Secondary Infertility - A Painful and Lonely Reality

Megan Brown is a mother of one amazing son, Ozzy, and lives in Burbank, CA.  She is a Licensed Marriage and Family therapist and regularly counsels adults, families and children. She utilizes a unique intervention called Walk and Talk Therapy, which combines traditional talk therapy with the physical exercise of walking. Visit her website at www.walkandtalktherapist.com for more information. 

 Megan and her son, Ozzy

Megan and her son, Ozzy

I was blessed with an amazing healthy baby boy 9 years ago, just a few years into my marriage.  I had no idea that it would be so easy to become pregnant or that it would happen so quickly! We “tried” one month and “BAM!” we were pregnant.  It was so exciting to be parents and we gave our little bundle of joy all the affection and attention in the world. About two years after my son was born, we started getting comments like “when are you going to have more?” and “your son needs a brother/sister”. We too wanted our son to grow up with a sibling and we tried again to conceive.  This time, nothing happened. For over 6 years we continued unsuccessfully, and it began to impact all areas of my life. I tried everything from acupuncture, to ovulation calendars, to diet, IUI procedures and more. The financial burden of fertility treatments weighed on us not to mention our sex life was negatively impacted because of the pressure and lack of spontaneity. Every month I would become overwhelmed and depressed when my period would come, to the point of hopelessness. According to doctors, my husband and I were both healthy and they said that the treatments “should have worked”.  No one could explain why I wasn’t getting pregnant.

NO EXPLANATIONS

Why was it so easy the first time and then it became so difficult to conceive? Sometimes secondary infertility happens unexpectedly and with no clear explanation.  Sometimes women have one or more children and plan to have more at a later time, but then they are not able to conceive. Age is often a big factor, as women of advanced maternal age experience a faster decline in their ovarian reserve starting at age 35. Blocked fallopian tubes, other structural issues and medical conditions can play a role as well.  Although age and medical factors may contribute to secondary infertility, sometimes it is just unexplainable, as it was in my case.

MISUNDERSTOOD

Many women that suffer with secondary infertility do so in silence, and they often feel very lonely and misunderstood. The truth is that if you suffer from secondary infertility, you are not alone. According to NCHS data, nearly 800,000 married women with one child are unable to get pregnant again after one year of having unprotected sex. They often feel like they don’t have the right to complain or grieve because they have been blessed with a child. Those who verbalize their concerns about their condition are often met with responses that can be hurtful, like “Some people can’t even have one child” and “you are blessed to have children”.  And yes I was blessed, but it didn’t take away the longing in my heart for another child. 

LISTEN TO YOUR HEART

If you are suffering from secondary infertility, do not feel guilty about wanting another child. Secondary infertility often drives families to consider other options to give their child a sibling(s) to grow up with. Many couples choose to turn to fertility treatments and pursue choices such as in vitro fertilization (IVF), egg/sperm donation or surrogacy.  Others choose to add to their family through adoption. You are the expert on your own life and only you know the right path for you and your family. If you have experienced secondary infertility and you are now considering adoption as a way to grow your family, Purl Adoption Advisory can come along side you and your family and provide you with ethical and honest guidance during your adoption journey. Please call (602) 842-4955 or visit www.purladoptions.com for more information.

Katie Zimmerman