dietary changes, has taken a toll on my mental health. The stress of avoiding certain foods, specifically caffeine. I am in awe of people with dietary restrictions- I guess I’m just a wimp. But not being able to have caffeine, and then being tired and stressed, makes me feel like such a bad mom.

I go through phases of feeling really optimistic and hopeful, and then phases of feeling pretty discouraged. This summer, we’re spending a few months in a much bigger city which will allow us better healthcare options. I look forward to spending some time focused on my health and well-being.

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