secondary infertility

by Jacqueline Harris

Not being able to conceive a second child has been one of the hardest experiences of my life.
Do I dare refer to it as a trauma? I absolutely will!
BECAUSE after living through infertility for over 5 years now, I would firmly say it is.
I think I have become Jekyll and Hyde!
On one hand, I feel like a terrible person for even feeling anger and jealousy.
How dare I lack compassion and let these evil thoughts take the forefront?
I also can admit to carrying immense shame for even discussing this, as I have been blessed with 1 child of my own.
I know there are so many women out there trying to conceive their first.
So, to those women and families who are trying for their first, my heart goes out to you in more ways than I can even verbalize.
The problem though, is I don’t see you. I don’t know you. In turn, I feel alone.
After years at fertility clinics and seeing thousands of women, I still feel alone.
Because we don’t talk. We don’t share our pain or our stories. We just silently wait in line, like cattle, for our turn.

After leaving a baby shower this past weekend, I decided to write out my feelings instead of eating them. I haven’t been to a baby shower in quite some time, and found yesterday really challenging. Rihanna has brought on this whole new bump trend where everyone is sporting crop tops and bellies, so the bump is even more of a stabbing reminder of my secondary infertility. Besides the Rihannas of the world, my heart shatters into a million jealous broken pieces when friends want you to touch their stomach, feel the baby, or simply send bump pics.

What hurt the most at this baby shower, though, was listening to all the other mothers complain about how hard their fourth child is. Another mother jokingly said it’s why she stopped having kids after three. Another quickly piped in as to why two is all she needs. As a young girl, I dreamed of being a mother to a multiple children. Being an only child left me yearning to have tons of kids of my own. After giving birth to my son, I couldn’t wait to provide him with siblings. Year after year, injection after injection, years of waiting on adoption lists and more disappointment after disappointment, I am losing hope.

Part of me is not giving up totally though. I’m not ready to throw in the towel. But to be honest, my emotional stamina is low. And it’s a terrible feeling.

What hurts the most however cuts deeper than just a random baby shower, but the world’s insensitivity to infertility. Someone whom I used to call a friend, decided to tell me she was pregnant with her second after I just finished telling her about my final and failed IVF round.
What were her motives with such timing?
To this day, I don’t know. It’s rare you find women who show you the compassion and sensitivity
we deserve. And to those women who do, I thank you profusely.

Anyways, to anyone who takes the time to read this and is struggling, please know you aren’t alone and it’s ok to put up boundaries.
Cut out people who can’t show you compassion.
Distance yourself from those who don’t contribute to your happiness.
Get off social media if it’s too triggering.
Life alone will bring constant reminders of your infertility.
From pregnant women walking on the street, birth announcements from family, families at resorts swimming in the pools,
mothers with their multiple children at the local grocery store, pregnant colleagues…..I could go on and go for days.

So take the little bit of control you do have in such an out of control experience and make it easier.
From the bottom of my sad infertile heart to those not able to conceive, I hear you, I feel for you and I send you my love.

We want to hear from you!