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Wisconsin Parent

Secondary Infertility: This is not Dinner Conversation...

Mar 12, 2014 03:30AM ● By Brooke McGee
It’s not unusual to feel out of place as an adolescent. Fortunately, as you mature, most people find themselves. They settle down. They choose their career, and, if they want, they choose to start a family. Life seems to be going your way. You planned it out (or not, surprise!) For some, suddenly, right when you found your place in life, right when you don’t feel like that awkward prom date with pimples, you find that you don’t have a side you belong on. It’s like fourth grade dodgeball all over again, last one picked for a team.   But why would a settled adult with a loving family suddenly feel so out of place? Insecurities aside, by now, we’ve realized it’s okay, and good, to be different. Some people get grey hair early, some people gain weight, and some, have… secondary infertility. (I had to whisper it….) What the heck is that, right? That my friend, is a lonely label you get slapped on your back when you have one successful pregnancy (Yea!) But then, for some reason after that, you just… can’t. No matter how bad you try. Or cry. Or beg and plead and ask why. 025 This is the time where you don’t belong. This is where so many just don’t understand what you’re making such a fuss over. (Why can’t she just be happy with what she has? Geesh…) So many of us know those who struggle with infertility. How can you complain to them? “Are you kidding me? You have a kid at least.” Even if their voice doesn’t say it, their eyes do… Others have never felt the pain or experienced the empty feeling of desperate WANT that accompanies any form of infertility. For them, I am delighted. Yet that does not mean they comprehend the struggle and emotional pain they have never felt. “I don’t understand,” she says while chasing her gorgeous, giggling, sticky children around. “You should really be happy for what you do have!” Then you feel selfish.

Sometimes, you may decide not to talk about it anymore. You suffer in silence, without a team jersey or side to belong to. But, this is not dinner conversation. This is not what you mention when you’re asked how things are going. Shame, a forceful fist that silences. (Because we blame ourselves, even if just a little, don’t we?) Forced to hide a love that will never flourish, deny a voice you’ll never hear. You’re greedy, one figure on your shoulder tells you. It’s a natural desire, the other says. But arguing in your head never gets you anywhere. And, all too often, neither does talking to either of the sides that you don’t belong to.


The causes of secondary infertility are often unknown and complex. Regardless, the mental anguish of not understanding why can consume you and no matter what, desire cannot be taken away by reassuring words. Adding fuel to the fire is the conflicting reality that so many people just don’t understand what the big deal is. “You’re a parent. Be happy. If you really want more you can take mine for a week!” (Oh how quaint, as if that isn’t the tenth time someone has said that.)

Some in the end do have their second happily ever after. We may never know the reasons why or why not. And unfortunately, some may not have the support they need in front of them. It’s difficult to end a writing like this with a closing statement, because in all reality, all too often there is no closure for something like this. There is though, acceptance. Although family and friends might not understand, the Internet is full of resources and information. Chat forums are one way many find support and validation. Education also helps.