I wanted to blog about Secondary Infertility and how it affects me. I’m not sure who comes across my blog and what their fertility status is, but I am conscious that there will be readers struggling with Primary Infertility. Before I begin, here is a note to those wonderful, brave ladies:
This blog entry is not a debate about whether one type of fertility is harder than the other. It is simply a record of how my infertility affects me. I can only imagine the difficultly of a journey through Primary Infertility. I send you virtual hugs. I can only imagine how heartbreaking it is to wonder whether you will experience those things I have already had the opportunity to cherish. And believe me, I am utterly grateful for what I already have. Especially in light of my current situation. I understand that reading this may be hard for you, because I know you would do anything to have what I have, but I hope what I write today is helpful, informative and that you can take something from it, whatever your TTC journey.
There are several things that I find truly difficult about Secondary Infertility:
1) Humiliation. I feel a humiliated that I was naïve enough to believe it would be easy this time too. I got excited about TTC. I took my fertility for granted. I even talked about trying for a second with a fair amount of openness, so there are people waiting. Waiting for us to announce some news. Not wanting to ask too many questions in case I’m so emotionally fragile I will crumble in front of them. That would be awkward for us all. I assumed I was in control. I wasn’t.
2) Frustration. I am frustrated that I once worked and now I don’t. Every period is a reminder that something has stopped working correctly since the last time it was inhabited. That’s pretty much all there is to say about that one.
3) Incompleteness. Someone is missing from our family. I thought it would be so easy to conceive again that we created an image that was tangible. It was a girl, she even had a name. I could see myself holding her, I could smell her. I have since had to say goodbye to and grieve for that baby in an attempt to heal emotionally. Even if we get pregnant now, we wouldn’t use that name. The journey we have had and the early losses I think I have suffered (no HPTs to prove it) will always be associated with that little person I imagined. And I will never forget her. Ever. Her empty space makes me feel incomplete.
4) Not providing a sibling. My little one asks why she doesn’t have a brother or sister. She would be amazing. She is nurturing and caring. She would fill the role of big sister perfectly. It hurts to think she knows she misses this relationship without ever having it. It hurts that she will think about it in the future and feel somewhat lonely in her childhood and maybe even feel angry with us.
5) Scared. I’m scared about my little one being an only child. I’m worried it will isolate her. We have already noted that she can occasionally be the odd one out if she socialises with siblings, as they can be fiercely protective of each other (links back to point 5). Mostly, I’m scared that she may have to deal with difficult things without the support of a sibling in the future, and I already hurt for her when I think about times such as dealing with us dying or being very ill. Crazy, I know. We can’t worry about these things. But I do. Secondary Infertility isn’t only affecting my husband and myself, it’s affecting the child I already have. I hate Infertility for that.
6) Friends with families. I love my friends but socialising with friends that have expanding families’ blows my mind and not in a good way. I am so happy for my friends, but so sad for me. I almost didn’t make a friends baby shower because of my own self-pity. How terrible is that? I feel that I’m being tested by some higher being. I don’t know what I have to prove, but I am trying damn hard to keep my head up high, to smile through this, to celebrate with the continuous line of girlfriends who, in the time since I gave birth to my little one, have announced their second or third pregnancies. I feel different. In limbo. There is isolation for Mum’s like me, amongst Mummy friends who talk about interactions between their children. They have a different experience than me, more experience than me, even though my little one is older than all their children. I can’t offer anything to some conversations. When the old birth story convo comes around (as it does regularly), I feel my cheeks go red as mine is several years old now, and I feel a fraud revelling in the details as I did once. Everyone’s heard it before, I’ve no new material. And even though it’s a pretty dramatic story, as birth stories go, it’s got boring. I’ve entered a different era than those mummy friends that are now in the throes of another baby/toddler phase.
7) The Guilt. I feel guilty of how my emotions may have impacted on my parenting of my little one over the years. Let me assure you, I try my upmost not to wallow, and to remind myself constantly how lucky I am. Logically, I know I’ve done pretty good. My little one is happy, but a mothers guilt always whispers in her ear that she could have done better. I’m sure I could have been a little more patient at times, like when she insisted on taking ten minutes to put her own shoes on. Mostly, I feel guilty about my enjoyment of the stages she has moved through over the last two years. It is thoroughly ironic that the emotional rollercoaster of infertility impacts on your enjoyment of the child you do have. It’s not that I don’t enjoy her per se. It’s more HOW I enjoy her. I find myself feeling bittersweet. When I watch her playing with her toys, and smile at her creativity and imagination, the fact that she is playing alone makes me sad. When I look at her beautiful little face, and marvel at how awesome it was that we made her, I can’t help but wonder why I can’t make something so perfect again.