The struggles and acceptance of secondary fertility


When I hear that someone is pregnant again, someone who was pregnant when I was or even after, I find myself thinking, “Wow! That was fast”. In my mind, so little time has passed since I was pregnant with my daughter. But as friends lap with me with their second, third, or even fourth baby, I have to remind myself that the better part of a decade has passed since I was pregnant.

That wasn’t the plan. Getting pregnant the first time wasn’t either, of course. Best laid plans are wasted on the fertility gods. My daughter came easily and without incident. But it was two long years of sleepless nights before I could entertain the idea of another.

By that point, something had changed and it was no longer as easy to get pregnant. Tests, specialists and drugs couldn’t solve the the problem and within a year and a half, another shift — my divorce. The plan changed, I changed, and I begin to wonder if more babies were in the cards.

Secondary fertility, defined as the inability to become pregnant after the birth of a first child, is a weird animal. On the one hand, you have a healthy child and all the gratitude that comes along with that. You feel guilty because so many people are struggling just to hold one.

But on the other hand, it’s a cruel joke because you know the joy of the butterfly kicks and the newborn coos and it seems devastatingly unfair to be deprived of that again. Toss in a little girl asking to “order a brother” and you have a recipe for an emotional roller coaster.

Now that love has re-entered my life and the thoughts of babies dances in my head again, it’s scary to let myself go there. We may be in for the same disappointment of blank tests and unanswered questions — the only thing I know for sure is that I am the “problem”.

It helps that the “time for another” and “doesn’t she need a sibling?” comments have waned but it hurts because it feels like people have given up on me, so to speak. I haven’t spoken to many about my fertility struggles and so people have understandably assumed its all been a choice.

Still, I find myself trying to chart a course. Sometimes I think we have reached such a wonderful rhythm with our little threesome. Maybe this is a good and complete life — more time, more money, more resources. But the Facebook pregnancy announcements and Target baby aisle get ahold of me eventually and I find myself longing for that newborn smell, those 2 a.m. feedings, the chubby wrist rolls, to see my future husband as a father in his own right.

Ultimately, I don’t have any insightful revelations about what it’s like to not quite have the family you envisioned on your timeline. I know that not getting what you want is the worst but I have also had enough life experience to know that sometimes, whether its timing or circumstances, life works out precisely how it is supposed to.

My family is not at all the one I pictured as my stomach blossomed seven years ago, but it is also infinitely better than I could have envisioned back then. There may always been an ache for one more baby and there may be the peace that comes with feeling complete. I don’t know how the story ends because I am still busy writing it.

Originally posted to © CharlotteFive

One thought on “The struggles and acceptance of secondary fertility

  1. As your mother my heart breaks as well as rejoices for you. You are an incredibly gifted Mother, Daughter and Wife. I know of your struggle . I cry when you cry and whatever happens is in God’s hands. Thank you for your beautiful words that i hope others will read and take solace in that they are not alone.

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