Secondary Infertility is Totally a Thing
I got pregnant for the first time unintentionally.
I was theoretically on birth control for crying out loud.
Zero planning, little bit of trying, and wham-bam-thank-you-ma’am I’m just pregnant.
Twenty-two years old, not married, living in a studio apartment I paid for with my paltry first year teacher’s salary.
Fast forward three years.
The man formerly known as Baby’s Daddy and I have tied the knot and purchased our first home on the other side of the country. I had an advanced degree under my belt and he had a pretty good job with opportunity for advancement. Baby #1 was sleeping through the night, eating like a champ, and well on his way to being potty trained.
Perfect time for another baby!
Only, not so fast missy.
My body was not even trying to hear that noise.
For some reason getting pregnant because I wanted to was not going to be as easy I thought.
Like every other baby-wanting mama I read a bunch of books searched a bunch of websites. Then, I stood on my head, stocked up on turkey basters, and chased hubby all over town with a thermometer in my mouth.
I tried some of the stuff I researched and changed my diet, but still nada.
Friends and family weren’t really sympathetic to my situation. They said really annoying things like I should be happy because I already had a baby. Or, that I should stop thinking about it because when I did I’d surely get pregnant. Okay, doc, like my wanting a baby was what was stopping my baby makers from putting out baby eggs regularly or at all. I hadn’t gotten to the stressed out because I NEEEED A BABY phase yet, I was just young and healthy and strangely not getting knocked up despite the whole “trying hard” thing.
It was frustrating. And confusing. And scary. And hard.
When I finally got in to see the OB/GYN (you know you kinda have to be already pregnant or possibly bleeding to death from your girly bits to get an appointment in less than like 8 months) she responded similarly, “So many women can’t even have one baby. You have to remember that. You’re fortunate to have what you have.”
Of course I already knew that. I had close friends struggling to conceive, I knew what a blessing my baby was; my life was immensely better because of him. I wish every woman could feel this joy. Is it greedy to want more than one child?! Why was my doctor making me feel guilty for wanting another baby?!
Secondary infertility is hard like that. And, yes, secondary infertility is totally a thing.
People constantly tell you that you should be happy because you already have a baby. They remind you that you’re lucky because so many women can’t ever get pregnant or experience the joy of giving birth. They give you the calm-down-crazy-lady-it’s-not-THAT-big-of-a-deal look when you get emotional about it.
If you’re me, you wind up feeling guilty and terrible about your desire to add to your family. You start to wonder if you are being selfish, if you’re asking too much, and if you even deserve it. Because maybe you’re not that awesome at mommy-ing the baby you already have and you kinda haven’t quite earned a second? Maybe the universe is sending you that message by blocking your attempts at procreation so fervently!
But, none of that junk is true.
Secondary infertility is painful. It’s emotionally draining, it’s hard to cope with, it’s frustrating and stressful and scary and sad. And, women experiencing it are allowed to feel like it. They shouldn’t be made to feel guilty because they want another baby. They shouldn’t be forced to feel like they are greedy or like their desire for a second baby is only because for some reason the baby they already have isn’t good enough for them. Wanting to expand your family isn’t a crime, and feeling sad when you realize you may not be able to do that doesn’t make you an insensitive jerk. It makes you human.
Fortunately I went on to have #2 after 2 full years of trying, followed by #3 after another two years and some medical intervention.
Clearly I got a new OB/GYN.