What People Don't Understand About Secondary Infertility

by Megan O'Connell
Originally Published: 
A depressed woman crying on the floor
Milkos / Getty

Trudging through secondary infertility sucks. It can feel difficult, maddening, depressing, isolating, and downright ridiculous. So, let’s get real about it…

You know you’re dealing with secondary infertility if…

1. Your child’s response when you tell him you’re going to the doctor for another poke is, “To our regular doctor or to the doctor with the _____ (fill in specifics about various doctors’ offices around the metro area)?”

2. You plan your social calendar around which day of medication you’ll be on and how functional you’ll actually be.

3. You’ve figured out the system. If the doctor’s call center lady isn’t helpful, you have 6 other direct phone numbers for various specialists and pharmacies you can call, along with the knowledge of which will get you answers quicker in each specific scenario: email or phone message?

4. You’re grateful your child still takes naps because you’ve learned that un-napped and medicated is not a good color on you. Your family agrees.

5. You wish you realized the first time around how remarkable it is to conceive a child. Fertility treatments are expensive, man!

6. You’re torn about Target because on one hand it’s Mommy Mecca for your mothering-self, and on the other hand it’s Mommy Mecca for all the other moms who are pregnant with two more kids in tow. We all know seeing pregnant moms isn’t good for your extra sensitive days.

7. Your heart breaks in two when you see your child trying to play certain things alone. Of course, you and your husband play with him, but there’s a certain gap that only a sibling can fill.

8. You aren’t certain where you fit in with the “infertility community,” because you can relate to most of the mom-isms, but you also have a giant hole in your heart that only those “without” understand.

9. You keep waiting for that thank you letter and giant check of appreciation for single-handedly keeping the pregnancy test and ovulation predictor kit people in business.

10. Along with your check, you’d like to receive a VIP “How Did We Do?” survey where you can suggest other forms of packaging for those sticks, say, something that tears easier than that blasted foil wrap. Those little suckers have almost caused your bladder to explode while you struggled to rip it open on many occasions.

11. You’ve learned to lock the bathroom door and keep it locked no matter the level of pounding/screaming/crying on the other side because you don’t want to have to explain to your child again that no, he cannot “take his temperature with your fermometer” since it isn’t, in fact, a thermometer and well, you just peed on it. Now leave me alone for the next 3-5 minutes while I await my fate.

12. You clench your teeth when someone asks how old your child is and “is he your only?” while you try to quickly change the subject before they ask when you’re “giving him a sibling.”

13. You deal with ignorant meany-heads who say insensitive things like, “Well, at least you have ONE child.” Because of my son’s dramatic and traumatic start to life, I have a deep and abounding gratefulness for his life and his health, but it doesn’t replace my heart’s longing for another.

14. Your first thought when a family member asks what you’d like for Christmas or your birthday is, “Can ya give me a baby?” but quickly remember that isn’t what socially-aware people say.

15. You take a little longer snuggling him on the couch, tucking him in at night, memorizing the exact color of his eyes (blue around the outside, green in the center, grey depending on what he’s wearing, and all of it sprinkled with golden flecks) because you have the unique, odd, hard and holy privilege of mothering a child while also understanding that simply having a child isn’t promised.

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