I. Don’t. Have. Secondary. Infertility. Thankyouverymuch.
Secondary Infertility, as a medical diagnosis, is new-onset infertility after previously having a naturally conceived, biological child. According to RESOLVE:
Secondary infertility is defined as the inability to become pregnant, or to carry a pregnancy to term, following the birth of one or more biological children. The birth of the first child does not involve any assisted reproductive technologies or fertility medications.
Secondary Infertility, as an infertile community label, is “you have a kid so I don’t want to hear it.” I’ve seen some horrible comments directed toward women experiencing secondary infertility. For example,
Why would women be so heartless to write to an infertility site, when there are baby sites, and doctor sites out there, if you have questions. IF you’re pregnant or had a child “YOU’RE NOT INFERTILE”.
I think it is sad that, as women, we divide ourselves like this. Now, trust me, I completely understand the sentiment behind the above comment. I’ve been there. Days when it is too hard to even look at a mother with her child. Days when I HATED every mother on the planet. But even at those moments I knew it was me and not them. My feelings weren’t “wrong” – I don’t think feelings can be wrong and denying them only eats you up inside – but acting on every feeling we have in a way that hurts other people would be wrong.
I guess I’m participating in the labeling if I so adamantly don’t want to be called “secondary.” I feel like that diminishes the ten years of “primary” infertility that we struggled through. I mean “secondaries” have no idea! They got knocked up easy, right? They’ve experienced normal fertility so I am way more infertile than them! I’m a “primary” after all.
We can label each other in so many ways. I often think of women who were infertile for 2 years before they had a successful ART cycle are – pfft – clueless. I mean *I* tried for TEN years. Then I think I got so lucky on my first IVF. What about women who had 5 IVFs before success? 5 miscarriages? A still birth? Who still don’t have a child? Are you less infertile because Clomid worked for you? IUI?
What is the threshold of pain a women needs to experience before she can be in the club? Who decides that line?
None of our stories are the same. We’ve all taken different paths in our journeys. Secondary Infertility has its own unique set of pain – often exacerbated by feelings of guilt that they “shouldn’t” feel pain – just as primary infertility and parenting after infertility do. I can’t know your pain and you can’t know mine. But, we can come together and support each other. I can be sensitive to the pain of the childless and refrain from discussing my child. I won’t say “boy my PIO shot hurt and my baby kept hitting me in the injection site!” because that would have really hurt me 2 years ago. In turn, don’t judge that you know my pain. If I slip up and say something hurtful give me the benefit of the doubt that I had good intentions. I will do the same.
We are sisters. I wish you a quiver full of children as I hope you wish the same for me. I’ll never say you should be satisfied or you “should” be happy. I’ll take you where you are if you’ll take me. When I’m having a “good” day and feel hopeful – I’ll be there for you to comfort you when you are having a “I hate the world” day. Will you be there for me?